|The CRYPT Mag|
William Barret Travis, born in South Carolina on 9th August 1809, was the first of eleven children to Mark and Jemima Travis. At the time of his birth, the family had settled on Mine Creek near the Red Bank community, which centred on the Red Bank Baptist Church in Edgefield District, near Saluda, South Carolina.
Travis's boyhood centred around the work of the family farm, attendance at the Red Bank church, home schooling, and playing with area children. James Butler Bonham, who also served in the defence of the Alamo, was one of these, but it is difficult to establish a strong relationship between Bonham and Travis in these early years.
The family decided to move the entire family to Conecuh County the next year. There they helped found the communities of Sparta and Evergreen. Travis attended an academy in Sparta until he learned all that was taught there; then a school in nearby Claiborne, Alabama. Travis eventually helped with the education of the younger students.
James Dellet, the leading attorney in Claiborne, took Travis as an apprentice eventually becoming an attorney and partner, and for a while operated a joint office across the river at Gosport, Alabama, before marrying Rosanna Cato at the age of nineteen, on 26th October, 1828. Rosanna was one of the students he had helped to teach. Their first child, Charles Edward Travis, was born on 8th August, 1829. Travis began the publication of a newspaper, the Claiborne Herald, joined the Masonic order at Alabama Lodge No. 3, and accepted a position as adjutant of the Twenty-sixth Regiment, Eighth Brigade, Fourth Division, of the Alabama Militia. A year later he abandoned his wife, son, and unborn daughter, Susan Isabella, and left for Texas in 1831. The story has been told that Travis suspected his wife of infidelity, doubted the unborn child was his, and killed a man because of it. The story is probably true, but there is no hard evidence.
He filed his first claim for land on 21st May, 1831. At this time, Texas was Mexican territory, but many Americans were allowed to settle in the area as a part of Mexican land development. The Americans had to give their allegiance to Mexico and obey Mexican laws. Travis settled in the port city of Anahuac, on Galveston Bay, near the mouth of the Trinity River, and started a law practice with Patrick C. Jack. He also became good friends with "Three-legged Willie" Williamson, who was to become a Texas legend. During this time he learned Spanish and studied Mexican law. During this time there was conflict between the American settlers and the Mexican government. The dictator Santa Anna had taken over the government, and had overturned the Mexican Constitution of 1824. The American settlers had supported this constitution, and they were angry that their liberties and freedom were no longer guaranteed. The Mexicans, in turn, were determined to stop more Americans from settling in Texas, because they were difficult to control. Travis travelled the country doing legal work and became involved with a group who opposed the Law of 6th April, 1830. Eventually this group became known as militant as tension increased between the Mexican government and American settlers in Texas.
William M. Logan of Louisiana hired Travis against the commander of the Mexican garrison at Anahuac, Col. John Davis Bradburn, a Kentuckian in the service of Mexico. Bradburn enforced the anti-immigration law, refusing to allow the sale of land to American settlers arriving after the passing of the law, using materials and slaves belonging to the settlers to build his camp. Logan wanted the return of his slaves who were with Bradburn. Logan returned to Louisiana for proof of ownership and threatened Bradburn that he would bring help. Travis further alarmed Bradburn with a note that claimed Logan had returned with a large force. Bradburn turned out his entire garrison to search for Logan, who, of course, was nowhere near the area. Suspecting Travis’ message was a trick, Bradburn sent soldiers to the law office to arrest Travis and his partner, Patrick C. Jack, and held them in a guardhouse. Word of their arrest spread, the Turtle Bayou Resolutions were drafted, which pledged loyalty to the Constitution of 1824, but not to the current Centralist regime, and the settlers demanded the release of the prisoners. John Austin travelled to Velasco to obtain a cannon to force Bradburn to comply. Col. José de las Piedras, commander at Nacogdoches, who had realised that the Mexican forces were outnumbered, hurried to Anahuac. He ordered Travis and Jack released, after relieving Bradburn of his duties. This incident began the Anahuac Disturbances of 1832, which resulted in armed clashes at Velasco and Nacogdoches later that summer and produced the conventions of 1832 and 1833, and separate statehood.
