Historic Markers Across Tennessee

A Summary of the Life of Davy Crockett:

Marker ID:  
Location: outside wall of Crockett Museum, Lawrenceburg, TN
County: Lawrence
Coordinates: N 35° 16.048    W 087° 21.72
  35.26746666    -87.362
  The coordinates have been estimated
based on the location of the marker.
Waymark: None


A Summary of the Life of Davy Crockett:

“Be always sure you are right, then go ahead!”

• Raised in frontier poverty without any education until he is a teenager, David is often hired out to others for additional income while still a child; once held against his will until he escapes under the cover of a winter storm.

• To avoid punishment from his father for being absent from school David runs away for almost three years (going as far as Baltimore) before her returns home 1802.

• Following unsuccessful courtships, David finally meets and marries Mary “Polly” Finley in 1806; two sons, John Wesley and William, soon follow.

• The Crockett family moves to middle Tennessee in 1811, finally settling on Bean Creek. In 1812, a daughter is born (Mary). In 1813, David enters the Creek War and serves in two enlistments in General Andrew Jackson’s army. His wife Polly dies in early 1815 and by summer of 1816, David courts and marries a local widow, Elizabeth Patton, who has two children from her previous marriage. They have three children between 1816 and 1822. Looking for a new home, Crockett explores N. Alabama and contracts Malaria and almost dies.

• David, Elizabeth and six children move to Lawrence County in 1817. Crockett begins his political career as a Justice of the Peace, Colonel and commandant of the 57th Tennessee Militia, and a representative to the State legislature. He and his wife (with her money) build and run an industrial complex - distillery, gunpowder factory, and grist mill — until a flood destroys it in 1821. By 1822, the family migrates to Gibson County in Northwest Tennessee.

• Crockett excels at bear hunting and continues his rise in state politics. In 1825, he fails in his first attempt to win a seat in Congress. In early 1826, he is almost killed when his flatboat crashes into an island on the Mississippi River. His rescuers bring him into Memphis where he wins the admiration of Mayor Marcus Winchester - who now supports him for his next bid for Congress. In 1827, Crockett wins the election and serves a total of three terms in Washington City (1827-29, 19829-31, 1833-35). He becomes a national celebrity because of his unique backwoods oratory and expression.

• During the height of his Congressional service, Crockett severs his ties with President Jackson and most of the Tennessee delegation over the issue of squatters rights and Jackson’s desire to remove Indians off their ancestral lands. He loses the 1831 election but his national reputation helps him regain his Congressional seat in 1833 (despite his opponents’ gerrymandering of his district). The Lion of the West, a theatrical play inspired by Crockett’s fame, tours the country.

• By 1834, Crockett has become fully aligned with the opposing Whig Party and publishes his own life story A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee. By 1835, however, Crockett has become ineffective and barely loses his re-election bid to a pro-Jackson candidate. He tells his constituents “You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas!”

• Seeking a financial and political rebound in Texas, Crockett plans to explore North Texas along the Red River before he returns home. During the trip there, he is swept up by the recent tide for revolutionary change against Mexico and eventually joins the army as a volunteer. By February 1836, he arrives in San Antonio and joins up with a small Texan garrison. After a thirteen-day siege, the Mexicans storm the Alamo on March 6 and every defender, including Crockett, is killed.

Pictures of this marker can be found on HMDB.org