In the Footsteps of Davy Crockett
By Randell Jones, John F. Blair Publisher, Winston Salem, N.C., paper, $15.95.
Col. Crockett traveled far and often and he is shadowed here by a North Carolina outdoorsman who assesses the impact that the King of the Wild Frontier had at all his waystops. One of those sojourns was at Little Rock in 1835, on his way to the Alamo, and Randell Jones details all the festivities at the big banquet and reception at the Jeffries Hotel. William Woodruff wrote that “hundreds flocked to see the wonderful man, who, it is said, can whip his weight in wild-cats, or grin the largest panther out of the highest tree.” People then loved such corn. Davy also made a stop in Washington in Southwest Arkansas, an important place then, and might have picked himself up a Bowie knife there. An entertaining and seemingly reliable handbook.
A Very Small Farm
By William Paul Winchester, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, paper, $12.95.
The author is a botanist who decided to make a career as a small farmer on 20 acres of old prairie in Oklahoma. He has a cow and some chickens and he keeps bees. The apples in his orchard are Arkansas Blacks. He keeps a diary -– not a dairy now -– and lets us see some of the entries, which resemble Jefferson’s in their minutae. He keeps accounts like Thoreau’s, watching nickels. He passes along favorite recipes. He’s not a philosopher and he doesn’t romanticize but this guy knows some things worth knowing and he writes of them earnestly and without artifice. He’s worth checking out.