Morristown in Hamblen County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Young David Crockett
A Teenager’s Epic Journey
“I was twelve years old; and about that time, that I began to make up my acquaintance with hard times, and a plenty of them.”
– David Crockett
From his Narrative, 1834
Adversities can make or destroy individuals. The Warriors’ Path was such a place that challenged the will of the human spirit as it could take its toll on vulnerable and unsuspecting travelers. Between 1798 and 1802, David Crockett’s young life was transformed by the events that played out along this famous passageway.
David lived with his large family along the Knoxville-Abingdon Road where his father, John Crockett, operated a tavern in present-day Morristown. When David Crockett wrote his Narrative in 1834, he recalled those times.
“His tavern was on a small scale, as he was poor; and the principle accommodations which he kept, were for the waggoners [sic] who travelled the road. Here I remained with him until I was twelve years old; and about that time, that I began to make up my acquaintance with hard times, and a plenty of them.”
By 1798, grinding
“Being hard run every way, and having no thought, as I believe, that I was cut out for a Congressman nor the like, young as I was, and as little as I knew about traveling, or being from home, he hired me to the old Dutchman, to go four hundred miles on foot, with a perfect stranger that I never had seen until the evening before.”
Obedient, reliable, and sturdy, young David Crockett carried out his father’s agreement to Siler and “set out with a heavy heart” with his new master. However, Jacob Siler had no intention of releasing David back to his family once the destination was reached. Escape became the only answer and in the cover of darkness during a deep snowfall David ran to the sanctuary of pre-arranged protectors. With the help of sympathetic travellers, David Crockett finally made the month-long trip home.
But the real hardship had just begun.
It didn’t take long for young Crockett to get himself into a real mess when he and his brothers started attending school for the first time. After beating a large bully from his classroom and fearing the wrath of the schoolmaster, David’s decision
“Finding me rather too slow about starting, he gathered about a two year old hickory, and broke after me. I put out with all my might, and soon we were both up to the top of our speed. We had a tolerable tough race for about a mile; but mind me, not on the school-house road, for I was trying to get as far the t’other was as possible.”
The explosive chase by his father now convinced the thirteen year old he could never return home. What David and his family could not have imagined was that his journey would take him on a thousand mile round trip to Baltimore, Maryland ad back, consuming nearly three years of his formative life. He survived by working, traveling, and living with complete strangers in the vast wilderness until he returned home via this route in 1802. His arrival with other travelers at the family tavern was unannounced as he was now camouflaged by his manly and changed appearance.
“I had been gone so long, and had grown so much, that the family did not at first know me…for they all long given me up for finally lost. After a while, we were all called supper. We sat down to the table and begun to eat, when my eldest sister recollected me; she sprung-up, rand and
Years later, Congressman David Crockett would occasionally take the old Warriors’ Path from Tennessee back to Washington City to conduct the affairs of the young nation. One can only imagine how he may have recalled those hard times that would eventually shape his character.
A network of warrior paths through the continent included one that entered Tennessee from near present-day Bristol and traveled south along Cumberland Plateau and the Tennessee River.
Freight wagons were common along the Warriors’ Path in Crockett’s era.
Crude log homes dotted the landscape.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1798.
Location. 36° 13.286′ N, 83° 16.055′ W. Marker is in Morristown, Tennessee, in Hamblen County. Marker is on Morningside Drive, on the right when traveling east. The marker is located at the Crockett Tavern Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2002 Morningside Drive, Morristown TN 37814, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John Crockett: Frontier Ranger (here, next to this marker); Conestoga Wagon (a few steps from this marker); David Crockett – A Tennessee LegacyCrockett Tavern (within shouting distance of this marker); Erected in Memory of the 22 Hamblen County Boys Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice in the World War (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hannah J. Price (approx. 1.2 miles away); Phillips House (approx. 1.3 miles away); Morristown College (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morristown.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 213 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 28, 2020, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.