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Mary (Polly) Crockett A Legend in Her Own Right
By Steve Pearson
The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce invites you to come take a step back in time, when life was simpler, a time when pioneers & frontiersman explored our great country at the 30th Annual Polly Crockett Festival in Cowan, Tennessee. A living museum will feature live demonstrations of how pioneers lived on the frontier. The Cowan Railroad Park will be the centerpiece of this display. Come experience the storytelling, exhibits, craft vendor and pioneer living.
The Polly Crockett Festival will take place on September 21, through the 23rd in Cowan, Tennessee along Tennessee Ave. This year the festival is bigger and better than previous years. Friday’s hours are 1:00 pm until 6:00PM. Saturday’s hours are 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM and Sunday’s hours are 11:00AM until 4:00PM. Special attractions and events include: Live Entertainment on 2 Stages, Crockett’s Car Show, Polly’s Saturday Night Supper, Buggy Rides, Story Telling and Skillet Toss, Free Kidz Zone on Saturday includes: Davy’s Adventure Zone, Polly’s Play Park, Davy’s Create and Take, Petting Zoo & Climbing Wall. Cowan Elementary students will be dressed in period costumes in the Cowan Railroad Park with their teacher Emily Ezell who will be churning butter and showcasing the Pioneer way of life.
Polly’s Skillet Toss is a one of a kind competition held on Saturday and Sunday with prizes from Lodge Cast Iron “America’s Original Cookware”. There will be separate youth and adult competitions. Saturday adult competitions take place at 10:00 am, 1:00pm and 3:00 pm and Sunday at 12:00 noon. Youth competitions on Saturday are at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 3:00pm. This one of a kind contest is fun for everyone! Come toss a skillet at the festival where one toss is $5 or 3 for $10!
If you would like additional information on the events please contact the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce at 931-967-6788. Applications may be picked up at local banks and the Chamber of Commerce. To print application online, visit www.franklincountychamber.com and click on the Polly Crockett Festival Link.
The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all of the Polly Crockett Festival Sponsors for their contribution to the festival. Grizzly Sponsors are Nissan North America, Decherd, NovaCopy, Russell Barnett Automotive Family and Universal Technologies. Black Bear Sponsors are American City Bank, AT&T, ATA: Aerospace Testing Alliance, The City of Cowan, Rogers Group, Inc. and Southern Tennessee Medical Center. Cub Bear Sponsors are Ascend Federal Credit Union, Dr. James Extine, Franklin County United Bank and Interlocal Solid Waste Authority: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Lodge Cast Iron and WalMart Supercenter.
Many stories have been written and Hollywood movies made about the life of David Crockett, but very little has been recorded about his first wife Mary Finley of Jefferson County, Tennessee. It is often said behind every successful man is an enterprising woman and the Crockett family was no exception.
Mary was born on January 4, 1788. She was the fourth of seven children and the first of two daughters born to William and Jean Kennedy Finley. Mary’s father nicknamed her Polly. She was born in what is now East Tennessee. The year 1788 was a great year to be born in America. It was the year the Constitution was ratified and George Washington was elected our first President. She was also born in the proposed State of Franklin, which of course did not succeed in actually becoming a state. In many respects Polly Finley was born the year thirteen independent states became the United States of America.
Polly’s early childhood was very typical of the frontier family life. She was raised on a homestead in a log cabin. Families in the area lived far apart but there were still primitive schools and churches. Most family get togethers were for church activities, barn building, and for harvesting crops. Harvest time also included evening parties and afforded the young folks the opportunity to meet one another. It was at one of these harvests gathering that Polly met David Crockett, a resident of nearby Greene County. It was love at first sight for Polly and she married David one year later on August 12, 1806 in her parent’s home. She was 18 years old.
The crockets lived in East Tennessee for several years, then moved to Southern Middle Tennessee; first in present day Moore County and then to Franklin County. It was while they lived in Southern Tennessee that the Creek Indian War and War of 1812 started. David volunteered for the conflicts leaving Polly at home to raise two children with another on the way. Polly lived all her life in Tennessee. She died in the early spring of 1815 in Franklin County shortly after her third child was born. She was 27 years old.
Polly Crockett embodied the frontier woman’s spirit. When her husband was away fighting for his country, Polly was left at home in the wilderness with the awesome tasks of safeguarding their children, tending the livestock, farming and foraging for food, and keeping the home fires burning. The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s Polly Crockett Festival is more about the spirit of this frontier lady than about the wife of the famous Tennessean. Mary (Polly) Finley Crockett is a legend in her own right.