Happy Birthday Davy Crockett 

U.S. #1330 was issued on Crockett’s 181st birthday.

David “Davy” Crockett was born on August 17, 1786 in Greene County, North Carolina (though it is now part of Tennessee).

Crockett’s ancestral name was Crocketagne, which his ancestors changed when they emigrated from France to Ireland.

U.S. #1330 FDC – First Day Cover shows Crockett and the Alamo.

For the first few years of his life, Crockett’s family moved frequently as his father struggled to support his family with a gristmill and later homestead. After declaring bankruptcy, he eventually built a tavern along a stagecoach road. When Crockett was 12, his father hired him out to help make money for the family. Crockett worked as a cowboy, herding cattle along a 400-mile trip to Virginia.

The following year Crockett’s father sent him to school, but it didn’t last long. Crockett frequently skipped classes, and when his father found out, he intended to punish him. But Crockett was faster than his father and ran away. On his own at just 13 years old, Crockett joined a cattle drive to Virginia. He did additional trips and worked for a farmer before returning home in 1802. Crockett worked off more of his father’s debts before he ultimately accepted a paying job for himself with one of his recent employers. In his spare time, Crockett entered local shooting contests where he paid twenty-five cents for a chance at a quarter of beef. His marksmanship was so good that often he won the entire cow!

U.S. #1330 FDC – 1967 Crockett First Day Cover.

In the coming years, Crockett married, had three children, and remarried after the death of his first wife. In 1813, he joined a regiment of mounted riflemen as a scout to fight in the Creek War in Alabama. Though he participated in the fighting, he preferred hunting game for the soldiers to eat. Crockett returned him that December, but reenlisted the following year to aid in removing British forces from Spanish Florida. He saw little action but again enjoyed spending his time finding food for everyone.

In 1817, Crockett began his political career when he moved to Lawrence County, and worked as a commissioner helping to establish the county’s boundaries. Later that year he was made justice of the peace. The following year Crockett was elected lieutenant colonel of the 57th Regiment of Tennessee Militia. However, by 1819 he was running several businesses and felt he didn’t have enough time to devote to his family, so he resigned from his public duties.

U.S. #1043 was issued as part of the Liberty Series.

Crockett then returned to public service in 1821 when he won a seat in the Tennessee General Assembly. In that role he served on the Committee of Propositions and Grievances. He supported legislation to lower taxes for the poor and often fought for the rights of impoverished settlers.

Though he lost his bid for a seat in the House of Representatives in 1825, Crockett tried again and succeeded in 1827. Serving two terms, Crockett proposed abolishing the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (because he felt it used public money to aid the sons of the wealthy), introduced a failed amendment to the land bill, and opposed President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act. The people of his district didn’t like this and he lost the next election. After this he returned to Congress until 1835.

U.S. #776 – Texas Centennial stamp picturing the Alamo.

During this time, Crockett claimed that if Jackson’s successor, Martin Van Buren, was elected president, that he’d move to Texas. He also believed a revolution was brewing there and wanted to raise a company of volunteers.

Following Van Buren’s election, Crockett set out for Texas with 30 men. In early February 1836, he arrived at the Alamo, an old Roman Catholic mission that had been converted into a military fort. A much larger force of Mexican troops surrounded and then attacked the Alamo. For two weeks the small group of men kept them at bay, but on March 6, 1836, the Mexicans overran the fort. All of the defenders, including Crockett, were killed.

U.S. #3876 – Wayne played Crockett in the 1960 movie, The Alamo.

Many legends surround Davy Crockett, who was a master storyteller with a gift for exaggeration. Crockett told a story about a raccoon that gave up when he spotted him on a hunt. He also claimed to kill 105 bears in just seven months. One fictionalized account of Crockett claimed he could “run faster, jump higher, squat lower, dive deeper, stay under longer, and come out drier than any man in the whole country.”

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  1. Forgetting to do the proof read failed to pickup on a few writing errors but otherwise interesting and worth the read…..

  2. Interesting bio, but it is now widely believed that Crockett was one of a small handful of men who surrendered at the Alamo and who were then executed upon Santa Anna’s orders following the battle.

    1. And you base this on what evidence? I teach History, have been for 45 years and have seen nothing that tells me what you say here. There is good reason why all the extant accounts of the battle say there were no survivors since Santa Anna was known to be a vicious and merciless general who gave no quarter, surrender or not..

    2. I wouldn’t say “widely”, there is the theory based on some documents that contradict the traditional accounts, but from what I’ve seen, there is more evidence for the tradition. In my view of it, if he had surrendered, I think Santa Ana would’ve used it to his advantage more.

  3. A great American with a great life story who stood for great principles: fairness to Indians and poor settlers.

  4. I enjoyed this bio very much and learned a couple of things I did not know. An interesting fellow for sure and a great American.

  5. What can I say! I was one of the countless kids in the 1950’s that wore coonskin caps and toted plastic “Old Betsy”s. Fess Parker’s Davy was an amiable character that struck a pleasant chord. More innocent times then. Happy birthday David Crockett!

  6. Can you refer to the Mexicans telling the “Americans” they could stay on the land as long as they didn’t practice slavery. And it was the “Americans” that refused to agree to not practice slavery that resulted in the Mexicans taking back their land.

    1. That’s right Americans are always the bad ones…thanks for ruining the story. How long will we have to pay for our transgressions? Think of all the millions and billions given for charity and aid around the world, but no…American’s liked slavery and think all Mexicans are rapists. Let’s go on a world tour and just apologize to everyone.

    2. Mani, you are partially correct. However, the main reason the revolution occurred was the taxation and the enactment by the Mexican government to prohibit anglo migration into Texas. Slavery was a small issue, as most Texans that participated in the revolution were not slave owners..

  7. The main reason Santa Ana sent troops to the then Mexican province of Tejas was to end slavery practiced by American immigrants. Nevertheless, I would have voted for David Crockett for president if he were alive in 2016, a true friend for the poor, the middle class and the downtrodden!

  8. I believe that I have read about at least two diaries kept by two of Santa Ana’s soldiers that have been relatively recently discovered that mention that Crockett was among a small number of survivors who were shot by a firing squad and their bodies were burned (along with the other defenders) in the middle of the compound.

  9. When I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1948 one of the other members of my squad was from Tennessee. His name was David Crocket. Very nice guy. He never bragged but was proud to be a descendent of Davy Crockett.
    He had one small problem. If you touched him in the ribs unexpectedly he would “jump out of his skin”. If someone was standing in from of him that person would get a quick punch from David.

  10. When I was 14 years old Walt Disney came to Hendersonville TN to film one scene of Davy Crockett with Fess Parker. My brother and I stood on the side of Indian Lake and watched Fess in his buckskins dive on a rubber alligator that was pushed towards him. He killed that gator with his knife. We was laughing when he came out of the water, he was not happy. When the movie came out we watched under water shots of a real gator, I became a movie fan of special effects. Old Hickory Lake now covers Indian Lake.

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