All Biographies

You are here: Home >  Biography of David Crockett > Life on the Obion  

David Crockett - Life on the Obion

The next day after building the cabin, to which Crockett intended to move his family, it began to rain, as he says, "rip-roariously." The river rapidly rose, and the boatmen were ready to resume their voyage. Crockett stepped out into the forest and shot a deer, which he left as food for Abram Henry and his little boy, who were to remain in the cabin until his return. He expected to be absent six or seven days. The stream was very sluggish. By poling, as it was called, that is, by pushing the boat with long poles, they reached the encumbrance caused by the hurricane, where they stopped for the night.

In the morning, as soon as the day dawned, Crockett, thinking it impossible for them to get through the fallen timber that day, took his rifle and went into the forest in search of game. He had gone but a short distance when he came across a fine buck. The animal fell before his unerring aim, and, taking the prize upon his shoulders, he commenced a return to the boat.

He had not proceeded far before he came upon the fresh tracks of a herd of elks. The temptation to follow their trail was to a veteran hunter irresistible. He threw down his buck, and had not gone far before he came upon two more bucks, very large and splendid animals. The beautiful creatures, though manifesting some timidity, did not seem disposed to run, but, with their soft, womanly eyes, gazed with wonder upon the approaching stranger. The bullet from Crockett's rifle struck between the eyes of one, and he fell dead. The other, his companion, exhibited almost human sympathy. Instead of taking to flight, he clung to his lifeless associate, looking down upon him as if some incomprehensible calamity had occurred. Crockett rapidly reloaded his rifle, and the other buck fell dead.

He hung them both upon the limb of a tree, so that they should not be devoured by the wolves, and followed on in the trail of the elks. He did not overtake them until nearly noon. They were then beyond rifle-shot, and kept so, luring him on quite a distance. At length he saw two other fine bucks, both of which he shot. The intellectual culture of the man may be inferred from the following characteristic description which he gives of these events:

"I saw two more bucks, very large fellows too. I took a blizzard at one of them, and up he tumbled. The other ran off a few jumps and stopped, and stood there until I loaded again and fired at him. I knocked his trotters from under him, and then I hung them both up. I pushed on again, and about sunset I saw three other bucks. I down'd with one of them, and the other two ran off. I hung this one up also, having killed six that day.

"I then pushed on till I got to the hurricane, and at the lower edge of it, about where I expected the boat was. Here I hollered as hard as I could roar, but could get no answer. I fired off my gun, and the men on the boat fired one too. But, quite contrary to my expectations, they had got through the timber, and were about two miles above me. It was now dark, and I had to crawl through the fallen timber the best way I could; and if the reader don't know it was bad enough, I am sure I do. For the vines and briers had grown all through it, and so thick that a good fat coon couldn't much more than get along. I got through at last, and went on to near where I had killed my last deer, and once more fired off my gun, which was again answered from the boat, which was a little above me. I moved on as fast as I could, but soon came to water; and not knowing how deep it was, I halted, and hollered till they came to me with a skiff. I now got to the boat without further difficulty. But the briers had worked on me at such a rate that I felt like I wanted sewing up all over. I took a pretty stiff horn, which soon made me feel much better. But I was so tired that I could scarcely work my jaws to eat."

The next morning, Crockett took a young man with him and went out into the woods to bring in the game he had shot. They brought in two of the bucks, which afforded them all the supply of venison they needed, and left the others hanging upon the trees. The boatmen then pushed their way up the river. The progress was slow, and eleven toilsome days passed before they reached their destination. Crockett had now discharged his debt, and prepared to return to his cabin. There was a light skiff attached to the large flat-bottomed boat in which they had ascended the river. This skiff Crockett took, and, accompanied by a young man by the name of Flavius Harris, who had decided to go back with him, speedily paddled their way down the stream to his cabin.

