David Crockett was one of the few Americans… to achieve folk status during their lifetime. He used the frontier image to get himself elected to Congress in 1826, one of many young men cashing in on the popularity of Andrew Jackson’s political rise. It didn’t take long for Crockett to run afoul of Old Hickory, opposing Jackson on many key issues including Indian removal, Crockett would only serve until 1836; “I bark at no man’s bid. I will never come and go, and fetch and carry, at the whistle of the great man in the White House no matter who he is.”
The fiercely independent attitude led Crockett… to Texas in 1836. For Crockett, it was a chance at redemption -his frontier exploits could only carry him so far- what his resume lacked was military glory. Texas seemed like a place where Crockett could attain more notoriety and acquire some property. Crockett wasted little time proclaiming his arrival in Texas, “I have taken the oath of government and have enrolled my name as a volunteer and will set out for the Rio Grande in a few days with the volunteers from the United States.” Volunteers from the US were offered nearly 5,000 acres of land in Texas, an irresistible proposition.
Crockett’s death was just as legendary as his life… but neither is connected with reality. Crockett was a second generation woodsman, pioneers like Andrew Jackson had blazed the trails of Tennessee a decade before young Davy came of age. Crockett was a dutiful but largely unskilled politician, unwilling to maintain the very political connections that brought him to power. Debate rages about his heroism to this day; some claim he died surrounded by sixteen Mexican corpses, one with Crockett’s knife buried in him. Other witnesses claim Crockett surrendered and tried unsuccessfully to bargain for his life. Most likely, he died like those around him, outnumbered and out-gunned.