Crockett, Davy

Davy Crockett was a frontiersman, Indian scout, and politician who became one of America's first folk heroes. His backwoods philosophy, homespun humor, and image as a rough-edged hunter and Indian fighter made him an extremely popular figure during his lifetime. Crockett's reputation—and the tall tales about him—grew to legendary proportions after his death.

Born in Tennessee in 1786, Crockett had no formal schooling and worked on farms as a child. From 1813 to 1815, he served as a scout under Andrew Jackson (who later became the country's president), fighting the Creek Indians. His wartime record and plainspoken humor made him popular with voters. He was elected to the Tennessee legislature in 1821 and to the U.S. Congress in 1827. He went to Texas to help settlers there overthrow Mexican rule but died defending the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

Crockett was known as the "coonskin congressman" because of his many stories about hunting raccoons and bears. He loved to tell tall tales that showed him as stronger, smarter, braver, and a better shot than anyone else in the land. The stories grew more fantastic after his death, thanks largely to a series of adventure books featuring Crockett as the hero. In these tales, he climbed Niagara Falls on an alligator's back, drank the entire Gulf of Mexico, twisted the tail off a comet, and outsmarted a businessman. He also traveled the world performing marvelous feats of daring and skill. In many ways, Davy Crockett is America's own celebrated hero, whose deeds and adventures compare to those of legendary ancient warriors such as Achilles* and Beowulf*.

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