Ancestral Notes

My Family History blog

Weekly Genealogy Prompt # 22 – Be Always Sure You’re Right – THEN GO AHEAD!

Prompt: Dish the dirt on your celebrity ancestors. Don’t have a movie star in the tree? Then talk about ancestors famous for other reasons. This is your chance to be an historical gossip columnist!

Much has been written about this man and his adventures in his lifetime and ever since. He was “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” as the ballad about him says. He has been portrayed on television and song as a backwoods hero, with humble beginnings who grew to manhood with an honest and righteous nature. He has even written about himself in his autobiography “A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee”. David Crockett’s autobiography was written as a campaign tract for his congressional race, with literary assistance from Thomas Chilton.

He begins his autobiography with this poetic advice:

“I have this rule for others when I’m dead, Be always sure you’re right- THEN GO AHEAD!”

The reason for his autobiography, he states, is to correct an injustice done to him by the author of a book about him, and set the world straight about who he was and what he stood for. He also wished to satisfy the curiosity that the public had about him.

He writes:

“I know, that as obscure as I am, my name is making a considerable deal of fuss in the world. I can’t tell why it is, nor in what it is to end. Go where I will, everybody seems anxious to get a peep at me; and it would be hard to tell which would have the advantage, if I, and the “Government,” and “Black Hawk,” and a great eternal big caravan of wild varments were all to be showed at the same time in four different parts of any of the big cities in the nation. I am not so sure that I shouldn’t get the most custom of any of the crew.There must therefore be something in me, or about me, that attracts attention, which is even mysterious to myself. I can’t understand it, and I therefore put all the facts down, leaving the reader free to take his choice of them.

He starts out his book with a little history of his parents and where they came from, his father’s service in the Revolutionary war, Indians attacking and killing his grandparents, etc. He then goes on to his early family life, with a sense of humor. This is what he wrote about his birth:

“But before I get on the subject of my own troubles, and a great many funny things that have happened to me, like all other historians and biographers, I should not only inform the public that I was born, myself, as well as other folks, but that this important event took place, according to the best information I have received on the subject, on the 17th of August, in the year 1786; whether by day or night, I believe I never heard, but if I did, I have forgotten. I suppose, however, it is not very material to my present purpose, nor to the world, as the more important fact is well attested, that I was born; and, indeed, it might be inferred, from my present sie and appearance, that I was pretty well born, though I have never yet attached myself to that numerous and worthy society.”

Reading this book about the life of Davey Crockett, I get a real sense of his character and personality. He was not pretentious, he was honest and lived by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He was a leader, not a follower. He was a true American Hero!

My Crockett Connections

Filed under: Family Files, Genealogy, O'Neil/Neil, Weekly Prompts/09,

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June 2009
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