Travis moved his legal practice to San Felipe in the aftermath of the clash at Anahuac. In 1834 he was accepted, despite his youth, into the councils of government. He also met Rebecca Cummings, who lived at Mill Creek, who he intended to marry once he was divorced. Rosanna Travis began divorce proceedings against her husband in 1834, charging him with desertion. They were divorced in 1835, and she remarried early the next year. She had allowed Charles Edward Travis to move to Texas, so that he could be near his father. Travis may not have known when the divorce became final, for he became involved in the rapidly moving events of the Texas Revolution in July 1835 and was constantly occupied until his death. In any event, he did not marry Rebecca Cummings.
After Stephen F. Austin carried the petition of the Convention of 1833 to the government in Mexico City and was imprisoned, fears for his safety cooled politics in Texas until the summer of 1835. By then Antonio López de Santa Anna had asserted full Centralist authority and re-established a customhouse and military garrison at Anahuac under the command of Capt. Antonio Tenorio. A war group led by James B. Miller met and authorised Travis to return to Anahuac to expel Tenorio. In late June, Travis led some twenty-five men by way of Harrisburg and Galveston Bay on a coastal assault on Tenorio's position and captured the Mexican soldiers easily. There was a dramatic night encounter between Travis and Tenorio, who had sought safety in a thicket with his troops. Travis walked brazenly out into the open moonlight to confront the Mexicans and request their surrender. The Mexicans surrendered, and Travis became a hero, and was again at the centre of the conflict. The action alarmed the peace party, and for several months many Texans regarded Travis as a troublemaker. Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos, Mexican military commander in the north, moved his command to San Antonio. He branded Travis’ group at Anahuac as outlaws and demanded that the Texans surrender them for military trial.
When Cos demanded the surrender of the Gonzales "Come and Take It" cannon in October 1835, Travis was one of the hundreds of Texans who hastened there, but arrived too late to take part in the action. He remained with the militia and joined it to besiege Bexar. He served as a scout in a cavalry unit commanded by Randal Jones and later commanded a unit himself. During the siege, in early November 1835, Travis led a raiding party to capture horses from the Mexicans, and returned with some 300 animals, a feat for which he was well commended. He did not remain at San Antonio for the final assault in early December, but returned to San Felipe. He later accepted a commission as a lieutenant colonel of cavalry and became the chief recruiting officer for the army. Governor Henry Smith ordered Travis to recruit 100 men and reinforce Col. James C. Neill at San Antonio in January 1836. Travis was only able to recruit twenty-nine men, and because he was embarrassed he requested to be relieved. When Smith insisted, Travis reported to Neill and within a few days found himself in command of about fifty men when Neill took leave. When James Bowie arrived with 100 volunteers, he and Travis quarrelled over command. They had an uneasy truce of joint command until Bowie's illness forced him to bed.
Travis organised the preparation of San Antonio de Valero Mission, known as the Alamo, for the anticipated arrival of Santa Anna and the main command of the Mexican army. With engineer Green B. Jameson he strengthened the walls, constructed palisades to fill gaps, mounted cannons, and stored provisions inside the fortress. He also wrote letters to officials requesting reinforcements, but only thirty-five men came from Gonzales to his aid, raising the number of the Alamo's defenders to approximately 183. Travis's letter addressed "To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World," written on February 24, two days after Santa Anna's advance arrived in San Antonio, brought more than enough help to Texas from the United States, but it did not arrive in time. When Santa Anna had his forces ready, he ordered an assault on the Alamo, just before dawn on March 6, 1836. Legend has it that Travis drew a line in the sand and gave every man the choice to cross the line and join him in a fight to the death to defend the Alamo. The Mexicans overpowered the Texans within a few hours. Travis died during the battle with a bullet to the head. He had been seen on the ramparts firing in defiance. Travis was only twenty-six years of age at the time of his death, but he will always be remembered as the Texas commander at the battle of the Alamo and a genuine hero of Texas and American history.
James Bowie was born near Terrapin Creek, Kentucky in early 1796 to Rezin and Elve Ap-Catesby Jones Bowie. In 1794 Rezin Bowie had moved his whole family from Tennessee to Logan County, where he farmed and operated a gristmill with the help of eight slaves. In February 1800 they moved to Madrid, in what is now Missouri. On May 2, 1801, at Rapides, Louisiana, Rezin Bowie and his brothers David, Rhesa, and John swore allegiance to the Spanish government. In October, the families settled on farms in what is now Catahoula Parish. There Rezin's sons, James, John J., Stephen, and Rezin P. Bowie, grew to manhood. The family took an active part in community affairs and the elder Bowie reportedly became the largest slaveowner in his locale, with twenty slaves. About 1809 the Bowie family moved to the Atakapa country in southeastern Louisiana and bought 640 acres on the Vermilion River near the mouth of Little Bayou. He then developed a plantation near Opelousas, where he grew cotton and sugarcane, raised livestock, and bought and sold slaves. Rezin Bowie died there around 1821.
