Davy Crockett was born in east Tennessee in August 1786. His father fought in the American Revolution, most notably in the Battle of Kings Mountain. We know a good bit about Davy Crockett’s early years because he had the foresight to write his autobiography; though the details are certainly open to question on a number of fronts. It would seem that his version of his life story is much of the basis for the common epithet, ‘King of the Wild Frontier’. What is reliably known is that in his teens Crockett found himself largely on his own and forced to develop survival skills on the frontier of the new state of Tennessee. He was married at 20 and eventually moved his wife and three children farther into the frontier of West Tennessee. His wife died on the frontier and Crockett remarried at 29, a union that resulted in three more children added to the family.
Davy Crockett built his reputation as a soldier as a militia commander in regional Indian wars, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. A natural leader with a burgeoning reputation, he was elected to Congress at the age of 40 in 1826. While initially a supporter of the policies of Andrew Jackson, he proved to be a man of his own mind in Congress. Opposing Jackson on some key issues, Crockett lost his seat in 1830 but was re-elected in 1832. Davy Crocket can probably be credited with publishing the first candidate biography, releasing A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett - Written by Himself just prior to the congressional campaign of 1834. What politician Crockett seemed to lack was the people's touch, as evidenced by the following comment,
|Your blogger in front of the Alamo circa 1986|
|Famous 'Crockett-centric' painting of the Battle of the Alamo|
The defenders of the Alamo were reportedly burned and buried at the mission by Santa Anna’s troops. A few years later the reputed remains of Crockett, Colonel Travis and Jim Bowie were gathered and buried together at the Roman Catholic San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio. In the 1930's the remains were dug up in a reconstruction project and placed in a sarcophagus box in an antechamber of the new cathedral, where they remain to this day.
|Marble plaque at San Fernando Cathedral. The panel |
on the right is one of those things that makes grave
searching so much fun
|My son Grant sporting a |
classic coonskin cap -
appropriate attire for all
|The Davy Crockett atomic bomb|
|Your Blogger at San Fernando Cathedral |
in San Antonio
I visited the San Fernando Cathedral with my friend Jay Walker on our way to the airport from an arts retreat at Laity Lodge in the Hill Country outside San Antonio. It was a Sunday when we arrived and the church was filled with worshippers at a Spanish Mass. Undaunted, and possibly rude, Jay and I squeezed our way through the crowd and snapped a few pictures during gaps in the liturgy. Not the preferred method of gathering material for this blog. But I think the King of the Wild Frontier would approve.
|Having parted the crowd to get this picture I think my |
face reveals just a bit of awkward guilt. At least I took
my hat off.