Davy Crockett

Which frontiersman of the early 19th century was known as the "King of the Wild Frontier?"

And the answer: Davy Crockett.

Davy Crockett with his hunting dogs (The Washington Post)

Born in 1786, Davy Crockett was an American folk hero, soldier, and politician who represented the state of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives. In early 1836, he took part in the Texas Revolution and died at the Battle of the Alamo, after being captured by the Mexican Army.

As a child of the frontier, Crockett had no real education. At a young age he became a skilled scout, hunter, and woodsman, often chipping in for his family by providing physical labor both around the house and for hire. Eventually, Crockett’s skills were put to use as he joined the Tennessee militia as a scout. There Crockett thrived, and went on to serve in the War of 1812.

Eventually, Crockett’s eye turned to politics. After bouts as the public commissioner, justice of the peace, and lieutenant colonel of Lawrence County, Tennessee, Crockett won a seat on the Tennessee General Assembly. This soon turned into a run for U.S. Congress, and in 1829 he won a seat in the House of Representatives. Crockett established his reputation as a gifted storyteller and "gentlemen from the cane," a reference to his rural upbringing. It was there that Crockett’s status as a folk hero began to take effect, as tall tales about his frontiersman childhood began to circulate with popularity. Though Crockett later wrote an autobiography to clear the rumors, popular culture has since held on to many of the folk tales.

Did you know?

Crockett once famously said: "I told the people of my district that I would serve them faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I will go to Texas." After returning from a tour promoting his autobiography and losing his congressional seat, Crockett went to Texas.

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