The Rise of the Great American Folk Hero

Illustration of Davy Crockett killing a bear, circa 1800s. Source: (Photo by Fotosearch/Getty Images).

Without radio and television to keep them entertained, people of the 1800s told stories. And like the telephone game we all played as kids, each person retelling a story added their own embellishments to it. Most of these stories had to do with brave, independent men and women – some real, some fictional -- who were able to conquer their unknown and dangerous surroundings using only their wit and brawn. Over time, some of the better-loved folk characters became part of our culture and stories and tales about them grew. Let’s take a look at a few of our favorite American folk heroes.