b. 1745 Augusta (now Wythe) County, Virginia
d. May 28, 1821 Williamson County, Tennessee
Service: 1775- 1799 Montgomery, Augusta and Wythe County, Virginia Militia.
Lieutenant 1777, Captain 1790, Major 1797
In addition to his service in the Virginia Militia, he was a renowned master gunsmith. He made "Long Rifles" which his cousins and neighbors used with such deadly accuracy at King's Mountain, New Orleans and the Alamo.
He was awarded several significant land grants in Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana.
Huguenot Ancestors –
(VA.) Father, Samuel Crockett,
(France) Great grandparents, Antoine de Sasure Perronette de Crocketagne and Louise de Saix.
Andrew Crockett's (or de Crocketagne) family were French Huguenots (Protestants) from the town of Montauban on the Tarn River in southern France. His great grand father, Antoine de Sasure Perronette de Crocketagne was commander of King Louis XIV's mounted Palace Guard at Versailles. There he met and married one of the King's cousins, Louise de Saix. She was a descendent of King Henry de Navare and Marie de Medici. It is hard to believe that her descendent, "cud'n Davy" Crockett ("King of the Wild Frontier" and all that) was a direct descendent of her ancestor, Lorenzo de Medici ("Father of the Renaissance"), but if you think about it, although the two men lived in very different circumstances, they behaved very much alike in that they were both fiercely independent and self reliant.
When King Louis XIV ordered the exile of the "heretics" (Huguenot Protestants) from southern France in 1672, Antoine and Louise immigrated first to England and then to Ireland, where Antoine served as commander of the Protestant forces of King William of Orange at Bantry Bay. In Ireland they anglicized their name to Crockett.
In 1715 Antoine's and Louise's grandson, Samuel Crockett (Andrew's father) immigrated to America and settled in Lancaster, PA. where he worked as an indentured blacksmith and learned to make Long Rifles.
On board the ship to America with Samuel was a Scottish Presbyterian minister, Rev. John Thompson and his family, including a young daughter, Esther Thompson. Samuel became very fond of Esther and married her in 1732. Samuel and Esther moved to Virginia where they could obtain land. They first settled in Prince Edward County, VA where Esther's father was serving as a Minister and Head Master of a "Classical School for Boys." Samuel served as a sergeant under George Rogers Clark in the French and Indian War. Then in 1744 Samuel obtained a tract of land out on the frontier in Southwest VA on "The Wilderness Road" near Ft. Chiswell, VA. There Samuel set up his own iron mines, furnaces, and water driven forge. Andrew was born there in 1745.
After Samuel's death, Andrew and his brothers expanded the iron operation and specialized in making Long Rifles, selling them to the settlers coming down "Wilderness Road" to settle on the frontier in NC, KY and TN.
As the Colony of VA became increasingly involved in the American Revolution, Andrew joined the local Militia about 1775 and was commissioned Lieutenant in Captain Edward's Company of the Montgomery Co. VA Militia in 1777.
Andrew and his brother, James were among a group of Virginia Militiaman who came to the mid- Cumberland area in 1775 in connection with Judge Richard Henderson's Transylvania Land Company and General George Rogers Clark's strategy to bring in VA militiamen as settlers to secure western territories for America and to prevent the British from attacking the colonies through the western "back door."
Like many of those "first settlers" Andrew and James each secured a "section" (one square mile or 640 acres) of land. Both Andrew and James were among the ten such "first settlers" who chose their land in what is now Brentwood. Andrew's tract was around the present intersection of Crockett Road and Wilson Pike, including the present site of Crockett Park and Crockett School. Although it has not been documented that Andrew Crockett was THE first settler in what is now Brentwood, TN, neither has it been documented that there were any others who were here earlier. Andrew Crockett is the only one of those ten "first settlers" who chose the rich soil between these beautiful blue hills of Brentwood as his final resting place.
Andrew and James Crockett were the only ones of those ten "first settlers" in what is now Brentwood who were also among the 249 signers of the Cumberland Compact (May 1, 1780 at Ft. Nashborough.) That suggests that they were the representatives of the area that is now Williamson County in the councils of the early Cumberland Communities.
When those "first settlers" came to this "wilderness" of the Cumberland Communities, under the aegis of Gen. George Rogers Clark and Judge Henderson, they thought they were settling in western lands of the Colony of VA. However, later surveys showed that the land was actually that of western NC and therefore not under the aegis of Gen. Clark. It was also later determined that the Transylvania Land Company's claims to the land (based on Henderson's 1775 Watauga Purchase from the Cherokees) were not legally valid. That meant that those "first settlers" did not legally own the sites on which they had settled. Furthermore, North Carolina designated the lands in the mid Cumberland (including those of the Cumberland Communities) as a Military Reservation, to be made available to those who had fought for the Colony of North Carolina in payment for their service in the Revolution.
