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The Hamblen County Chapter - Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities (APTA) was organized on March 26, 1952, at the home of Mrs. Constance Helms, who was the first president of the organization. Misses Sarah Dougherty and Meta Turley Goodson were instrumental along with many other women and men of the community in the early growth of the chapter.

The local chapter was organized soon after the beginning of the state APTA in Nashville in 1951. The group began small, but soon grew into one of the most prestigious organizations in Hamblen County. During the 1955 Morristown City Centennial, the local APTA played a major role in the celebration of the life of David Crockett who spent his boyhood years in the area.

Fess ParkerA highlight of the festivities was the appearance of the Walt Disney movie star, Fess Parker (Born August 16,1924 - Died March 18, 2010) on May 29, 1955, while the movie "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier" was showing at the Princess Theater in downtown Morristown. A spectacular pageant was held along with a large parade marching thru the downtown streets boasting storefronts decorated with a Crockett/pioneer theme.

A replica of the Crockett family well was constructed on the site of the original (located in 1949) for the Centennial celebration. Representatives from the Alamo visited the city. Leaders from Morristown visited San Antonio, TX. Proceeds from the Centennial celebration were sought by the local APTA chapter to build a memorial to the Crockett family. Groundbreaking for the site was held on August 17, 1956. The initial idea was to build a formal museum with a statue of the Alamo hero out in front.

Due to funding restraints, a log cabin structure was completed which represented the type of building that would have housed a tavern such as the one run by Davy's father, John Crockett. Numerous material donations of logs, large building stones, and items of historical significance from old homes and other buildings in Hamblen and surrounding counties were included in the project. The end result was the opening of the Crockett Tavern Museum on April 21, 1958.

David Crockett 1810
David Crockett 1810
Original oil painting by artist
John Nava of Ojai, CA.

An art quality print with
Crockett signature
(24 in. x 38 in.)
available for $40 from the
Crockett Store at the
Direct Descendants of
David Crockett & Kin website


Davy Crockett is a genuine American hero. As a frontiersman, politician, and warrior, he won acclaim and a permanent place in the lore that forms the history of America. He may be best known a martyr at the Alamo in Texas' battle for independence.

Davy's early life was filled with hardship. As the fifth of six sons among John and Rebecca Crockett's nine children, Davy watched his father stuggle with debt throughout his life. The family moved often, but they never strayed far from east Tennessee. After many failed attempts at business, Davy's father finally established a successful tavern where the Museum now stands.

One of Davy's duties at the tavern was to hunt game for the supper table, which helped hone his skill with a rifle. Another chore was taking care of the livestock of the cattle drovers and sheep herders who were staying at the tavern.

As a young man, Davy was sometimes hired out to drive cattle, as well as, do other work to help pay off his family's debt. At 15, after leaving home for three years, he returned home to a joyful reunion with his family. When he was 17, he received his only six months of education while working part-time in the area.

Crockett Tavern Springtime

Crockett Tavern Springtime
by artist Joseph Ross (Santagate)

After two lost loves, Davy finally found Polly Finley, whom he courted and married. The marriage bond for their union is located in the archives of the Jefferson County Court House in Dandridge, TN. The marriage bond for Davy's engagement to Maragaret Elder is also in the archives of the Jefferson County Court House in Dandridge.A longrifle used by Crockett during this time is now housed in the East Tennessee Historical Museum in Knoxville, TN. They rented a farm and lived in Jefferson County, TN, until, at age 25, Davy headed west with his young wife and sons John Wesley and William.