Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
The greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so's he knew ev'ry tree
Kilt him a b'ar when he was only three...

So goes the song (lyrics by Tom Blackburn) about one of the great American self-promoters, David Crockett, hunter, frontier folk hero, storyteller, scout, and soldier, in 1813, fighting warriors of the Creek Nation. In 1826 his Tennessee neighbors elected him to represent them in the U.S. House of Representative. We don't know just exactly when he died. Was he killed on March 6, 1836, in the last ferocious fighting, when General Santa Anna's forces overtook the Alamo? Or was he captured then executed? The dead take their secrets with them. If Davy's deathday is a mystery, his folks recorded his birthday: the 17th of August, 1786, a year that saw Danial Shay's tax-uprising up in Massachusetts. Far, far away in another world entirely, a silk & velvet-clad audience of Viennese gents and ladies saw and heard Le Nozze di Figaro, the very newest opera by 30-year-old W. A. Mozart.

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