The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995 Page: 214
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Cover: David Crockett by John Gadsby Chapman, date unknown. Oil on
canvas, 24 /, x 16'/2 inches. Courtesy Harry Ransom Humanities Research Cen-
ter, Unzversity of Texas at Austin.
The historical David Crockett and the mythic Davy Crockett long ago be-
came confused in the public mind. The bigger-than-life Crockett that
exists in the public mind has a number of facets. Sometimes he is seen
as a noble frontiersman, as on the cover of this issue. At other times he
is the fighting wild man, as on page 325. In any case, the popular cul-
ture treatment of Crockett-from nineteenth-century almanacs to Walt
Disney's 1955 movie and television show-has created a colorful figure
of heroic proportions who is indelibly stamped into public conscious-
ness. One of the most powerful images is of Crockett going to his death
at the Alamo while swinging his rifle at oncoming Mexican soldiers. For
a generation of American children growing up in the 195os, Disney's
depiction of the Alamo story firmly established this image as a defining
moment in the Crockett saga. In recent years, when evidence came to
light suggesting that Crockett was instead taken prisoner and then exe-
cuted, it caused a firestorm of controversy.
No matter how he actually died, Crockett gave his life for the cause of
Texas independence; but some of his idolators refuse to believe that he
could have died any other way except as in the Disney version. One of
the central pieces of evidence that Crockett did not go down swinging
his rifle is the Jos6 Enrique de la Pefia diary, which has Crockett cap-
tured alive and then cruelly cut down at Santa Anna's order. In recent
decades, a number of books have addressed this controversial diary. An
article beginning on page 261 provides new in-depth research into the
mysteries of the de la Pefia diary.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 98, July 1994 - April, 1995, periodical, 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101216/m1/214/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.