Jim Bowie esfaqueia um banqueiro da Louisiana com sua famosa faca

Jim Bowie esfaqueia um banqueiro da Louisiana com sua famosa faca

Depois de um duelo se transformar em uma briga total em 19 de setembro de 1827, Jim Bowie estripou um banqueiro em Alexandria, Louisiana, com uma versão inicial de sua famosa faca Bowie. O verdadeiro inventor da faca Bowie, no entanto, provavelmente não foi Jim Bowie, mas sim seu irmão igualmente beligerante, Rezin Bowie, que supostamente criou o design depois de quase ser morto em uma violenta luta de faca.

Os irmãos Bowie se envolveram em mais lutas do que o típico homem da fronteira da época, mas esses duelos violentos não eram eventos incomuns nas margens indomadas da civilização americana. No início do século XIX, a maioria dos homens da fronteira preferia as facas aos revólveres para lutar, e a faca Bowie rapidamente se tornou uma das favoritas. Rezin Bowie inventou uma arma de aparência tão desagradável que a simples visão dela provavelmente desencorajou muitos supostos ladrões e atacantes.

Os desenhos variavam um pouco, mas a faca Bowie típica exibia uma lâmina de 9 a 15 polegadas afiada apenas em um lado em grande parte de seu comprimento, embora a ponta curva fosse pontiaguda em ambos os lados. A ponta de dois gumes tornava a faca uma arma eficaz para esfaquear, enquanto o gume cego combinado com uma proteção de mão de latão permitia ao usuário deslizar a mão sobre a lâmina conforme necessário. A faca perfeita para combates corpo-a-corpo, a faca Bowie tornou-se a arma escolhida por muitos ocidentais antes que o confiável revólver de disparo rápido ocupasse seu lugar no período pós-Guerra Civil.


Faca bowie

UMA Faca bowie (/ ˈ b uː i / BOO -ee [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]) [a] é um padrão de faca de combate de lâmina fixa criada por James Black no início do século 19 para Jim Bowie, que se tornou famoso por usar uma grande faca em um duelo conhecido como Sandbar Fight.

Desde a primeira encarnação, a faca Bowie passou a incorporar várias características de design reconhecíveis e características, embora no uso comum o termo se refira a qualquer faca de bainha grande com uma proteção cruzada e uma ponta de grampo. [9] O padrão de faca ainda é popular entre colecionadores, além de várias empresas de fabricação de facas, existem centenas de fabricantes de facas customizadas que produzem facas Bowie com diferentes tipos de aço e variações.


Conteúdo

De acordo com seu irmão mais velho, John, James Bowie nasceu no Condado de Logan, Kentucky, em 10 de março de 1796 (Marco histórico: 36 ° 46 '25 "N 86 ° 42' 10" W). [5] O historiador Raymond Thorp em 1948 deu a data de nascimento de Bowie como 10 de abril, mas não a sustentou com nenhuma documentação. [6] O sobrenome de Bowie foi pronunciado / ˈ b uː i / BOO -ee. [1] [2] [3] [7] (Alguns trabalhos de referência referem-se a uma pronúncia alternativa incorreta / ˈ b oʊ i / BOH -ee [7] [8] [9] ).

Bowie foi o nono de dez filhos de Reason (ou Rezin) e Elve Ap-Catesby (nascida Jones ou Johns) Bowie. [10] Seu pai era descendente de escoceses e sua mãe era de ascendência galesa. Seu pai foi ferido enquanto lutava na Guerra Revolucionária Americana. Em 1782 ele se casou com Elve, a jovem que o cuidou até recuperar a saúde. Os Bowies primeiro se estabeleceram na Geórgia e depois se mudaram para o Kentucky.

