Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Davy Crockett tells it like it is...

A faithful reader of this blog, who is affectionately known to friend and foe alike as the Giant Rat of Knoxville, called today and suggested I post this famous quote from one of our most famous Tennesseans, Colonel David "Davy" Crockett.

"You can go to hell, and I am going to Texas."

A quick Google search traces the quote to an account by a man from Nacogdoches, Texas, which was printed in the Niles Weekly Register (Baltimore, Maryland) for its April 9, 1836 edition. He apparently met Crockett when the colonel headed out for Texas on what became his heroic and ill-fated rendezvous at The Alamo. It is quoted below:

"A gentleman from Nacogdoches, in Texas, informs us, that, whilst there, he dined in public with Col. Crockett, who had just arrived from Tennessee. The old bear-hunter, on being toasted, made a speech to the Texians [sic], replete with his usual dry humor. He began nearly in this style: 'I am told, gentlemen, that, when a stranger, like myself, arrives among you, the first inquiry is - what brought you here? To satisfy your curiosity at once to myself, I will tell you all about it. I was, for some years, a member of congress. In my last canvass, I told the people of my district, that, if they saw fit to re-elect me, I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but, if not, they might go to h(ell), and I would go to Texas. I was beaten, gentlemen, and here I am.'

"The roar of applause was like a thunder-burst."

Incidentally, for those interested in reading about the real Davy Crockett, I wholeheartedly recommend Buddy Levy's excellent 2005 biography, "American Legend: The Real-Life Adventures of David Crockett." For those who wish to learn more about the 1950s Fess Parker/Davy Crockett craze, the best study to date is Paul F. Anderson's 1996 book, "The Davy Crockett Craze."

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