There were now four occupants of this lonely, dreary hut, which was surrounded by forests and fallen trees and briers and brambles. They all went to work vigorously in clearing some land for a corn field, that they might lay in a store for the coming winter. The spring was far advanced, and the season for planting nearly gone. They had brought some seed with them on their pack-horse, and they soon had the pleasure of seeing the tender sprouts pushing up vigorously through the luxuriant virgin soil. It was not necessary to fence their field. Crockett writes:

"There was no stock nor anything else to disturb our corn except the wild varmints; and the old serpent himself, with a fence to help him, couldn't keep them out."

Here Crockett and his three companions remained through the summer and into the autumn, until they could gather in their harvest of corn. During that time they lived, as they deemed, sumptuously, upon game. To kill a grizzly bear was ever considered an achievement of which any hunter might boast. During the summer, Crockett killed ten of these ferocious monsters. Their flesh was regarded as a great delicacy. And their shaggy skins were invaluable in the cabin for beds and bedding. He also shot deer in great abundance. The smaller game he took, of fat turkeys, partridges, pigeons, etc., he did not deem worth enumerating.

It was a very lazy, lounging, indolent life. Crockett could any morning go into the woods and shoot a deer. He would bring all the desirable parts of it home upon his shoulders, or he would take his pack-horse out with him for that purpose. At their glowing fire, outside of the cabin if the weather were pleasant, inside if it rained, they would cook the tender steaks. They had meal for corn bread; and it will also be remembered that they had sugar, and ten gallons of whiskey.

The deerskins were easily tanned into soft and pliant leather. They all knew how to cut these skins, and with tough sinews to sew them into hunting-shirts, moccasins, and other needed garments. Sitting Indian-fashion on mattresses or cushions of bearskin, with just enough to do gently to interest the mind, with no anxiety or thought even about the future, they would loiter listlessly through the long hours of the summer days.

Occasionally two or three Indians, on a hunting excursion, would visit the cabin. These Indians were invariably friendly. Crockett had no more apprehension that they would trouble him than he had that the elk or the deer would make a midnight attack upon his cabin. Not unfrequently they would have a visit from Mr. Owen's household; or they would all go up to his hut for a carouse. Two or three times, during the summer, small parties exploring the country came along, and would rest a day or two under Crockett's hospitable roof. Thus with these men, with their peculiar habits and tastes, the summer probably passed away as pleasantly as with most people in this world of care and trouble.

Early in the autumn, Crockett returned to Central Tennessee to fetch his family to the new home. Upon reaching his cabin in Giles County, he was met by a summons to attend a special session of the Legislature. He attended, and served out his time, though he took but little interest in legislative affairs. His thoughts were elsewhere, and he was impatient for removal, before cold weather should set in, to his far-distant home.

Late in October he set out with his little family on foot, for their long journey of one hundred and fifty miles through almost a pathless forest. His poverty was extreme. But the peculiar character of the man was such that he did net seem to regard that at all. Two pack-horses conveyed all their household goods. Crockett led the party, with a child on one arm and his rifle on the other. He walked gayly along, singing as merrily as the birds. Half a dozen dogs followed him. Then came the horses in single file. His wife and older children, following one after the other in single file along the narrow trail, closed up the rear. It was a very singular procession, thus winding its way, through forest and moor, over hills and prairies, to the silent shores of the Mississippi. The eventful journey was safely accomplished, and he found all things as he had left them. A rich harvest of golden ears was waving in his corn-field; and his comfortable cabin, in all respects as comfortable as the one he had left, was ready to receive its inmates.

He soon gathered in his harvest, and was thus amply supplied with bread for the winter. Fuel, directly at his hand, was abundant, and thus, as we may say, his coal-bin was full. Game of every kind, excepting buffaloes, was ranging the woods, which required no shelter or food at his expense, and from which he could, at pleasure, select any variety of the most delicious animal food he might desire. Thus his larder was full to repletion. The skins of animals furnished them with warm and comfortable clothing, easily decorated with fringes and some bright coloring, whose beauty was tasteful to every eye. Thus the family wardrobe was amply stored. Many might have deemed Crockett a poor man. He regarded himself as one of the lords of creation.

