Davy Crockett

The story goes that a comet shot out of the sky and hit a mountain top in Tennessee. A baby boy tumbled out of the comet and that baby was Davy Crockett. Davy could carry lightning in his fingers and slide down rainbows.

Davy could wrestle wild bears and panthers, and once saved the earth when the sun had frozen stiff. At least that’s how the story goes… Read on to learn about the real Davy Crockett.


Quick Facts

  • Davy (David) Crockett was born in Tennessee, United States in 1786.
  • His father, John, fought in the Revolutionary War. While John was away fighting, his parents were killed in an Indian uprising. His brother was taken captive in the uprising and held for 17 years!
  • Life didn’t get easier for John after the war. He had a hard time making a living. He tried farming and floundered, and he built a grain mill that was destroyed in a flood. Later, he owned a tavern on a stage coach route.
  • To make ends meet, John sent twelve-year-old Davy to work for a cattle rancher. Young Davy accompanied the rancher on a 400-mile trip to Virginia. Davy worked hard and he was paid well, but he missed home.
  • Upon his return to home, his father put him in school. Davy beat up a bully that was picking on him and started skipping school to avoid further fights. When his father found out, he prepared to give Davy a whipping. Davy decided it was time to leave home and ran away.
  • David spent the next few years working cattle drives and helping farmers. He went home and worked briefly to help his father pay off some debts.
  • Davy married Polly Finley and they had three children. After Polly died, Davy married Elizabeth Patton, a widow who had two children. Together, Davy and Elizabeth had three more children.
  • Davy spent several years fighting in the army, first in the Creek War and then the War of 1812. He had several businesses and started dabbling in politics. First he was justice of the peace and lieutenant colonel.
  • In 1821, Davy won a seat in the Tennessee General Assembly. Later, he spent several years in the House of Representatives in Washington. One of his main priorities was helping impoverished people.
  • He published a book about his life; plays were later performed about him. By this point, his rough and tough, swaggering ways had made him very popular. He liked to exaggerate about his life, telling tall folk tales. Other people started repeating the stories and making them even bigger.
  • In 1835, Davy went off to help fight for Texas independence. When he arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas, he was met by crowds of people and newspaper writers. The town put on a dinner in his honor.
  • At the battle of the Alamo, Davy, along with the other American soldiers there, was killed by Mexican troops. Their bodies were burned under a grove of trees.


Questions and Answers

Question: Why did Davy Crockett’s life story become so exaggerated?

Answer: The American frontier was rugged and harsh. Homesteaders had to muster all the strength and courage they could. One reason for these early tall tales might have been to lift homesteaders up. After Davy’s death at the Alamo, his fame grew along with the stories. Songs have been written about him, and a movie was even made detailing his adventures.


Learn More

Watch a preview of the Walt Disney movie about Davy Crockett. Here’s another video about Davy Crockett.