Like Daniel Boone, David Crockett of Tennessee (he despised being called Davy) is a larger than life character whose real life accomplishments are often overcome by his myth. Crockett was another hunter of renown, making his living by killing bear in the wilds of Tennessee and Kentucky while simultaneously attempting to make a success of one farm after another. He never succeeded.
Crockett too was not the Indian fighter that history has made him out to be. He did participate in the Red Stick War against factions of the Creek Indian tribes, mostly as a scout and a courier. His service was with the Tennessee militia, and when the army and his own memory disagreed on the date of his discharge he followed his own estimation, becoming listed as deserter. During the War he served with another famous Tennessean of the era, Andrew Jackson.
Crockett later became a county judge, an elected post for which he ran a campaign which liberally disbursed corn whiskey to voters, and eventually was elected to Congress. At one point during his political career there was serious discussion of him becoming a candidate for President of the United States. Crockett was a largely ineffective congressman and his opposition to Andrew Jackson’s Indian Relocation Bill sealed his political career, after which he famously told his former constituents, “…go to hell, I’m going to Texas.”
Like Boone, Crockett was legendary in his own lifetime, unlike Boone Crockett did all he could to promote himself. When he went to Washington he attended the theater to see a character in a show which was based on himself, he later saw similar portrayals in Philadelphia and New York. He published his autobiography to enhance his fame. After his death at the Alamo his reputation blossomed and then began to fade until by the 1940s he was all but forgotten except in Tennessee.
It was Disney that re-catapulted Crockett to fame in the 1950s and resurrected the many myths about the frontiersman. Crockett’s myth has largely outlived his real life accomplishments and failures, and most Americans today would be amazed to learn that Crockett both owned and traded in slaves during his lifetime, was a reluctant soldier, (he thought the fighting in Texas was over before he went there) and was once considered presidential material.