Christmas was drawing nigh. It may be doubted whether Crockett had the slightest appreciation of the sacred character of that day which commemorates the advent of the Son of God to suffer and die for the sins of the world. With Crockett it had ever been a day of jollification. He fired salutes with his rifle. He sung his merriest songs. He told his funniest stories. He indulged himself in the highest exhilaration which whiskey could induce.

As this holiday approached, Crockett was much troubled in finding that his powder was nearly expended, and that he had none "to fire Christmas guns." This seemed really to annoy him more than that he had none to hunt with.

In the mean time, a brother-in-law had moved to that region, and had reared his cabin at a distance of six miles from the hut of David Crockett, on the western bank of Rutherford's Fork, one of the tributaries of Obion River. He had brought with him a keg of powder for Crockett, which had not yet been delivered.

The region all around was low and swampy. The fall rains had so swollen the streams that vast extents of territory were inundated. All the river-bottoms were covered with water. The meadows which lined the Obion, where Crockett would have to pass, were so flooded that it was all of a mile from shore to shore.

The energy which Crockett displayed on the difficult and perilous journey, illustrates those remarkable traits of character which have given him such wide renown. There must be something very extraordinary about a man which can make his name known throughout a continent. And of the forty millions of people in the United States, there is scarcely one, of mature years, who has not heard the name of David Crockett.

When Crockett told his wife that he had decided to go to his brother's for the powder, she earnestly remonstrated, saying that it was at the imminent hazard of his life. The ground was covered with snow. He would have to walk at least a mile through icy water, up to his waist, and would probably have to swim the channel. He then, with dripping clothes, and through the cold wintry blast, would have to walk several miles before he could reach his brother's home. Crockett persisted in his determination, saying, "I have no powder for Christmas, and we are out of meat."

He put on some woollen wrappers and a pair of deerskin moccasins. He then tied up a small bundle; of clothes, with shoes and stockings, which he might exchange for his dripping garments when he should reach his brother's cabin. I quote from his own account of the adventure.

"I didn't before know how much a person could suffer and not die. The snow was about four inches deep when I started. And when I got to the water, which was only about a quarter of a mile off, it looked like an ocean. I put in, and waded on till I came to the channel, where I crossed that on a high log. I then took water again, having my gun and all my hunting tools along, and waded till I came to a deep slough, that was wider than the river itself. I had often crossed it on a log; but behold, when I got there no log was to be seen.

"I know'd of an island in the slough, and a sapling stood on it close to the side of that log, which was now entirely under water. I know'd further, that the water was about eight or ten feet deep under the log, and I judged it to be three feet deep over it. After studying a little what I should do, I determined to cut a forked sapling, which stood near me, so as to lodge it against the one that stood on the island. In this I succeeded very well. I then cut me a pole, and then crawled along on my sapling till I got to the one it was lodged against, which was about six feet above the water.

"I then felt about with the pole till I found the log, which was just about as deep under the water as I had judged. I then crawled back and got my gun, which I had left at the stump of the sapling I had cut, and again made my way to the place of lodgment, and then climbed down the other sapling so as to get on the log. I felt my way along with my feet in the water about waist-deep, but it was a mighty ticklish business. However, I got over, and by this time I had very little feeling in my feet and legs, as I had been all the time in the water, except what time I was crossing the high log over the river and climbing my lodged sapling.

"I went but a short distance when I came to another slough, over which there was a log, but it was floating on the water. I thought I could walk it, so I mounted on it. But when I had got about the middle of the deep water, somehow or somehow else, it turned over, and in I went up to my head. I waded out of this deep water, and went ahead till I came to the highland, where I stopped to pull of my wet clothes, and put on the others which I held up with my gun above water when I fell in."

This exchanging of his dripping garments for dry clothes, standing in the snow four inches deep, and exposed to the wintry blast, must have been a pretty severe operation. Hardy as Crockett was, he was so chilled and numbed by the excessive cold that his flesh had scarcely any feeling. He tied his wet clothes together and hung them up on the limb of a tree, to drip and dry He thought he would then set out on the full run, and endeavor thus to warm himself by promoting the more rapid circulation of his blood. But to his surprise he could scarcely move. With his utmost exertions he could not take a step more than six inches in length. He had still five miles to walk, through a rough, pathless forest, encumbered with snow.

