What happened to Davy Crockett’s rifle “Beautiful Betsy?”

What happened to the ornate rifle that frontiersman David Crockett called his “Beautiful Betsy?”

James Camp

Cameron, Texas

Three important rifles are attributed to Davy (he preferred to be called David) Crockett’s career.

The first was a .48-caliber flintlock, owned by Joe Swann of Knoxville, Tennessee, and on exhibit at the East Tennessee History Center in Knoxville.

To honor his service in the Tennessee State Assembly, Crockett’s Lawrence County constituents presented him with a .40-caliber flintlock crafted by James Graham circa 1822. Crockett affectionately named this rifle “Old Betsy,” either after his wife or sister. He gave it to his son, John Wesley, when he headed for Texas in 1835. Today, it resides in the Alamo Museum collection in San Antonio.

The Whig Society of Philadelphia presented him with the third rifle, “Pretty Betsy.” It is believed to be a percussion cap rifle. The owner, a Houston attorney who descends from the Crockett family, won’t let anybody see it nor does he answer questions regarding the weapon.

None of these rifles played a role in the 1836 Alamo battle. Crockett earned acclaim after dying while defending the fort during a 13-day siege by the Mexican army.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu