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Limestone in Washington County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

Eye-Witness to a Near Tragedy

 
 
Ye-Witness to a Near Tragedy Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, October 15, 2018
1. Ye-Witness to a Near Tragedy Marker
Inscription.  

The chronicles of the American frontier are ripe with personal tragedies and disasters; fatal accidents, and dangerous encounters with nature. Crockett states that he remembers very little about his first home, except for an incident that occurred when his brothers left him on the shore while they went for a canoe ride. While young David fumed at being left behind, he witnessed a near-tragedy at this section on the river that would have wiped out half the Crockett children. This is how young David saw the event in his own words:

"My four elder brothers, and a well-grown boy of about fifteen years old, by the name of Campbell, and myself, were all playing on the river's side; when all the rest of them got into my father's canoe, and put out to amuse themselves on the water, leaving me on the shore alone.

Just a little distance below them, there was a fall in the river, which went slap-right straight down. My brothers, though they were little fellows, had been used to paddling the canoe, and could have carried safely anywhere about there, but this fellow Campbell wouldn't let them have the paddle, but, fool like, undertook
The view of the river from the marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, October 15, 2018
2. The view of the river from the marker
to manage it himself. I reckon he had never seen a watercraft before; and it went just any way but the way he wanted it. There he paddled, and paddled, and paddled--all the while going wrong--until, in a short time, here they were all going, straight forward, stern foremost, right plump to the falls; and if they had only had a fair shake, they would have gone over as slick as a whistle.

Their danger was seen by a man by the name of Kendall who was working in a field on the bank, and knowing there was no time to lose, he started full tilt, and here he come like a cane brake afire; and as he ran, he threw off his coat and then his jacket, and then his shirt, for I know when he got to the water he had nothing on but his breeches. But seeing him in such a hurry, and tearing off his clothes as he went, I had no doubt that the devil or something else was after him- and close on him, too--as he was running within an inch of his life.

This alarmed me, and I screamed out like a young painter. But Kendall didn't stop for this. He went ahead with all might, as was full bent on saving the boys. When he came to the water he plunged in; and by such exertion as I never saw at any other time in my life, he reached the canoe, when it was within twenty or thirty feet of the falls; and so great was the suck, and so swift the current, that poor Kendall had a hard time of it to stop
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them at last...

But he hung on to the canoe, till he got it stop'd, and then draw'd it out of danger. When they got out, I found the boys were more scared than I had been, and the only thing that comforted me was, the belief that it was a punishment on them for leaving me on shore"

David Crockett - 1834 Narrative

(sidebar)
Late 18th Century Childhood Survival
About the time David Crockett was born, 45 percent of children on the American frontier never lived beyond five years of age.
 
Erected by David Crockett Birthplace State Park.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 36° 12.624′ N, 82° 39.579′ W. Marker is in Limestone, Tennessee, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Charles Johnson Road 0.2 miles north of Davy Crockett Park Road. The marker is located along a walkway on the Nolichucky River in the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park Campground. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1245 Davy Crockett Park Road, Limestone TN 37681, 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. The Real Likeness of David Crockett (approx. 0.3 miles away); Crockett’s Tennessee Westward Movement (approx. 0.3 miles away); Unionist Stronghold (approx.
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0.3 miles away); Welcome to Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Summary of the Life of Davy Crockett (approx. 0.3 miles away); Crockett (approx. 0.3 miles away); Davy Crockett’s Birthplace (approx. 0.3 miles away); David Crockett (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Limestone.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 12, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 11, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 11, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021