In 1834 the Tennessee frontiersman, Indian fighter and politician Col. David Crockett, dismayed by an unauthorized biography that lionized him at the expense of fact, published an autobiography. Crockett was not averse to a bit of legend, but believed that the bio had gone much too far. Both books of the books were bestsellers in their day, but the myth prevailed in the end.
It turns out that much that we believe about Col. Crockett was sewn up out of whole cloth, from his early adventures even to the facts of his death at the Battle of the Alamo. The link below is to an online copy of Crockett’s book. The lower link is to an article about the book and the Crockett myth. Both are fascinating, especially to us old pharts who grew up in the days of coonskin caps and “Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.”
“A publication has been made to the world, which has done me much injustice ; and the catchpenny errors which it contains, have been already too long sanctioned by my silence. I don’t know the author of the book—and indeed I don’t want to know him; for after he has taken such a liberty with my name, and made such an effort to hold me-up to public ridicule, he cannot calculate on any thing but my displeasure. If he had been content to have written his opinions about me, however contemptuous they might have been, I should have had less reason to complain. But when he professes to give my narrative (as he often does) in my own language, and then puts into my mouth such language as would disgrace even an outlandish African, he must himself be sensible of the injustice he has done me, and the trick he has played off on the publick. I have met with hundreds, if not with thousands of people, who have formed their opinions of my appearance, habits, language, and every thing else from that deceptive work.
“They have almost in every instance expressed the most profound astonishment at finding me in human shape, and with the countenance, appearance, and common feelings of a human being. It is to correct all these false notions, and to do justice to myself, that I have written.” — Col. David Crockett
“I will never change my mind about Davy Crockett. Mr. Crisp is a highly intelligent and educated man, and I respect him and the work that he does. But I am not willing, nor do I care to be willing, to give up my image of Davy Crockett.” — Texas Lady