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Berkeley County, West Virginia Biography of David "Davy" CROCKETT

         David CROCKETT was a noted Indian fighter and scout who ran away from home when he was 12 and wandered into the confines of Berkeley County. He worked on a farm owned by John David Gray, situated on the road leading from Arden to the instersection of the Gerardstown-Inwood road. He lived there about 3 years, afterward returning to his home in Tennessee where he reconciled with his father. He was elected to Congress from that state. Several stories have come out of that campaign, including the one about the guinea fowl.

         At one place David Crockett and his opponent met, his opponent, in his speech, never alluded to Crockett at all. But while he was making the speech, a guinea fowl perched on the limb of a tree close by and kept up such a chatter that his opponent had the guinea driven away. When it came time for Crockett’s speech, he mounted the stump and began his speech by saying that while his opponent never once alluded to him, the guinea had to be driven away because it kept “hollerin “Crocket! Crocket!” so much that it had interfered with his speech. At those “stump speeches” the candidate would mount a stump in a newly made “clearing” and would make his speech from that platform. David Crockett was never without an audience because the backwoods people would travel for miles to be present at a “stump speech.” The custom gave rise to the term “stump the state” or just “stumping.” In Crockett’s day, the candidate would speak for awhile until the audience became dry and a bottle produced by the candidate would be passed around. Then the candidate would begin speaking again until the audience became dry and the bottle would again be passed around. It is said some of the stump speeches would last for days or even weeks (reference the Lincoln Douglas debates).

         David Crockett had ambitions of becoming President of the United States. He was honest and fearless and the people trusted him. He lost his life at the Alamo, fighting for Texas independence.

         A story of life in Berkeley County has David Crockett, while working for John David Gray and farming wheat, joining his employer in the trip hauling the flour barrels by wagon from the Throckmorton mill where it was ground to Baltimore, Maryland. “Davy” was riding in the wagon with the barrels; when going down a steep grade, the brake broke and team ran away, tossing Crockett and several barrels out on the road. When the team had stopped, Mr. Gray went back to see what had become of Crockett and found him up, smiling, and unhurt. He was asked if he was not afraid of being killed, and David remarked that any “man that was cut out to be President of the United States would never be killed by a flour barrel.” His motto was “Be sure you are right, then — go ahead.”

    Submitted by Marilyn Gouge and extracted from History of Berkeley County, West Virginia, 1928

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