In his teens James Bowie worked in Avoyelles and Rapides parishes, where he floated lumber to market. He invested in property on the Bayou Boeuf and traded in 1817-18 at what is now Bennett's Store, south of Cheneyville. He was fond of hunting and fishing, and he caught and rode wild horses, rode alligators, and trapped bears. When grown, Bowie was described as a stout, rather raw-boned man, six feet tall, and weighing 180 pounds. He had light-coloured hair, keen grey eyes rather deep set in his head, a fair complexion, and high cheek-bones. Bowie had an open, frank disposition, but when aroused by an insult, his anger was terrible. During the War of 1812, James and Rezin joined the Second Division, Consolidated, a unit that contained the Seventeenth through Nineteenth regiments, drawn from Avoyelles, Rapides, Natchitoches, Catahoula, and Ouachita parishes. In January 1815, the brothers were on their way to join Andrew Jackson's forces at New Orleans when the war ended. After the war they traded in slaves. They bought them from the pirate Jean Laffite, who captured slave shipments in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and ran a slave market on Galveston Island. Importing slaves was illegal even if owning them was still legal, so Laffite landed slaves at Bowie's Island in Vermilion Bay. The Bowies took the slaves up the Vermilion and sold them in St. Landry Parish, who would then inform on themselves and as a reward collect half of what the contraband property bought at auction. The buyers at the action were usually themselves, and they then resold the slaves for a profit. They had made $65,000 when they quit the business after three years.
He also made enemies. Norris Wright, Rapides parish sheriff and local banker, refused to make a loan that Bowie sorely needed. In 1826 Bowie met Wright in Alexandria, where tempers flared and Wright fired point-blank at Bowie; but the bullet was deflected. After this encounter, Rezin gave his brother a large butcher-like hunting knife to carry. On September 19, 1827, near Natchez, Jim Bowie was involved in the Sandbar Fight, which followed at a duel between Samuel Levi Wells III and Dr. Thomas Maddox. After the principals had exchanged shots without effect, the two observers continued the affair. Alexander Crain fired at Samuel Cuny, and when Cuny fell, Bowie fired at Crain but missed. Wright shot Bowie through the lower chest, and Bowie drew his butcher knife which he usually wore and chased Wright. The Blanchard brothers shot Bowie in the thigh, and Wright and Alfred Blanchard stabbed him in several places. As Wright bent over him, Bowie plunged the knife into his assailant's breast, then raised himself and slashed Blanchard severely. All the witnesses remembered Bowie's big butcher knife - the first Bowie knife. Reports of Bowie's prowess and his lethal blade captured public imagination, and he was proclaimed the South's most formidable knife fighter. Men asked blacksmiths to make a knife like Jim Bowie's.
James and Rezin also dabbled in land speculation and developed friendships with local wealthy planters. James became engaged to Cecelia Wells, who died on September 7, 1829, in Alexandria, two weeks before their wedding was to take place.
On 1st January, 1830, Bowie presented a letter of introduction to Stephen F. Austin from Thomas F. McKinney, one of the Old Three Hundred colonists. On 20th February Bowie and his friend Isaac Donoho took the oath of allegiance to Mexico. Bowie, age thirty-four, was at his prime. He was well travelled, convivial, loved music, and was generous. He also was ambitious and scheming; he played cards for money, and lived in a world of debt. Before the revolution in Texas, Bowie took part in many adventures. He spent considerable time cultivating friendships with Indians in his search for elusive silver and gold reported to be hidden in the interior of Texas. He is said to have found the fabled San Saba mines, also known as the Bowie mines, near the geographic centre of present day Texas. He reached San Antonio with William H. Wharton and Mrs. Wharton, Isaac Donoho, Caiaphas K. Ham, and several slaves. They carried letters of introduction to two wealthy and influential Mexicans, Juan Martín de Veramendi and Juan N. Seguín. Bowie's party continued on to Saltillo, the state capital of Coahuila and Texas. There Bowie learned that a Mexican law of 1828 offered its citizens eleven-league grants in Texas for $100 to $250 each. Bowie urged Mexicans to apply for the eleven-league grants, which he purchased from them. He left Saltillo with fifteen or sixteen of these grants, and continued to encourage speculation in Texas lands. His activities irritated Stephen F. Austin, who hesitated to approve lands Bowie wanted in the Austin colony but eventually allowed them.
