Sept. 25, 2022: Getting to Know Davy Crockett
September 25, 2022
Vol. 1, No. 10: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier?
September 25, 2022
I've spent the last month settling in to my new home in East Tennessee and learning something about local history. Daniel Boone spent time here negotiating a Kentucky land deal. Davy Crockett was born here in Greene County, Tennessee, where I now live. Crockett, who was born in 1786, was a celebrated frontiersman who died at the Battle of the Alamo. However, for many Americans of a certain age, confusion reigns regarding Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Disney released a Daniel Boone movie in 1954 and a Davy Crockett movie in 1955. The same actor, Fess Parker, played both men in Disney's movies, which was the root of the confusion. These movies were later replayed on the Wonderful World of Disney TV show, which amplified the confusion. People tend to forget the differences between the two men. Boone was born 52 years before Crockett at a time when the American frontier lacked roads or settlements. Boone spent his time on the Kentucky frontier protecting early settlements, and his fame spread when he rescued his daughter Jemima from kidnappers. Crockett, on the other hand, lived in Tennessee and was 10 years old when Tennessee became a state. By then, Daniel Boone had moved West to present-day Missouri.
Davy Crockett was a two-term Congressman from Tennessee. When I was researching a book about Irish immigrants, I was surprised to learn that he was part of a Congressional Committee investigating conditions in New York City's Three Point area, where the first wave of Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine settled. It was an area notorious for crime and poverty. Crockett was something of a celebrity in Washington due to myths that circulated about him as a bear killer on the Tennessee frontier. To learn more about Davy Crockett check out this website: Ten Things You May Not Know about Davy Crockett. But please don't forget Daniel Boone in the process.
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