I drove past this building in Abilene, TX, earlier this summer. The name Crockett certainly rang a bell, but the first name, David, didn’t quite go with it.
Could this school be named after a man lodged in my brain from childhood who I knew as Davy Crockett? I snapped a photo to remind myself to find out.
Indeed it is. The man I knew from childhood as the Tennessee-born King of the Wild Frontier from song, movie and TV is indeed remembered in Texas on parks, buildings and monuments as David, a politician and Alamo hero.
All this formality is a bit jarring to a person who has gone through life with ‘Davy’ Crockett embedded in his brain.
I suppose the history books from my schooling called him David, in line with what he was called by his contemporaries, and covered his political career and his being killed at the Alamo and all that, but my formal education has taken a backseat to popular culture and in my memories he’s all about Tennessee and the coonskin cap, period.
This line from The Reader’s Companion to American History sums it up nicely: Crockett’s biographers often say there were actually two Crocketts: David, the frontiersman and congressman martyred at the Alamo, and Davy, the larger-than-life folk hero whose exploits were glorified in several books and a series of almanacs.
The same tome also says his actual career was so unremarkable that if it weren’t for the popular culture jumping on his bandwagon he’d hardly be remembered.
And then you wouldn’t be reading this and that damn song wouldn’t be in your head now. In case you’re having trouble with some of the verses, the lyrics are here.