Historian’s Almanac for August 17, 2013

 It was on August 17, 1786 that one of America’s favorite folk heroes, Davey Crockett was born.  As a frontiersman, he earned the nickname, “King of the Wild Frontier.”  Davey Crockett’s achievements have been forgotten, like those of many frontiersmen in America’s history, were it not for two things, his death and a television series.

Crockett was elected three times to Congress, but lost his bid for reelection in 1832.  Somewhat bitter, he made a speech in front of the Madison County courthouse in Jackson, Tennessee, in which he expressed his anger at what he felt was a betrayal.  “Since you have chosen to elect a man with a timber toe to succeed me,” Crockett told his audience, “you may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.”   He did, where he died at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, in his forty-ninth year.

Davey Crockett was a bigger than life hero in his own lifetime.  But it was the 1950s television series by Walt Disney that turned him into a legendary figure in buckskin suit, coonskin hat, and holding a long rifle.  Both the television series and the hit song, “The Ballad of Davey Crockett,” can be seen and heard today.

It was also on this day in 1877 the William Bonny, better known as “Billy the Kid,” shot Frank “Windy” Cahill.  Cahill was an oversized blacksmith who enjoyed bullying the seventeen year old Billy.  When Cahill called Billy a pimp, Billy called Cahill a son of a bitch.  The massive Cahill jumped on the much smaller Billy and began beating him.  Billy pulled a gun and shot Cahill, who died the day after. 

Billy discovered he liked killing, and soon earned for himself a reputation as a coldblooded killer.  His career came to an end on July 14, 1886, when he was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.

And I must not fail to mention the birthday of Mae West, born Mary Jane West  1893 (d. 1980).  She was an actress, singer, playwright, and, but is best remembered as a Hollywood sex idol known for her witticisms:  “I’m no model lady.  A model’s just an imitation of the real thing.”  “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.”

 Until next time, be good, do good, and always live under the mercy.

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One response to “Historian’s Almanac for August 17, 2013

  1. Paul, of course, I especially enjoyed the bits about Mae Wes…a woman after my own heart! As always, good stuff!

    Like

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