By great and painful effort he gradually recovered the use of his limbs, and toiling along for two or three hours, late in the evening was cheered by seeing the light of a bright fire shining through the chinks between the logs of his brother's lonely cabin. He was received with the utmost cordiality. Even his hardy pioneer brother listened with astonishment to the narrative of the perils he had surmounted and the sufferings he had endured. After the refreshment of a warm supper, Crockett wrapped himself in a bearskin, and lying down upon the floor, with his feet to the fire, slept the sweet, untroubled sleep of a babe. In the morning he awoke as well as ever, feeling no bad consequences from the hardships of the preceding day.

The next morning a freezing gale from the north wailed through the snow-whitened forest, and the cold was almost unendurable. The earnest persuasions of his brother and his wife induced him to remain with them for the day. But, with his accustomed energy, instead of enjoying the cosey comfort of the Fireside, he took his rifle, and went out into the woods, wading the snow and breasting the gale. After the absence of an hour or two, he returned tottering beneath the load of two deer, which he had shot, and which he brought to the cabin on his shoulders. Thus he made a very liberal contribution to the food of the family, so that his visit was a source of profit to them, not of loss.

All the day, and during the long wintry night, the freezing blasts blew fiercely, and the weather grew more severely cold. The next morning his friends urged him to remain another day. They all knew that the water would be frozen over, but not sufficiently hard to bear his weight, and this would add greatly to the difficulty and the danger of his return. It seemed impossible that any man could endure, on such a day, fording a swollen stream, a mile in breadth, the water most of the way up to his waist, in some places above his head, and breaking the ice at every step. The prospect appalled even Crockett himself. He therefore decided to remain till the next morning, though he knew that his family would be left in a state of great anxiety. He hoped that an additional day and night might so add to the thickness of the ice that it would bear his weight.

He therefore shouldered his musket and again went into the woods on a hunt. Though he saw an immense bear, and followed him for some distance, he was unable to shoot him. After several hours' absence, he returned empty-handed.

Another morning dawned, lurid and chill, over the gloomy forest. Again his friends entreated him not to run the risk of an attempt to return in such fearful weather. "It was bitter cold," he writes, "but I know'd my family was without meat, and I determined to get home to them, or die a-trying."

We will let Crockett tell his own story of his adventures in going back:

"I took my keg of powder and all my hunting tools and cut out. When I got to the water, it was a sheet of ice as far as I could see. I put on to it, but hadn't got far before it broke through with me; and so I took out my tomahawk, and broke my way along before me for a considerable distance.

"At last I got to where the ice would bear me for a short distance, and I mounted on it and went ahead. But it soon broke in again, and I had to wade on till I came to my floating log. I found it so tight this time, that I know'd it couldn't give me another fall, as it was frozen in with the ice. I crossed over it without much difficulty, and worked along till I came to my lodged sapling and my log under the water.

"The swiftness of the current prevented the water from freezing over it; and so I had to wade, just as I did when I crossed it before. When I got to my sapling, I left my gun, and climbed out with my powder-keg first, and then went back and got my gun. By this time, I was nearly frozen to death; but I saw all along before me where the ice had been fresh broke, and I thought it must be a bear struggling about in the water. I therefore fresh-primed my gun, and, cold as I was, I was determined to make war on him if we met. But I followed the trail till it led me home. Then I found that it had been made by my young man that lived with me, who had been sent by my distressed wife to see, if he could, what had become of me, for they all believed that I was dead. When I got home, I wasn't quite dead, but mighty nigh it; but had my powder, and that was what I went for."

The night after Crockett's return a heavy rain fell, which, toward morning, turned to sleet. But there was no meat in the cabin. There were at that time three men who were inmates of that lowly hut--Crockett, a young man, Flavius Harris, who had taken up his abode with the pioneer, and a brother in-law, who had recently emigrated to that wild country, and had reared his cabin not far distant from Crockett's. They all turned out hunting. Crockett, hoping to get a bear, went up the river into the dense and almost impenetrable thickets, where the gigantic forest had been swept low by the hurricane. The other two followed down the stream in search of turkeys, grouse, and such small game.