Judge Henderson succeeded in getting legislation passed in the NC Legislature to "Preempt" the sites settled by those "first settlers" from the grant lands available to the North Carolina veterans. Anthony Bledsoe, Isaac Shelby and Absalom Tatum were appointed as a commission to survey the boundaries of the military reservation and to issue "Preemption Certificates" for the sites upon which those "first settlers" (such as Andrew Crockett) had been "living on and made improvements to" before the first day of June, 1780. On March 10, 1783, Andrew Crockett was issued "Preemption Certificate" Number 412.
It should be pointed out that the land granted these "first settlers" were not grants for having served in the Revolution like those later granted to the North Carolina veterans. Rather, Andrew Crockett and his fellow Virginia Militiamen's earlier settlement in the Mid Cumberland was itself an aspect of General George Rogers Clark's Western Strategy and thus, as an integral part of the American Revolution.
In addition to his long and distinguished service in the Virginia Militia, Andrew Crockett made a significant contribution to the birthing and early survival of America through his hand crafted "Long Rifles," a skill he learned from his father and passed on to his son Samuel III. What distinguished the uniquely American "rifles" from the British "Brown Bet" muskets was that barrels of muskets were smooth bore while the rifles had spiral groves, or "rifeling" cut inside the barrels. Those spiral groves caused the bullets to spin, thus giving it a gyroscopic action which preventing it from wobbling and deviating from its intended path. This gave the American buckskin riflemen 50 to75 yards of additional accurate firing range over the smooth bore muskets. Thus the American riflemen could position themselves out beyond the range of the muskets and pick off the British and Tories with relative impunity. That difference in accurate firing range was crucial to the American victories in the "turning point" battle of King's Mountain in the Revolution, and later in Jackson's victory in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 as well as any number of less well known American victories in both wars. Furthermore, those rifles were crucial in the southern frontier pioneers' struggle to defend themselves. From the defenders of Fort Chiswell to the defenders of Fort Nashborough to "Cud'n" Davy and his Tennessee companions at the Alamo, Crockett rifles played a part in that struggle.
Andrew maintained his iron mines, furnaces and forge near Ft. Chiswell, VA and traveled back and forth between there and the Cumberland Community. He also continued to serve in the Virginia Militia, being promoted to the rank of Captain in 1790 and Major in 1797. He brought his family, including his son, Samuel III, and his grandson, Andrew III, to his tract in what is now Brentwood, in 1796. That was the year Andrew's son Robert completed the project to widen the road over the Cumberland Gap was to allow wagons to pass over the Gap.
After the move, Andrew and his son, Samuel III, set up their forge and gunsmith shop on Andrew's land in what is now Brentwood. They not only supplied their Long Rifles to tier fellow settlers, (frequently in exchange for land), but also to Jackson's troops in the Creek War (1810) and in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, for which they were granted land in Louisiana.
Andrew, Samuel III, Andrew III, and many of their descendents are buried in the Crockett Cemetery at the corner of Crockett Road and Wilson Pike in Brentwood, TN.
If you visit the historic Williamson County Courthouse here in Franklin you will find a plaque (placed by our DAR sisters in the 1920s) beside the front door naming some sixty four of those Patriots who fought to give us our great nation and were thought to lie buried here in Williamson County. The name at the top of that noble list is that of Andrew Crockett. While this list is probably less than totally accurate (we now think there are about 270 buried here), it offers an outline of our earliest heritage, a heritage that seems to be slipping into obscurity.
Like Andrew Crockett, many of these valiant men were rugged frontiersmen from the backwoods, high country of Virginia or North Carolina. Frequently, equipped with little more than their own raw grit and determination, they carved their "New Jerusalem" out of that raw wilderness and proceeded to build a gracious society of which we are the beneficiaries. They risked everything to give us our liberty and our nation. One way or another, they obtained pieces of the rich black land in that raw wilderness between our beautiful blue hills and it is here they now lie buried.
Yet, as is the case with all too many of the artifacts of our heritage, our "progress" has not always dealt kindly with either the memory or the final resting places of these valiant men. All too frequently the epic saga of these men's lives and deeds has been overshadowed by that of other events deemed more likely to attract tourist dollars. Their final resting places have, too often been either lost to us altogether or lie cluttered with the (literal and figurative) construction debris of our so-called "progress".
It is the founding mission of the Lieutenant Andrew Crockett Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution to research both the lives and the final resting places of these Patriots and share them with our fellow citizens. Our ultimate goal is to sensitize the broader community to the role these Patriots played in laying the very foundations of our rich heritage. In so doing, we hope to engender reverence for their contributions to our heritage.
Descendent of Andrew Crockett and
Founding President of the Lt. Andrew Crockett Chapter, SAR.