David Crockett Makes a Comeback in Knoxville

David Crockett Night at Union Avenue Books’ “Books and Beer”

I’m not sure the last time David Crockett had a bigger week in Knoxville. He wasn’t so famous when he lived in Jefferson County. Maybe it was while he was a representative or perhaps it was in the aftermath of that unfortunate little skirmish at a church in Texas. In any case, this past week was pretty big as two-hundred-twenty-five-year-olds go.

Crockett Scholars and Fiddle Players at Union Avenue Books

Danny Gammon plays 18th century fiddle tunes at Union Avenue Books

First, Union Avenue Books hosted a celebration in honor of Mr. Crockett’s big birthday on Wednesday night. Part of their regular “Books and Beer” monthly series, this event featured biscuits and country ham which seemed very appropriate. It also featured PBRs for those hipster Crockett fans. The rest of the event was academic in that it featured genuine Crockett scholars Dan Feller and Michael Lofaro reading from books about Crockett as well as a bit from his auto-biography. Danny Gammon played appropriate fiddle tunes from the era and really gave the night the atmospheric touch it deserved.

Charles reads a David Crockett speach at Union Avenue Books.

A replica of David Crockett’s rifle at Union Avenue Books.

Charles Allen Thomas hosted and read probably the most moving passage of the night when he read an account of Mr. Crockett’s speech to congress defending his vote against the Indian Removal Act. Also on hand was Joe Swann, a descendant of the family whose land bordered the Crockett’s spread up in Jefferson County. He also happens to own the only rifle owned by David Crockett which he mentioned in his autobiography. The actual rifle is on display in the East Tennessee History Center while a replica was on hand for our viewing pleasure. A certain Mr. Neely stood about adding an astute word or two when moved to do so.

Two days later, as part of the East Tennessee History Fair, an official birthday party was held in which current century partiers sang “Happy Birthday” to David while enjoying not one, not two but three birthday cakes baked for the occasion by Food City. Like me, they learned that he was likely not often called “Davy” but rather “David,” which is what they put on the cakes. Unfortunately they dropped the second “t” from his last name which lost them quite a few points. The man himself was on hand and didn’t seem to react so much to the slight.

Not Fess Parker, but apparently David Crockett.

I’ll close by mentioning a couple of events for today and tomorrow which you might want to catch if you can: Preservation Pub will be the site of the weekly Homegrown show from WFIV (i105) which features local music and this week’s artist is Jay Clark. Get on your cranky-young-man groove and head on over. Also Wednesday night (you have to choose) Union Avenue Books hosts Readers’ Night Out which features a store full of local authors like Pamela Schoenwaldt, Michael Griffith and David Hunter among others signing their books. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door with the proceeds going to Friends of Literacy. The literacy event starts at 6:00 PM, while the Homegrown show starts at 7:00 so, technically, you could do both.

Thursday night your Urban Bloggaman has to work, but you can make the Jenna and Her Cool Friends show downstairs at Latitude 35. It’s the first of a “Odd Thursday Bluezz” series. Tickets are a ridiculously cheap $5.00 for one of the best blues bands around. Show up and Jenna will give you a blues education. And listen for both of us.

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