In San Antonio, Bowie posed as a man of wealth, attached himself to the wealthy Veramendi family, and was baptised into the Catholic Church. In the autumn of 1830, he accompanied the family to Saltillo, and on 5th October officially became a Mexican citizen. The citizenship was only granted on his establishing wool and cotton mills in Coahuila. Through his friend Angus McNeill of Natchez, he purchased a textile mill for $20,000. On 25th April, 1831, in San Antonio, Bowie married Ursula de Veramendi. He appeared before the mayor, declared his age as thirty-two (he was actually thirty-five), and pledged to pay Ursula a dowry of $15,000. He valued his properties at $222,800, but the titles to his $30,00 of Arkansas land were fraudulent. Walker and Wilkins of Natchez owed Bowie $45,000 for his interest in Arcadia Plantation, and had given McNeil $20,000 for the Saltillo mill. Bowie borrowed $1,879 from his father-in-law and $750 from Ursula's grandmother for a honeymoon trip to New Orleans and Natchez. The Bowies settled in San Antonio.
Bowie spent little time at home. He became fascinated by tales of the "lost" Los Almagres Mine, said to be west of San Antonio near the ruin of Santa Cruz de San Sabá Mission. Bowie obtained permission from Mexican authorities for an expedition into Indian country financed by the Veramendis, and on 2nd November, 1831, he left San Antonio with his brother Rezin and nine others. On the nineteenth, a large Indian war party was following them, and six miles from San Saba, Bowie camped in an oak grove. An attempt to parley failed. Bowie's men fought for their lives for thirteen hours. The Indians finally retreated, leaving forty dead and thirty wounded. Bowie lost one man killed and several wounded. The party returned to San Antonio. On 23rd January, 1832, Bowie made another foray to the west. He now carried the title of "colonel" of citizen rangers. He left Gonzales with twenty-six men to scout the headwaters of the Colorado for hostile Indians. After a fruitless search of 10 weeks, he returned home.
In July, in Natchez, he learned that José de las Piedras, Mexican commander at Nacogdoches, had visited the towns of Anahuac and Velasco to quiet the antagonisms between the government and the mainly Anglo citizens. Upon his return, Piedras demanded that all citizens in his jurisdiction surrender their arms. The colonists rejected the demand. Bowie hurried to Nacogdoches, and on 1st August accompanied James W. Bullock and 300 armed men in their siege of the garrison there. Piedras chose to fight. During the night he evacuated his men and marched south, having lost thirty-three killed. Bowie and eighteen men ambushed the Mexican column, and Piedras fled. Bowie marched the soldiers back to Nacogdoches. On 9th March, 1833, Monclova replaced Saltillo as the state capital. When the two towns raised small armies to contest the change, Bowie favoured Monclova. On one occasion when the forces confronted each other, he rode out and tried to precipitate a battle. He believed that the fortunes of Texas land speculators lay with Monclova.
In September, Veramendi, his wife Josefa, Ursula Bowie and his children died of cholera at Monclova. Bowie was ill with yellow fever in Natchez and unaware of the deaths. On 31st October he dictated his last will, in which he bequeathed half of his estate to his brother Rezin and half to his sister Martha Sterrett and her husband.
Mexican laws passed in 1834 and 1835 opened the floodgates to wholesale speculation in Texas lands, and Texas-Coahuila established land commissions to speed sales, since the state treasury was empty. Bowie was appointed a commissioner to promote settlement in John T. Mason's purchase. The governor also was empowered to hand out 400-league parcels for frontier defence. The sale of these large tracts angered some colonists, who also resented a rumoured plan by speculators to make San Antonio the capital. They questioned Bowie's handling of Mason's 400-league purchase. One traveller met Bowie and Mason en route from Matamoros to Monclova with $40,000 in gold to pay the last instalment on Mason's land. Bowie also sold Mason land certificates to his friends in Natchez. In May 1835, however, Santa Anna abolished the Coahuila-Texas government and ordered the arrest of all Texans doing business in Monclova. Bowie fled the capital for Texas. On June 22 he wrote a friend in Nacogdoches that all communication between Mexico and Texas had been cut, that troops were boarding ships at Matamoros for the Texas coast, and that Mexican forces were en route from Saltillo toward the Rio Grande. In July, Bowie and others in San Felipe and Nacogdoches were beating the drum for war. Bowie led a small group of Texas militia to San Antonio and seized a stack of muskets in the Mexican armoury there.
