The Peg-Legged Politician

Continuing to go back and update my earlier books, I’ve decided to publish a second edition of The Peg-Legged Politician: The Life of Adam Huntsman. It was one of what I call my “Kinko’s books” that I had copied and bound at Kinko’s Copies in Nashville, TN in 1996. I really didn’t promote it and only make a few copies, primarily for the Tennessee Room at the Jackson-Madison County Public Library and the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Now twelve years later, I’d like to fix it up a bit, add some new information, and publish it as a perfect bound, paperback book.

Who was Adam Huntsman, you may ask? Most Tennesseans know that David Crockett (not Davy of the Walt Disney films) made his fateful journey to Texas, the Alamo, and glory after losing his Congressional seat in 1835. He lost to a clever and talented lawyer and politician named Adam Huntsman, who gave the Democratic Party a bit of revenge against their former ally. He wore a wooden prosthesis for the leg he lost, supposedly in the Creek War or the War of 1812, that only added to his colorful character. It also earned him such complimentary nicknames as “Peg-leg” and “Timber Toe.”

Adam Huntsman could be every bit the storyteller and prankster that Crockett was for the voters, but he was also a skillful composer of satirical articles for the newspapers that entertained and drew others to his point of view. His “Book of Chronicles, West of the Tennessee and East of the Mississippi” was perhaps his best work and was credited by David Crockett himself for his defeat in the 1831 Congressional election. It was written like prose from the Holy Bible and told the story of David, who belonged “to the tribe of Tennessee, which lay upon the border of the Mississippi and over against Kentucky” and “was chosen by the people in the river country, to go with the wise men of the tribe of Tennessee to the grand Sanhedrim held yearly…at the city of Washington.” But David was led astray by “wicked men sons of Beleal, to wit: the Claytonites, the Holmesites, the Burghesities, the Everettities, the Chiltonites, and the Baronites…who hated Andrew [who was “chief ruler over the children of Columbia”].”

(Of course Andrew was President Andrew Jackson, the Claytonites were Senator Henry Clay and his supporters, and the “grand Sanhedrim” was Congress.)

Politics was the chief form of entertainment for the people of the frontier and Adam Huntsman made it all the more fun and entertaining for the people of Madison County and West Tennessee. I’ll have some more to say about ol’ Adam as time goes by. I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with him this year.

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