Crockett took with him three dogs, one of which was an old hound, faithful, sagacious, but whose most vigorous days were gone. The dogs were essential in hunting bears. By their keen scent they would find the animal, which fact they would announce to the hunter by their loud barking. Immediately a fierce running fight would ensue. By this attack the bear would be greatly retarded in his flight, so that the hunter could overtake him, and he would often be driven into a tree, where the unerring rifle-bullet would soon bring him down.

The storm of sleet still raged, and nothing could be more gloomy than the aspect of dreariness and desolation which the wrecked forest presented with its dense growth of briers and thorns. Crockett toiled through the storm and the brush about six miles up the river, and saw nothing. He then crossed over, about four miles, to another stream. Still no game appeared. The storm was growing more violent, the sleet growing worse and worse. Even the bears sought shelter from the pitiless wintry gale. The bushes were all bent down with the ice which clung to their branches, and were so bound together that it was almost impossible for any one to force his way through them.

The ice upon the stream would bear Crockett's weight. He followed it down a mile or two, when his dogs started up a large flock of turkeys. He shot two of them. They were immensely large, fat, and heavy. Tying their legs together, he slung them over his shoulder, and with this additional burden pressed on his toilsome way. Ere long he became so fatigued that he was compelled to sit down upon a log to rest.

Just then his dogs began to bark furiously. He was quite sure that they had found a bear. Eagerly he followed the direction they indicated, as fast as he could force his way along. To his surprise he found that the three dogs had stopped near a large tree, and were barking furiously at nothing. But as soon as they saw him approaching they started off again, making the woods resound with their baying. Having run about a quarter of a mile, he could perceive that again they had stopped. When Crockett reached them there was no game in sight. The dogs, barking furiously again, as soon as they saw him approaching plunged into the thicket.

For a third time, and a fourth time, this was repeated. Crockett could not understand what it meant. Crockett became angry at being thus deceived, and resolved that he would shoot the old hound, whom he considered the ringleader in the mischief, as soon as he got near enough to do so.

"With this intention," he says, "I pushed on the harder, till I came to the edge of an open prairie; and looking on before my dogs, I saw about the biggest bear that ever was seen in America. He looked, at the distance he was from me, like a large black bull. My dogs were afraid to attack him, and that was the reason they had stopped so often that I might overtake them."

This is certainly a remarkable instance of animal sagacity. The three dogs, by some inexplicable conference among themselves, decided that the enemy was too formidable for them to attack alone. They therefore summoned their master to their aid. As soon as they saw that he was near enough to lend his cooperation, then they fearlessly assailed the monster.

The sight inspired Crockett with new life. Through thickets, briers, and brambles they all rushed--bear, dogs, and hunter. At length, the shaggy monster, so fiercely assailed, climbed for refuge a large black-oak tree, and sitting among the branches, looked composedly down upon the dogs barking fiercely at its foot. Crockett crept up within about eighty yards, and taking deliberate aim at his breast, fired. The bullet struck and pierced the monster directly upon the spot at which it was aimed. The bear uttered a sharp cry, made a convulsive movement with one paw, and remained as before.

Speedily Crockett reloaded his rifle, and sent another bullet to follow the first. The shaggy brute shuddered in every limb, and then tumbled head-long to the icy ground. Still he was not killed. The dogs plunged upon him, and there was a tremendous fight. The howling of the bear, and the frenzied barking of the dogs, with their sharp cries of pain as the claws of the monster tore their flesh, and the deathly struggle witnessed as they rolled over and over each other in the fierce fight, presented a terrific spectacle.

Crockett hastened to the aid of his dogs. As soon as the bear saw him approach, he forsook the inferior, and turned with all fury upon the superior foe. Crockett was hurrying forward with his tomahawk in one hand and his big butcher-knife in the other, when the bear, with eyes flashing fire, rushed upon him. Crockett ran back, seized his rifle, and with a third bullet penetrated the monster's brain and he fell dead. The dogs and their master seemed to rejoice alike in their great achievement.