On 31st July, 1835, William B. Travis wrote Bowie that Texans were divided and that the Peace Party appeared the stronger. Travis was a leader of the War Party. Bowie had hired Travis as early as 1833 in San Felipe to prepare land papers, and in June 1834 Travis represented Bowie and Isaac Donoho in a case filed by Francis W. Johnson. The War Party sought military support among the Indian tribes in East Texas. On 3rd August, Bowie reported on a recent tour of several villages where he found many of the Indians on drunken sprees and all reluctant to cooperate.
On 1st September, Austin arrived home from a long imprisonment in Mexico City. On 3rd October, Santa Anna abolished all state legislatures in Mexico. After being elected to command the volunteer army, Austin issued a call to arms. On 16th October his forces camped on Cibolo Creek twenty miles from San Antonio. Bowie arrived with a small party of friends from Louisiana, and Austin placed him on his staff as a colonel. Travis and others joined the army. Gen. Sam Houston, in command of the Texas regular army, arrived and condemned the idea of attacking Bexar. He maintained that Austin's army, weak and ill-trained, should fall back to the Guadalupe or Colorado River. Bowie and Capt. James W. Fannin, at Austin's orders, scouted south of Bexar for a new campsite. On their way, Bowie drove off a Mexican patrol. On 26th October, Austin moved 400 men to San Francisco de la Espada Mission. Bowie took ninety-two horsemen and inspected the area of Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission, near Bexar. At dawn on the twenty-eighth, in a heavy fog, the Mexicans attacked Bowie with 300 cavalry and 100 infantry. Bowie fought for three hours. "Bowie was a born leader," Noah Smithwick wrote years later of the battle of Concepción, "never needlessly spending a bullet or imperilling a life. His voice is still ringing in my old deaf ears as he repeatedly admonished us. Keep under cover boys and reserve your fire; we haven't a man to spare." Bowie captured a six-pounder cannon and thirty muskets. He lost one man, while the Mexicans left sixteen on the field and carried off as many. Bowie, Fannin, and the detachment remained in the immediate area south of Bexar while Austin moved his army and established headquarters on the Alamo Canal.
Three days after the battle Austin sent Travis and fifty men to capture some 900 horses being driven south to Laredo, and asked Bowie to create a diversion to cover the escape of Mexican soldiers who wanted to desert. Bowie made a display of force, yet the soldiers failed to come out. On 31st October Bowie notified Gen. Martín Perfecto de Cos that he would join Austin in an attack on Bexar. On 1st November Austin demanded that Cos surrender; he refused. Austin hesitated. The next day, Austin's officers voted 44 to 3 against storming Bexar. Bowie did not vote, instead he asked to be relieved of command by the end of the week. He had earlier served in a volunteer ranger group, fighting Indians, and was the type of officer who served the community in times of need. He had little interest in a formal command. Provisional governor Henry Smith and Houston wanted him to raise a volunteer group and attack Matamoros, but the General Council declared that Bowie was not an officer of the government nor army.
Bowie left the army for a brief trip to San Felipe in mid-November. He was back in San Antonio on 18th November, and on 26th November he and thirty horsemen rode out to check on a Mexican packtrain near town, while Burleson followed with 100 infantry. Bowie met the train and charged its cavalry escort. He fought off several assaults by Mexican infantry, and the Mexicans retired with the loss of sixty men. As the train was loaded with bales of grass for the garrison livestock, the clash was called the Grass Fight. Bowie subsequently proceeded to Goliad to determine conditions there. During his absence, Burleson attacked Bexar on 5th December and forced the Mexican garrison to surrender and retire to the Rio Grande. The volunteers left for home.
On 19th January, 1836, Bowie arrived in Bexar from Goliad with a detachment of thirty men. He carried orders from Houston to demolish the fortifications there. The situation was grim. Col. James C. Neill, commander of a contingent of seventy-eight men at the Alamo, stated that his men lacked clothing and pay and talked of leaving. Mexican families were leaving Bexar. Texas volunteers had carried off most of the munitions and supplies for the Matamoros expedition. On 2nd February Bowie wrote to Governor Smith, urging that Bexar be held because it was a strategic "frontier picqet guard." Travis, promoted to lieutenant colonel, arrived with thirty men on February 3; David Crockett rode in with twelve men on the eighth. The garrison had some 150 men. On 11th February, Neill gave his command to Travis and left. On 13th February Bowie and Travis worked out a compromise giving Travis command of the regulars, Bowie command of the volunteers, and both men joint authority over garrison orders and correspondence.
