English Language Blog

Davy Crockett an American Legend Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Culture


Image by diane cordell on Flickr.com.

Image by diane cordell on Flickr.com.

Today I’m going to introduce you to an American folk legend: Davy Crockett. You’ll know a picture of Davy Crockett when you see one, because he is almost always portrayed wearing a raccoon (or “coonskin”) hat and carrying a gun. Davy Crockett is a legend with many fantastic stories told about him, but he isn’t a fictional legend; he was a real man.

He was born in the American state of Tennessee in 1786. He lived in the United States in a time of ‘western expansion.’ Western expansion refers to a time in U.S. history, beginning in the early 1800’s, when European Americans began moving further and further west across the North American continent, setting up homes, farms, and towns along the way. As they moved west they had many encounters with Native Americans and these weren’t always pleasant encounters for either the Europeans or Native Americans. The European Americans who moved from the east out to the west were called pioneers or frontiersmen. Davy Crockett became known as “The King of the Wild Frontier” because of his participation in this movement.

Davy Crockett was more than just a frontiersmen though, in his lifetime he was also a hunter, soldier, and a politician. Davy Crockett fought as a solider in battles against Native American Indians before beginning a life in politics. He was a congressman in the U.S. capitol from 1827 to 1831. During his time as a congressman, in Washington D.C., he is often most remembered for opposing the Indian Removal Act. This means he was trying to help Native Americans stay on their lands. Crockett later fought and died in the Texas Revolution. He died in 1835 in a famous American battle known as The Battle of the Alamo.

Davy Crockett was an infamous outdoors-man and storyteller. In one story he claimed: “When I was only three years old, I out-wrestled a big old bear. That bear wandered into the kitchen one day and started to eat up the jam. So I grabbed him in a bear hug…and I squeezed and I squeezed and I squeezed until that bear just fell down.” That is hard to believe, but he said it was true. It is pretty clear that Davy Crockett would not be as famous of an American figure if he hadn’t been so good at telling amazing, larger-than-life stories. It is probably also true that after his death, some his stories became even more exaggerated.

In the 1900’s some people decided Davy Crockett’s stories were good enough to be made into movies and television programs. This is another reason Davy Crockett is still a well-known American legend. It is hard to tell today which stories about Davy Crockett’s life were true or not, but The Ballad of Davy Crockett tells a number of these stories and has been made into a song. You can listen to this ballad and learn more about Davy Crocket’s adventures here:

If you want to see the lyrics to this ballad here is another link for you.

Here are a couple of definitions to help you understand the slang that is used in this song. Enjoy!
so’s = so
b’ar = bear
injun = Indian
a spell = an undefined period of time
fixin = fixing
politickin = working as a politician
lit out = took off, went away

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.