Who doesn’t love learning about American folk hero Davy Crockett?
Who would have thought that a frontiersman with a coonskin cap would become a member of congress and fight until death at the Battle of the Alamo? Nearly 200 years later, Davy Crockett’s exciting adventures are still talked about and recreated through films, songs, plays, and books!
In this post, we’ll talk about the life of Davy Crockett and let you in on some resources to help you teach him to your kids in a fun way.
The Early Beginnings of Davy Crockett
Soldier, politician, storyteller – Davy Crockett did it all! However, his humble beginnings didn’t exactly set him up for the successful life we read about in history books.
David Crockett’s birthplace was in Tennessee on August 17, 1786. Being one of nine children, he didn’t receive formal education and considered the frontier to be his teacher.
Crocket’s pioneer parents always struggled to make ends meet and hired out their children to pay off their debts. This made Crockett a hard worker and helped him become a skilled woodsman.
At the age of 13, Crockett attended school for four days until he dropped out because of a fallout with one of his classmates. After fighting him after school, Crocket began skipping classes to avoid being punished.
When Crockett’s father found out, he threatened to whip him, but he ran away into the woods and fended for himself for years with his hunting skills. Crockett spent that time working as a farmhand, teamster, and a hat maker’s apprentice.
Crockett was an outdoorsman through and through. The people knew him for being a professional hunter who killed 105 bears in a year. He was also a skilled storyteller who would spin stories about his crazy adventures, like how he killed a black bear in the dark with just a butcher’s knife!
Davy Crockett’s Life in Politics
Crockett joined the Creek War in 1812 and would later enter into politics, where he would oppose Andrew Jackson’s cause of expanding west and taking over Native American territory.
Crockett’s life in politics didn’t last long as people weren’t fond of his opposition to Jackson’s Indian Removal Act that would result in the Trail of Tears. He also fought for tax and land rights for frontiersmen like himself.
Despite the people being against Crockett’s political views, his lifestyle was loved by many. He found himself the subject of plays and books that told of his life hunting bears on the wild frontier. In an effort to reclaim his reputation, he wrote an autobiography called Davy Crockett: His Own Story.
Although his time in politics was short, Crockett was a man who was proud of his cause. Among Davy Crockett’s many quotes is, “Be sure that you are right, and then go ahead.” After he lost re-election, he traveled to Texas, where he sought to buy land and start fresh.
Davy Crockett’s Death at The Battle of the Alamo
While in Texas, Crockett found himself helping the Texians in their revolt against the Mexicans in the Texas Revolution. Unfortunately, Crockett along with 200 other soldiers found themselves trapped in a siege.
On March 6, 1836, Crockett and the Alamo defenders hung on for 13 days, until the Mexican army ambushed them and killed them all, leaving no prisoners.
Although there’s much controversy surrounding Davy Crockett’s death, we know one thing to be true, he became even more famous and went on to become an American folk hero.
Davy Crockett’s Long-Lasting Legacy
After Crockett’s death, stories of his courageous, adventurous life spread like wildfire. His reputation as a patriotic American hero with a rifle and coonskin cap was represented in novels, plays, comic books, and more.
A TV series about Crockett released by Walt Disney in 1954 introduced the famous Davy Crockett song, “Ballad of Davy Crockett.” At the height of the series, frontier-themed toys were selling off the shelves, including Davy Crockett hats which, according to the Smithsonian, were selling at a rate of 5,000 per day!
In 1960, the famous movie, The Alamo, starring John Wayne, would sweep the nation and further glorify his name as “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.”
Diving Into Davy Crockett With Your Children
Whether you’re learning about the Texas Revolution or trappers, traders, and mountain men from the early 19th century, including Davy Crockett is a must! You can learn more about the significance of the Battle of the Alamo and get to know Davy Crockett and others like him in our The Early 19th Century Time Traveler.
If you’re wondering how to use Time Travelers to teach your kids American history, check out our blog post, How to Use Time Travelers.