By the route which Crockett had pursued, he was about twelve miles from home. Leaving the huge carcass where the animal had fallen, he endeavored to make a straight line through the forest to his cabin. That he might find his way back again, he would, at every little distance, blaze, as it was called, a sapling, that is, chip off some of the bark with his hatchet. When he got within a mile of home this was no longer necessary.

The other two men had already returned to the cabin. As the wolves might devour the valuable meat before morning, they all three set out immediately, notwithstanding their fatigue and the still raging storm, and taking with them four pack-horses, hastened back to bring in their treasure. Crockett writes:

"We got there just before dark, and struck a fire, and commenced butchering my bear. It was some time in the night before we finished it. And I can assert, on my honor, that I believe he would have weighed six hundred pounds. It was the second largest I ever saw. I killed one, a few years after, that weighed six hundred and seventeen pounds. I now felt fully compensated for my sufferings in going back after my powder; and well satisfied that a dog might sometimes be doing a good business, even when he seemed to be barking up the wrong tree.

"We got our meat home, and I had the pleasure to know that we now had a plenty, and that of the best; and I continued through the winter to supply my family abundantly with bear-meat, and venison from the woods."

In the early spring, Crockett found that he had a large number of valuable skins on hand, which he had taken during the winter. About forty miles southeast from Crockett's cabin, in the heart of Madison County, was the thriving little settlement of Jackson. Crockett packed his skins on a horse, shouldered his rifle, and taking his hardy little son for a companion, set off there to barter his peltries for such articles of household use as he could convey back upon his horse. The journey was accomplished with no more than the ordinary difficulties. A successful trade was effected, and with a rich store of coffee, sugar, powder, lead, and salt, the father and son prepared for their return.

Crockett found there some of his old fellow-soldiers of the Creek War. When all things were ready for a start, he went to bid adieu to his friends and to take a parting dram with them. There were three men present who were candidates for the State Legislature. While they were having a very merry time, one, as though uttering a thought which had that moment occurred to him, exclaimed, "Why, Crockett, you ought to offer yourself for the Legislature for your district." Crockett replied, "I live at least forty miles from any white settlement." Here the matter dropped.

About ten days after Crockett's return home, a stranger, passing along, stopped at Crockett's cabin and told him that he was a candidate for Legislature, and took from his pocket a paper, and read to him the announcement of the fact. There was something in the style of the article which satisfied Crockett that there was a little disposition to make fun of him; and that his nomination was intended as a burlesque. This roused him, and he resolved to put in his claim with all his zeal. He consequently hired a man to work upon his farm, and set out on an electioneering tour.

Though very few people had seen Crockett, he had obtained very considerable renown in that community of backwoodsmen as a great bear-hunter. Dr. Butler, a man of considerable pretensions, and, by marriage, a nephew of General Jackson, was the rival candidate, and a formidable one. Indeed, he and his friends quite amused themselves with the idea that "the gentleman from the cane," as they contemptuously designated Crockett, could be so infatuated as to think that there was the least chance for him. The population of that wilderness region was so scarce that the district for which a representative was to be chosen consisted of eleven counties.

A great political gathering was called, which was to be held in Madison County, which was the strongest of them all. Here speeches were to be made by the rival candidates and their friends, and electioneering was to be practised by all the arts customary in that rude community. The narrative of the events which ensued introduces us to a very singular state of society. At the day appointed there was a large assembly, in every variety of backwoods costume, among the stumps and the lowly cabins of Jackson. Crockett mingled with the crowd, watching events, listening to everything which was said, and keeping himself as far as possible unknown.

Dr. Butler, seeing a group of men, entered among them, and called for whiskey to treat them all. The Doctor had once met Crockett when a few weeks before he had been in Jackson selling his furs. He however did not recognize his rival among the crowd. As the whiskey was passing freely around, Crockett thought it a favorable moment to make himself known, and to try his skill at an electioneering speech. He was a good-looking man, with a face beaming with fun and smiles, and a clear, ringing voice. He jumped upon a stump and shouted out, in tones which sounded far and wide, and which speedily gathered all around him.

