In search of the Crockett family

A Day Away by Mike Steely

We are so fortunate to live in an area that has so much state and national history. Within a few miles of Knoxville, you can easily visit several places that have taken part in the history of the Crockett family.

Not just Davy Crockett, but his father’s and grandfather’s roles in early Tennessee settlement and military history as well.

Take Rogersville, for instance, the site of the “original” David Crockett, Davy’s grandfather. He settled there in 1776 and was killed in a Cherokee attack reportedly led by Chief Dragging Canoe The Rogers Cemetery, near downtown in that Hawkins County seat, has the graves of the Crockett family and a historic marker.

After the attack, one son, John Crockett, relocated his family to Limestone Creek where he built a cabin and his son, the Davy Crockett of fame, was born, the fifth of nine children.  The David Crockett Birthplace State Park marks the site of the cabin with a reproduction of it and other exhibits.

John Crockett volunteered in the Overmountain Men during the American Revolution at the Battle of Kings Mountain. John was a magistrate and justice of the court. The Crocketts moved again after a flood took their home and settled in what is now Morristown. Along that historic stagecoach road, he built Crockett Tavern. Today a reproduction of the tavern, on the original site, is a museum and gift shop. It’s been closed for the winter but is scheduled to reopen in May.

Young Davy disliked school and skipped class. When his dad found out, he punished his son and Davy fled to live with the Cherokee for many years. When he returned home it was said his father did not recognize him. Davy worked to help pay off his father’s debts.

When Davy got married he moved his family several times in our state and many places bear his name or influence still. There’s a Davy Crockett Cabin and museum in Rutherford, a Well of Davy Crockett in Franklin County, and the David Crockett State Park on Shoals Creek in Lawrence County. Crockett County in West Tennessee is named for Davy and the county seat there is “Alamo.”

The Camp Blount Historic Site in Fayetteville has historic markers detailing Davy Crockett’s involvement in the Creek War.

Davy Crockett served two split terms in Congress but lost his seat because of his opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson, including objecting to Jackson’s removal of the Cherokee from the state. One of Davy’s sons later also served in the U.S. Congress.

He left Tennessee to take part in the Texas revolution against Mexico and was killed in the Alamo in 1836. It is said he and other survivors were killed after the battle and his remains were cremated.