Na época do nascimento de Bowie, seu pai possuía oito escravos afro-americanos, onze cabeças de gado, sete cavalos e um garanhão. No ano seguinte, a família adquiriu 200 acres (80 ha) ao longo do Rio Vermelho. Eles venderam aquela propriedade em 1800 e se mudaram para o que hoje é o Missouri. Em 1802, eles se mudaram para o sul, para a Louisiana espanhola, onde se estabeleceram em Bushley Bayou, no que logo se tornou a paróquia de Rapides. [11] [12] [13]

A família mudou-se novamente em 1809, estabelecendo-se em Bayou Teche na Louisiana antes de encontrar um lar permanente em Opelousas em 1812. [14] Criados na fronteira, os filhos Bowie trabalharam desde tenra idade, ajudando a limpar a terra e plantar e cultivar. Todas as crianças aprenderam a ler e escrever em inglês, mas James e seu irmão mais velho Rezin também sabiam ler, escrever e falar espanhol e francês fluentemente. [15] As crianças aprenderam a sobreviver na fronteira, variando de como pescar, açougueiro e administrar uma fazenda e plantação. James Bowie tornou-se proficiente com pistola, rifle e faca, [16] e tinha uma reputação de destemido. Quando ele era menino, um de seus amigos nativos americanos o ensinou a amarrar crocodilos. [17]

Em resposta ao apelo do general Andrew Jackson por voluntários para lutar contra os britânicos na Guerra de 1812, James e Rezin se alistaram na milícia da Louisiana no final de 1814. Os irmãos Bowie chegaram a Nova Orleans tarde demais para participar da luta. [18] Depois de sair da milícia, Bowie se estabeleceu na paróquia de Rapides. [12] [19] Ele se sustentava serrando pranchas e madeira serrada, e flutuando no rio para vender. [12] [20] Em junho de 1819, ele se juntou à Longa Expedição, um esforço para libertar o Texas do domínio espanhol. [21] [22] O grupo encontrou pouca resistência e, após capturar Nacogdoches, declarou o Texas uma república independente. A extensão da participação de Bowie não é clara, mas ele retornou à Louisiana antes que a invasão fosse repelida pelas tropas espanholas. [23] [24]

Pouco antes de o Bowie sênior morrer por volta de 1820, ele deu dez escravos, cavalos e gado para James e Rezin. Nos sete anos seguintes, os irmãos trabalharam juntos para desenvolver várias grandes propriedades na paróquia de Lafourche e Opelousas. [20] A população da Louisiana estava crescendo rapidamente e os irmãos esperavam tirar proveito do aumento dos preços das terras por meio da especulação. Sem o capital necessário para comprar grandes extensões, [25] eles firmaram uma parceria com o pirata Jean Lafitte em 1818 para arrecadar dinheiro. Naquela época, os Estados Unidos haviam proibido a importação de escravos da África. A maioria dos estados do sul deu incentivos para informar sobre um traficante ilegal de escravos, os informantes poderiam receber como recompensa metade do que os escravos importados ganhariam no leilão.

Bowie fez três viagens ao complexo de Lafitte na Ilha de Galveston. Em cada ocasião, ele comprava escravos contrabandeados e os levava diretamente para uma alfândega para informar sobre suas próprias ações. Quando os oficiais da alfândega ofereceram os escravos em leilão, Bowie os comprou e recebeu de volta a metade do preço que havia pago, conforme permitido pelas leis estaduais. Ele poderia transportar legalmente os escravos e revendê-los por um valor de mercado maior em Nova Orleans ou áreas mais acima no rio Mississippi. [26] [27] Usando este esquema, os irmãos coletaram $ 65.000 para usar em sua especulação de terras. [27] [28]

Em 1825, os dois irmãos juntaram-se ao irmão mais novo, Stephen, para comprar a Acádia Plantation perto de Thibodaux. Em dois anos, eles estabeleceram ali o primeiro moinho a vapor da Louisiana para moer cana-de-açúcar. [12] [20] [29] A plantação tornou-se conhecida como operação modelo, mas em 12 de fevereiro de 1831, eles a venderam e 65 escravos por $ 90.000. Com seus lucros, James e Rezin compraram uma plantação em Arkansas. [20]

Bowie e seu irmão John estiveram envolvidos em um importante caso no tribunal do Arkansas no final da década de 1820 por causa da especulação imobiliária. Quando os Estados Unidos compraram o Território da Louisiana em 1803, eles prometeram honrar todas as reivindicações anteriores de concessão de terras feitas aos colonos franceses e espanhóis. Nos 20 anos seguintes, esforços foram feitos para estabelecer quem era o proprietário de cada terra. Em maio de 1824, o Congresso autorizou os tribunais superiores de cada território a ouvir os processos daqueles que alegaram ter sido esquecidos.

