The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 66
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Southwestern Ihs to zcal Quarterly
until all were butchered." A number of contemporary Texas letters and
newspaper accounts recounted Crockett's execution to highlight their
presumptions of Mexican savagery. For the remainder of the nine-
teenth century and throughout the first half of the twentieth, the no-
tion that Crockett survived the fighting and was later executed did not
seem to bother most people; few cared one way or another.'
In 1956, however, Walt Disney introduced San Angelo, Texas, native
Fess Parker as "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," in a tele-
vision series that became an overnight national sensation. In the Disney
version Crockett, clearly intended to be a role model, did not die on
screen as it was believed that seeing their hero actually killed would un-
settle America's children. Instead the image of "Davy" flailing away
with his clubbed rifle slowly fades into one of the Lone Star flag. The
1960 John Wayne film had Crockett not only go down fighting, but
blowing himself up with the Alamo's powder magazine in one last act of
That Hollywood had transformed Crockett into a pop icon perhaps
helps to explain the bitter controversy surrounding the publication of
two studies. In 1975 Carmen Perry translated and edited the diary of
Mexican officer Jos6 Enrique de la Pefia. Then Dan Kilgore, a former
president of the Texas State Historical Association, thoroughly ana-
lyzed all of the extant versions of Crockett's death in his carefully re-
searched 1978 monograph, How Dzd Davy Die? Both works stated that
Crockett survived the battle only to be executed on Santa Anna's orders.
A howl of protest arose. "For many people," historian Paul Andrew
Hutton surmised, "Crockett had become part of their self-identification
as Americans, and to suggest that he did not perish in true Hollywood
style was a blow to their fragile psyches.""
The Nufiez account has been employed repeatedly to support the
tradition that Crockett died in the thick of battle. Despite an over-
whelming body of evidence to the contrary, even trained historians
continue to use the Nufiez version to describe Crockett's demise. The
IE. Bowkei to Daniel Bowker, Mar 29, 1836, in John H .Jenkins (ed ), Papels of the Texas
Revoluton, 1835-1836 (lo vols, Austin: Presldial Pless, 1973), V, 223-224 (1st quotation),
Mary Austin Hollcy, Texas (1836, reprint, Austin 'Texas State Historical Assoclation, 1985),
354; Paul Andrew Hutton, "Introduction," in Susan Prendergast Schoelwer with Tonm W
Glaser, Alamo images. Changing Perceptzom of a Texa Experien e (DIallas l)eGolyei Librau y and
Southern Methodist University Press, 1985), 12-13
2Josd Enrique de la Peia, Wzth Santa Anna in Texas A Personal Narrative of the Revolutron,
trans and ed. Carmen Pciry (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1975), 53, Dan
Kilgore, How Dad Davy Die? (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1978), 47; Paul An-
drew Hutton, "Introduction," in David Crockett, A Narrative o/f the Life of Davd Crockett of the
State of Tennessee (1834, reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), xhli
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/90/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.