On 23rd February, Bowie and Travis learned that some 1,500 Mexican cavalrymen were advancing on Bexar, and sent a dispatch to Goliad asking Fannin for help. Within hours the Mexicans marched into Bexar and requested a parley. Bowie asked for and received terms: the Texans must surrender. These terms were rejected. On 24th February Bowie, who was suffering from either pneumonia or typhoid pneumonia but probably was advanced tuberculosis, collapsed, ending his active participation in commanding the garrison. He was confined to bed and urged the volunteers to follow Travis. He was occasionally carried outside to visit his men.
On 6th March, the Mexicans attacked before dawn, and all 188 defenders of the Alamo perished. Santa Anna asked to see the corpses of Bowie, Travis, and Crockett, and Bexar mayor Francisco Ruiz identified the bodies. Bowie lay on his cot in a room on the south side. He had been shot several times in the head. During his lifetime he had been described by his old friend Caiaphas K. Ham as "a clever, polite gentleman...attentive to the ladies on all occasions...a true, constant, and generous friend...a foe no one dared to undervalue and many feared." Slave trader, gambler, land speculator, dreamer, and hero, James Bowie in death became immortal in Texas history.
Davy Crockett was born 17th August 1786, in a small cabin on the banks of the Nolichucky River, near the mouth of Limestone Creek. David "Davy" Crockett was the fifth of nine children and the fifth son born to John and Rebecca Hawkins Crockett. Creek and Cherokee Indians murdered his grandparents before he was born. The Crocketts were a self-sufficient, independent family. While Davy was very young, his father moved the family to Cove Creek in Greene County, Tennessee, where he built a mill in partnership with Thomas Galbreath. When Davy was eight years old, the mill was washed away with his home. After this disaster John Crockett removed his family to Jefferson County where he built and operated a log-cabin tavern on the Knoxville-Abingdon Road. In his dealings with his father's customers, Davy must have learned much about human nature and so refined his natural skills as a leader.
When Davy was 12, he spent four days at the local school of Benjamin Kitchen. He had a fight with a boy at school and left home to escape a "licking" from his dad. He got a job helping to drive cattle to Virginia. In Virginia, he worked for farmers, wagoners and a hatmaker. After two and a half years, he returned home. Davy was now fifteen years old and approaching six feet in height. In those days a boy either worked for his father or turned over his pay if he worked for others. Upon promise of his freedom from this obligation, Davy worked a year for men to whom his father owed money. After working off these debts of his father's he continued with his last employer. He often borrowed his employer's rifle and soon became an expert marksman. From his wages he bought new clothes, a horse and a rifle of his own. He began to take part in the local shooting contests. At these contests the prices often were quarters of beef. A contestant would pay twenty-five cents for a single shot at the target and the best shot won the quarter of beef. Davy's aim became so good that more than once, he won all four quarters of beef.
The son of Davy's employer conducted a school near-by, to which, for six months, Davy went four days a week and worked two. Except for the four days he had attended school when he was twelve, this was all the schooling Davy ever had.
Davy Crockett was licensed to marry Margaret Elder in 1805, but this license was never used. However, he was married to Polly Finlay in 1806, just after his twentieth birthday. They lived for the next few years in a small cabin near the Crockett family, where their two sons, John Wesley and William, were born. After Polly Finlay's death in 1815 he married Elizabeth Patton, a widow.
He was commander of a battalion in the Creek Indian War in 1813-1814. He was a member of the Tennessee legislature in 1821-1822 and again in 1823-1824, and of the twentieth Congress of the United States in the years 1827-1829, in the twenty-first Congress, 1829-1831 and again, in the twenty-third Congress, 1833-1835. To be a representative in the Tennessee legislature and then serve honourably as a member of Congress of the United States, was quite a feat for one with less than six months schooling. His motto was, "Be always sure you are right, then go ahead."