O Tribunal Superior de Arkansas recebeu 126 reclamações no final de 1827 de residentes que alegaram ter comprado terras em antigas concessões espanholas dos irmãos Bowie. Embora o Tribunal Superior tenha originalmente confirmado a maioria dessas reivindicações, as decisões foram revertidas em fevereiro de 1831 depois que pesquisas adicionais mostraram que a terra nunca havia pertencido aos Bowies e que a documentação original da concessão de terras havia sido falsificada. A Suprema Corte dos EUA manteve a reversão em 1833. [30] [31] Quando os compradores descontentes consideraram processar os Bowies, eles descobriram que os documentos do caso haviam sido removidos do tribunal e deixados sem evidências, eles se recusaram a prosseguir com o caso. [32]

Bowie se tornou internacionalmente famoso como resultado de uma rivalidade com Norris Wright, o xerife de Rapides Parish. Bowie apoiou o oponente de Wright na corrida para xerife, e Wright, um diretor de banco, foi fundamental para recusar um pedido de empréstimo de Bowie. [33] Após um confronto em Alexandria uma tarde, Wright atirou em Bowie, após o qual Bowie resolveu carregar sua faca de caça o tempo todo. [34] A faca que ele carregava tinha uma lâmina de 9,25 polegadas (23,5 cm) de comprimento e 1,5 polegadas (3,8 cm) de largura. [35]

No ano seguinte, em 19 de setembro de 1827, Bowie e Wright participaram de um duelo em um banco de areia fora de Natchez, Mississippi. Bowie apoiou o duelista Samuel Levi Wells III, enquanto Wright apoiou o oponente de Wells, Dr. Thomas Harris Maddox. Os duelistas dispararam dois tiros cada um e, como nenhum dos dois se feriu, resolveram o duelo com um aperto de mão. [36] [37] Outros membros dos grupos, que tinham várias razões para não gostarem uns dos outros, começaram a lutar. Bowie foi baleado no quadril depois de se levantar, ele sacou uma faca, descrita como uma faca de açougueiro, e atacou seu agressor, que atingiu Bowie na cabeça com sua pistola vazia, quebrando a pistola e jogando Bowie no chão. Wright atirou e não acertou Bowie, que respondeu ao fogo e possivelmente atingiu Wright. Wright desembainhou a bengala da espada e empalou Bowie. Quando Wright tentou recuperar sua lâmina, colocando o pé no peito de Bowie e puxando, Bowie o puxou para baixo e estripou Wright com sua grande faca. [38] [39] Wright morreu instantaneamente. Bowie, com a espada de Wright ainda projetando-se de seu peito, foi baleado novamente e esfaqueado por outro membro do grupo. Os médicos que estiveram presentes no duelo removeram as balas e remendaram as outras feridas de Bowie. [40]

Os jornais pegaram a história e a chamaram de Luta no Sandbar, descrevendo em detalhes as proezas de luta de Bowie e sua faca incomum. Relatos de testemunhas concordam que Bowie não atacou primeiro, e os outros concentraram seu ataque em Bowie porque "eles o consideravam o homem mais perigoso entre a oposição". [41] A reputação de Bowie no sul foi definida como um excelente lutador de faca. [29]

Os estudiosos discordam se a faca de Bowie usada nessa luta era a mesma que agora é conhecida como faca Bowie, fabricada por um fabricante de facas em Arkansas que criou outra lâmina grande conhecida como palito de dente de Arkansas. Existem vários relatos de quem projetou e fabricou a primeira faca Bowie. Alguns afirmam que Bowie o projetou, enquanto outros atribuem o design a famosos fabricantes de facas da época. [42] No entanto, em uma carta para O defensor do plantador, Seu irmão Rezin Bowie afirmou ter desenhado a faca. [43] Muitos membros da família Bowie, bem como "a maioria das autoridades sobre a faca Bowie tendem a acreditar que ela foi inventada por" Rezin. [44] Os netos de Rezin Bowie, no entanto, disseram que Rezin supervisionou seu ferreiro, que foi o designer da faca. [45]