"Hallo! Doctor Butler; you don't know me do you? But I'll make you know me mighty well before August. I see they have weighed you out against me. But I'll beat you mighty badly."

Butler pleasantly replied, "Ah, Colonel Crockett, is that you? Where did you come from?"

Crockett rejoined, "Oh, I have just crept out from the cane, to see what discoveries I could make among the white folks. You think you have greatly the advantage of me, Butler. 'Tis true I live forty miles from any settlement. I am poor, and you are rich. You see it takes two coonskins here to buy a quart. But I've good dogs, and my little boys at home will go to their death to support my election. They are mighty industrious. They hunt every night till twelve o'clock. It keeps the little fellows mighty busy to keep me in whiskey. When they gets tired, I takes my rifle and goes out and kills a wolf, for which the State pays me three dollars. So one way or other I keeps knocking along."

Crockett perhaps judged correctly that the candidate who could furnish the most whiskey would get the most votes. He thus adroitly informed these thirsty men of his readiness and his ability to furnish them with all the liquor they might need. Strange as his speech seems to us, it was adapted to the occasion, and was received with roars of laughter and obstreperous applause.

"Well, Colonel," said Dr. Butler, endeavoring to clothe his own countenance with smiles, "I see you can beat me electioneering."

"My dear fellow," shouted out Crockett, "you don't call this electioneering, do you? When you see me electioneering, I goes fixed for the purpose. I've got a suit of deer-leather clothes, with two big pockets. So I puts a bottle of whiskey in one, and a twist of tobacco in t'other, and starts out. Then, if I meets a friend, why, I pulls out my bottle and gives him a drink. He'll be mighty apt, before he drinks, to throw away his tobacco. So when he's done, I pulls my twist out of t'other pocket and gives him a chaw. I never likes to leave a man worse off than when I found him. If I had given him a drink and he had lost his tobacco, he would not have made much. But give him tobacco, and a drink too, and you are mighty apt to get his vote."

With such speeches as these, interlarded with fun and anecdote, and a liberal supply of whiskey, Crockett soon made himself known through all the grounds, and he became immensely popular. The backwoodsmen regarded him as their man, belonging to their class and representing their interests.

Dr. Butler was a man of some culture, and a little proud and overbearing in his manners. He had acquired what those poor men deemed considerable property. He lived in a framed house, and in his best room he had a rug or carpet spread over the middle of the floor. This carpet was a luxury which many of the pioneers had never seen or conceived of. The Doctor, standing one day at his window, saw several persons, whose votes he desired, passing along, and he called them in to take a drink.

There was a table in the centre of the room, with choice liquors upon it. The carpet beneath the table covered only a small portion of the floor, leaving on each side a vacant space around the room. The men cautiously walked around this space, without daring to put their feet upon the carpet. After many solicitations from Dr. Butler, and seeing him upon the carpet, they ventured up to the table and drank. They, however, were under great restraint, and soon left, manifestly not pleased with their reception.

Calling in at the next log house to which they came, they found there one of Crockett's warm friends. They inquired of him what kind of a man the great bear-hunter was, and received in reply that he was a first-rate man, one of the best hunters in the world; that he was not a bit proud; that he lived in a log cabin, without any glass for his windows, and with the earth alone for his floor.

"Ah!" they exclaimed with one voice, "he's the fellow for us. We'll never give our votes for such a proud man as Butler. He called us into his house to take a drink, and spread down one of his best bed-quilts for us to walk on. It was nothing but a piece of pride."

The day of election came, and Crockett was victorious by a majority of two hundred and forty-seven votes. Thus he found himself a second time a member of the Legislature of the State of Tennessee, and with a celebrity which caused all eyes to be turned toward "the gentleman from the cane."

Back to: Biography of David Crockett

Source: David Crockett: His Life and Adventures by John S. C. Abbott

Related Links:



Access Genealogy
One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research!

Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb
The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree
Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree.

Free Genealogy Charts
These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it.

Copyright, 2005-2010 by Webified Development all rights reserved.