While he was a member of the legislature in 1821, the Governor had invited the entire legislature to dinner. A death had occurred and to receive the guests became the duty of the Governor and his twelve year old daughter. The members of the legislature had arranged to arrive as early as possible at the Governor's mansion to witness the arrival of Col. Davy Crockett. The eccentric backwoodsman, or "bear hunter", as they called him, came promptly. Having arrived, the Governor presented his daughter to Col. Crockett. He took her by the hand and remarked to the Governor, "When I like a man, I always love his children," and kneeling down, he kissed her, saying, "God bless you my child". He rose not the backwoodsman or "bear hunter", but the most amiable, independent and courageous man in the Tennessee legislature, and such he proved himself to be.
In March, 1836, Davy Crockett was killed at the Alamo. He was one of one hundred and eighty-seven men who, for eleven days, withstood the Mexican army of Santa Anna. When the battle was done, all of the one hundred eighty-seven men, including Davy Crockett, lay dead on the ground; but with them also lay over a thousand Mexicans, who had died at their hands.
Davy Crockett of Tennessee went far by his own effort and achievement, and rose high in the eyes of his fellow men - from the humblest of beginnings, shown by the rough-hewn native limestone slab, still to be seen at the site of his birth in upper Greene County, near Limestone, in East Tennessee. The incription reads: "Davy Crockett, Pioneer, Patriot, Soldier, Trapper, Explorer, State Legislator, Congressman, Martyred at The Alamo. 1786 - 1836"
Other known defenders
Abamillo, Juan - Texas
Allen, Robert - Virginia
Andross, Miles Deforest - Vermont
Autry, Micajah - North Carolina
Badillo, Juan Antonio - Texas
Bailey, Peter James III - Kentucky
Baker, Isaac G. - Arkansas
Baker, William Charles M.- Missouri
Ballentine, John J. - Pennsylvania
Ballentine, Richard W. - Scotland
Baugh, John J. - Virginia
Baxter, Joseph - Unknown
Bayliss, Joseph - Tennessee
Blair, John - Tennessee
Blair, Samuel C. - Tennessee
Blazeby, William - England
Bonham, James Butler - South Carolina
Bourne, Daniel - England
Bowie, James - Kentucky
Bowman, Jesse B. - Tennessee
Brown, George - England
Brown, James Murry - Pennsylvania
Brown, Robert - Unknown
Buchanan, James - Alabama
Burns, Samuel E. - Ireland
Butler, George D. - Missouri
Cain (Cane), John - Pennsylvania
Campbell, James (Robert) - Tennessee
Carey, William R. - Virginia
Clark, Charles Henry - Missouri
Clark, M.B. - Mississippi
Cloud, Daniel William - Kentucky
Cochran, Robert E. - New Hampshire
Cottle, George Washington - Missouri
Courtman, Henry - Germany
Crawford, Lemuel - South Carolina
Crockett, David - Tennessee
Crossman, Robert - Pennsylvania
Cummings, David P. - Pennsylvania
Cunningham, Robert W. - New York
Darst, Jacob C. - Kentucky
Davis, John - Kentucky
Day, Freeman H.K. - Unknown
Day, Jerry C. - Missouri
Daymon, Squire - Tennessee
Dearduff, William - Tennessee
Dennison, Stephen - England (or Ireland)
Despallier, Charles - Louisiana
Dewall, Lewis - New York
Dickerson (Dickinson), Almeron - Tennessee
Dillard, John Henry - Tennessee
Dimpkins, James R. - England
Duvalt, Andrew - Ireland
Edwards, Samuel - Unknown
Edwards, William - Unknown
Espalier, Carlos - Texas
Esparza, Gregorio (Jose Maria) - Texas
Evans, Robert - Ireland
Evans, Samuel B. - New York
Ewing, James L. - Tennessee
Fauntleroy, William H. - Kentuck
Fishbaugh, William - Alabama
Flanders, John - Massachusetts
Floyd, Dolphin Ward - North Carolina
Forsyth, John Hubbard - New York
Fuentes, Antonio - Texas
Fuqua, Galba - Alabama
Garnett, William - Virginia
Garrand, James W. - Louisiana
Garrett, James Girard - Tennessee
Garvin, John E. - Unknown
Gaston, John E. - Kentucky
George, James - Unknown
Goodrich, John Camp - Virginia
Gordon, Pelitiah - Unknown
Grimes, Albert (Alfred) Calvin - Georgia
Gwynne, James C. - England
Hannum, James - Pennsylvania
Harris, John - Kentucky
Harrison, Andrew Jackson - Tennessee
Harrison, William B. - Ohio
Haskell, Charles M. - Tennessee
Hawkins, Joseph M. - Ireland
Hays, John M. - Tennessee
Herndon, Patrick Henry - Virginia
Hersee, William Daniel - England
Holland, Tapely - Ohio
Holloway, Samuel - Pennsylvania
Howell, William D. - Massachusetts
Jackson, Thomas - Ireland
Jackson, William Daniel - Kentucky
Jameson, Green B. - Kentucky
Jennings, Gordon C. - Connecticut
Jimenez, Damacio - Texas
John (last name unknown) - Unknown
Johnson, Lewis - Wales
Jones, John - New York
Kellogg, John Benjamin - Kentucky
Kenny, James - Virginia
Kent, Andrew - Kentucky
Kerr, Joseph - Louisiana
Kimble (Kimbell), George C. - Pennsylvania
King, William Phillip - Texas
Lewis, William Irvine - Texas
Lightfoot, William J. - Texas
Lindley, Jonathan L. - Illinois
Linn, William - Massachusetts
Losoya, Jose Toribio - Texas
Main, George Washington - Virginia
Malone, William T. Virginia
Marshall, William - Tennessee
Martin, Albert - Rhode Island
McCafferty, Edward - Unknown
McClelland, Ross - Unknown
McCoy, Jesse - Tennessee
McDowell, William - Pennsylvania
McGee, James - Ireland
McGregor, John - Scotland
McKinney, Robert - Tennessee
Melton, Elice (Eliel) - Georgia
Miller, Thomas R. - Tennessee
Millsaps, Isaac - Mississippi
Mills, William - Tennessee
Mitchasson, Edward F. - Virginia
Mitchell, Napoleon B. - Unknown
Moore, Robert B. - Virginia
Moore, Willis A. - Mississippi
Musselman, Robert - Ohio
Nava, Andres - Texas
Neggan, George - South Carolina
Nelson, Andrew M. - Tennessee
Nelson, Edward - South Carolina
Nelson, George - South Carolina
Northcross, James - Virginia
Nowlan, James - England
Pagan, George - Mississippi
Parker, Christopher Adams - Mississippi
Parks, William - North Carolina
Perry, Richardson - Texas
Pollard, Amos - Massachusetts
Reynolds, John Purdy - Pennsylvania
Robertson, James Waters - Tennessee
Roberts, Thomas H. - Unknown
Robinson, Isaac - Scotland
Rose, James M. - Ohio
Rusk, Jackson J. - Ireland
Rutherford, Joseph - Kentucky
Ryan, Isaac - Louisiana
Scurlock, Mial - North Carolina
Sewell, Marcus L. - England
Shied, Manson - Georgia
Simmons, Cleveland Kinloch - South Carolina
Smith, Andrew H. - Tennessee
Smith, Charles S. - Maryland
Smith, Joshua G. - North Carolina
Smith, William H. - Unknown
Starr, Richard - England
Stewart, James E. - England
Stockton, Richard Lucius - New Jersey
Summerlin, A. Spain - Tennessee
Summers, William E. - Tennessee
Sutherland, William Depriest - Unknown
Taylor, Edward - Tennessee
Taylor, George - Tennessee
Taylor, James - Tennessee
Taylor, William - Tennessee
Thomas, B. Archer M. - Kentucky
Thomas, Henry - Germany
Thompson, Jesse G. - Arkansas
Thomson, John W. - North Carolina
Thurston, John M. - Pennsylvania
Trammel, Burke - Ireland
Travis, William Barrett - South Carolina
Tumlinson, George W. - Missouri
Tylee, James - New York
Walker, Asa - Tennessee
Walker, Jacob - Tennessee
Ward, William B. - Ireland
Warnell, Henry - Arkansas
Washington, Joseph G. - Kentucky
Waters, Thomas - England
Wells, William - Georgia
White, Isaac - Alabama
White, Robert - Unknown
Williamson, Hiram James - Pennsylvania
Wills, William - Georgia
Wilson, David L. - Scotland
Wilson, John - Pennsylvania
Wolfe, Anthony (Avram) - England
Wolfe, Son age 12 - England
Wolfe, Son age 11 - England
Wright, Claiborne - North Carolina
Zanco, Charles - Denmark
As you can see, not all the defenders were Texan or even American. Some of the defenders were of many different nationalities having settled in America or Texas and fighting for their civil liberties.
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