The list is a mile long: Jimmy Hoffa, Princess Diana, Jim Morrison, D.B. Cooper, Amelia Earhart, Adolf Hitler, Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur, Anastasia, I could go on and on… and the Granddaddy of them all… Elvis.
Who are these people? All of them have been reported to be alive after their deaths. We might even add William Morgan to that list. Killed or not, there were enough "Morgans" sighted out there after 1826 to populate a small town.
And then there is that guy in my neck o' the woods… Jesse James. So many people claimed to be Jesse after he died that in 1994, archaeologists came to l'il ole Kearney, Missouri and dug him up. Do you know who was in that grave? Jesse James.
Well, this finally brings us to the Masonic connection to all this, Brother Davy Crockett. Is it possible that the King of the Wild Frontier did not die at the Alamo? Be careful, you skeptics, and consider this.
There were many Freemasons on both sides at the battle of the Alamo. Most notably on the Mexican side was General Santa Ana himself. Legend has it that he avoided execution after the Battle of San Juacinto by giving the Grand Hailing Sign of Distress when taken to Sam Houston. Houston, himself a Freemason, was then said to have spared the general's life. One way or another, there is no doubt that Santa Ana escaped with his life.
So, if Santa Ana could do it, why not Davy Crockett? And there are, in fact, reports that he gave the grand hailing sign and was spared.
Old newspaper articles exist which claim Crockett survived. One in particular from an April, 1836 edition of the Cincinnati Whig reports, "Colonel Crockett not yet dead," with the paper saying it is "much gratified in being able to inform readers that Colonel Crockett, the hero and patriot is not yet dead. This cheering news is brought by a gentleman now in this city from Texas." The article goes on to give details of Crockett's wounds and medical treatment. It says he received a severe blow from a tomahawk, and was shot in his left arm and one of his thighs. It also reports he is "doing well."
The main theory about what followed the Alamo says Brother Crockett eventually went to Winston County, Alabama. There, in 1859, a land grant was issued to a man named David Crockett. The document itself is signed by both David Crockett and President James Buchanan.
The story begs the question as to why Crockett would survive the Alamo, not return home, and more or less keep it a secret that he was alive. Jason Scott, who now owns the land, speculates Crockett had fought Andrew Jackson, president at the time of the Alamo, over the Indian Removal Act – which is true – and for some reason wanted to "lay low," using the Alamo as the perfect cover for his death, then resurfacing at the age of 73, fourteen years after Jackson died. The story clearly leaves a few gaps which Scott explains away by claiming, "Crockett just wanted to be left alone and go hunting."
Scott also claims Crockett was buried on the property, that bones were discovered, scientifically confirmed to be human, and then returned to their resting place. Ground penetrating radar on the property has turned up nothing.
In effect, the evidence that Crockett survived the Alamo is scant. It becomes more questionable when comparing the signature on the land grant to known Crockett signatures. It does not take a handwriting expert to quickly see they are not the same.
On the other hand, there are several eyewitnesses from the Alamo who gave an account of Crockett's death, or identified his body after the battle. Among the most notable of these is that of Susanna Dickinson, the wife of one of the Texans killed, who said she saw Crockett's body along with what she called his "peculiar hat," outside the chapel. Francisco Antonio Ruiz, mayor of San Antonio, whom Santa Anna ordered to identify bodies, corroborated her story. Other reports, differ, saying Crockett was captured and executed.
So the debate over the years from legitimate historians has not been whether Davy Crockett died at the Alamo, but how he died. It is a virtual certainty that he did not survive; and it may not be as important how he died as the fact that of his own volition, he stayed and fought for what he believed in.