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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Davy Crockett, hero of the Alamo, was born on August 17

I would rather be beaten and be a man than to be elected and be a little puppy dog. I have always supported measures and principles and not men. I have acted fearless[ly] and independent and I never will regret my course. I would rather be politically buried than to be hypocritically immortalized. 

~ Davy Crockett (wiki) (letter, following his defeat in the 1830 elections)

A portrait from life of Davy Crockett as congressman
I know not whether, in the eyes of the world, a brilliant death is not preferred to an obscure life of rectitude. Most men are remembered as they died, and not as they lived. We gaze with admiration upon the glories of the setting sun, yet scarcely bestow a passing glance upon its noonday splendor. 

~ Crockett (quoted in Abbott: David Crockett: His Life and Adventures

I leave this rule for others when I'm dead
Be always sure you're right — THEN GO AHEAD! 

~ Crockett (A Narrative of the Life Of David Crockett, personal motto, on the title page) 

Pop, pop, pop! Bom, bom, bom! throughout the day. No time for memorandums now. Go ahead! Liberty and Independence forever. 

~ Crockett (last entry in his diary, 5 March 1836)

He is gone from among us, and is no more to be seen in the walks of men, but in his death like Sampson, he slew more of his enemies than in all his life. Even his most bitter enemies here, I believe, have buried all animosity, and join the general lamentation over his untimely end. 

- John Wesley Crockett (1807-1852) (Crockett's son, in a letter of 9 July 1836) 

August 17 is the anniversary of the birth of American folk hero David ("Davy") Crockett (wiki) (1786-1836) in Green County Tennessee.As a young frontiersman, Crockett joined the Tennessee militia and served under Andrew Jackson in the Creek War (1813-14). A popular figure in West Tennessee, he was known as a humorist and expert shot, and he served in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1827-31 and 1833-35. (His unpopular opposition to Jackson's Indian Removal Act caused him to fail election in 1830.) 

In 1835, having been defeated again for Congress, Crockett emigrated to Texas with the intention of settling there and soon joined the cause of Texas independence from Mexico. Thus, he was among the Texas patriots - William Travis, Jim Bowie and others - massacred by Santa Anna at the Alamo (wiki) on 6 March 1836 and immediately entered the annals of folk legendry. His latter-day fame as "King of the Wild Frontier" was rekindled by three episodes of a Walt Disney television series starring Fess Parker in the 1950s - later a full-length movie that made Crockett's life story - and the accompanying theme song - familiar to all, at the time*. 

* N.B. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" in the classic version by Fess Parker:

and an alternative version: there was a Chinese restaurant that I used to frequent back in the 70s that had, apparently, one 45 minute cassette tape of "Chinese" music that it played on a loop, so that if you were there for longer than 45 minutes you would hear repeats. And, of course, you'd hear the same cassette every time you went back. One of the songs on that tape was a Chinese version of the Davy Crockett ballad, in which the only even remotely recognizable English was Crockett's name, although the pronunciation was more along the lines of Bwavy Cwockett. I found a youtube video of the song, although the performers are different.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, but the "last diary entry" of David Crockett is by all accounts a fake. It was reportedly ghosted by a Philadelphia newspaper editor and published in an 1837 biography of Crockett.