'On to the Alamo': Col. Crockett's exploits and adventures by Richard Penn Smith

By Richard Penn Smith

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David’s later attempts to return were balked by this and subsequent employers, who often swindled him out of his pay, and it was 1802 before he was able to reach his father’s tavern, with nothing to show for his experience save a greater awareness of the frequent meanness and occasional generosity of strangers. The schoolyard episode had been forgotten, but, having been gone for more than two years, David had missed a critical period in his education. He was in effect illiterate, not even knowing the alphabet.

At the age of eleven or twelve he was hired out by his father to a man driving a herd of cattle to Virginia who attempted to keep him on afterward as his employee, against the boy’s will. David escaped on a snowy evening, hiking through knee-deep snow for seven hours until he was rescued by travelers who, knowing his father, came to his aid. Once again, one of the party tried to keep the boy with him, but David continued on by foot until he reached home. Then, in the fall of 1799, he ran away, fearing retribution by his father or his teacher (or both) for having fought with a school-mate, and hired himself out to a drover taking cattle to Virginia.

Crockett’s Exploits and Adventures in Texas. That is, to understand Davy Crockett of Texas fame we must start with David Crockett of Tennessee. II. The son of Rebeckah Hawkins Crockett and her husband, John, David was born in 1786 in eastern Tennessee, his parents having moved there from North Carolina, fleeing those familiar frontier specters, poverty and debt. John Crockett’s own parents had been slaughtered by Native Americans in 1777, shortly after they had relocated from North Carolina to land that would soon become Tennessee.

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