Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Man, Davy Crockett

I spent many an hour planted in front of a television watching Davy Crockett and his Indian friend, Mingo. The one thing I will say is that I was always mystified by the fact that Mingo, as an Indian, spoke better English than most Englishmen. Let's start out by informing our younger readers as to whom Davy Crockett is, for those who may not be aware:
"David Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was an American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives and served in the Texas Revolution" (Source: Wikipedia,

This man was so popular that someone created a song about him. Believe it or not, my mother, when I was probably 7 years old, bought me a 78 rpm of this song, called "Ballad of Davy Crockett." In the following rendition, released in 1955, when I was 5 years old, the singer is none other than Fess Parker, the man who, for many--such as myself--made Davy Crockett a household word among school boys:

Capitalizing in the brief chronology of Crockett's life, as covered in the Wikipedia article cited above in our quote, I'm going to put it in a slightly different format--one that I believe will be easier to digest and understand:

  • Crockett grew up in East Tennessee, where he gained a reputation for hunting and storytelling.
  • He was made a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee
  • Crockett was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821.
  • In 1827, he was elected to the U.S. Congress where he vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson.
  • He especially opposed the Indian Removal Act.
  • Crockett's opposition to Jackson's policies led to his defeat in the 1831 elections.
  • Crockett was re-elected in 1833.
  • He then narrowly lost in 1835, prompting his angry departure to Texas (then the Mexican state of Tejas).
  • In early 1836, Crockett took part in the Texas Revolution.
  • He was eventually killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March of the same year.

The television production, produced by Disney in 1955, depicted Crockett in lots of miraculous positions. There wasn't anything that he couldn't do. I loved watching him and his friendship with the Indians almost everywhere he went was inspiring and helped lend a sympathetic position to the North American Indian cause. As I read the chronology of Crockett on Wikipedia (above), I could see that he was a friend of the Indian.

Well, I was a bit taken aback when doing research for this commentary when I read how he fought against an Indian tribe for atrocities against settlers.

"Davy Crockett was born in 1786 in Tennessee. In 1813, he participated in a massacre against the Creek Indians at Tallushatchee and later earned a seat in the 21st U.S. Congress. He was re-elected to Congress twice before leaving politics to fight in the Texas Revolution. On March 6, 1836, Crockett was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, though the exact circumstances of his death have been the subject of debate" (Source:

Another discrepancy between what we learned about Davy Crockett and what some historians tell us involves questions about his death. The widely accepted story is that he died defending the Alamo while the brief biographic rundown on provided reason to question that. Here's a quote from the website:

"In a 1975 English translation, the memoirs of a Mexican officer named José Enrique de la Peña stated that Crockett and his comrades at arms were executed, though they 'died without complaining and without humiliating themselves before their torturers.'" (Source:

The following is an actual episode from the popular 1950's Davy Crockett television series (Davy Crockett and the River Pirates 1956 Full Movie):

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