Após a Luta no Sandbar e subsequentes batalhas nas quais Bowie usou sua faca em autodefesa, a faca Bowie se tornou muito popular. Muitos artesãos e fabricantes fizeram suas próprias versões, e as principais cidades do Velho Sudoeste tinham "escolas de faca Bowie" que ensinavam "a arte de cortar, empurrar e aparar". [46] Sua fama e a de sua faca se espalharam pela Grã-Bretanha. No início da década de 1830, muitos fabricantes britânicos estavam produzindo facas Bowie para remessa aos Estados Unidos. [47] O desenho da faca continuou a evoluir, mas uma faca Bowie é agora geralmente considerada como tendo uma lâmina de 8,25 polegadas (21,0 cm) de comprimento e 1,25 polegadas (3,2 cm) de largura, com uma ponta curva, um "corte de ponta falsa afiada de ambos os lados ", e uma guarda cruzada para proteger as mãos do usuário. [48]

Em 1828, após se recuperar de um ferimento no Sandbar Fight, Bowie decidiu se mudar para Coahuila y Texas, então um estado da federação mexicana. [49] A Constituição de 1824 do México proibiu outras religiões além do catolicismo romano e deu preferência aos cidadãos mexicanos no recebimento de terras. [50] Bowie foi batizado na fé católica romana em San Antonio em 28 de abril de 1828, patrocinado pelo alcalde (administrador principal) da cidade, Juan Martín de Veramendi, e sua esposa, Josefa Navarro. [51] Pelos próximos 18 meses, Bowie viajou pela Louisiana e Mississippi. Em 1829, ele ficou noivo de Cecilia Wells. Mas ela morreu em Alexandria, em 29 de setembro, duas semanas antes do casamento. [29] [52]

Em 1º de janeiro de 1830, Bowie deixou Louisiana para residência permanente no Texas. Ele parou em Nacogdoches, na fazenda de Jared E. Groce no rio Brazos e em San Felipe, onde Bowie apresentou uma carta de apresentação a Stephen F. Austin de Thomas F. McKinney, um dos antigos trezentos colonos. Em 20 de fevereiro, Bowie fez um juramento de lealdade ao México e dirigiu-se a San Antonio de Bexar. [29] Na época, a cidade era conhecida como Bexar e tinha uma população de 2.500 habitantes, a maioria descendentes de mexicanos. A fluência de Bowie em espanhol o ajudou a se estabelecer na área. [53]

Bowie foi eleito comandante, com a patente de coronel, do Texas Rangers no final daquele ano. [54] Embora os Rangers não fossem organizados oficialmente até 1835, Stephen F. Austin fundou o grupo empregando 30 homens para manter a paz e proteger os colonos de ataques de índios hostis. Outras áreas reuniram milícias de voluntários semelhantes e Bowie comandou um grupo de voluntários. [55]

Bowie renunciou à cidadania americana e tornou-se cidadão mexicano em 30 de setembro de 1830, após prometer estabelecer fábricas têxteis no estado de Coahuila y Tejas. [55] Para cumprir sua promessa, Bowie fez uma parceria com a Veramendi para construir fábricas de algodão e lã em Saltillo. [56] Com sua cidadania assegurada, Bowie tinha o direito de comprar até 11 léguas de terras públicas. Ele convenceu 14 ou 15 outros cidadãos a se candidatarem a terras e transferi-las para ele, dando-lhe 700.000 acres (280.000 ha) para especulação. Bowie pode ter sido o primeiro a induzir os colonos a se inscreverem para empresário concessões, que poderiam ser vendidas a granel para especuladores, como Bowie fizera. [56] [57] O governo mexicano aprovou leis em 1834 e 1835 que interrompeu grande parte da especulação imobiliária. [58]

Em 25 de abril de 1831, Bowie casou-se com Maria Ursula de Veramendi, de dezenove anos, filha de seu sócio, que havia se tornado vice-governador da província. Vários dias antes da cerimônia, ele assinou um contrato de dote prometendo pagar à sua noiva 15.000 pesos (aproximadamente US $ 15.000 na época, ou US $ 365.000 hoje [59]) em dinheiro ou bens dentro de dois anos após o casamento. Na época, Bowie afirmou ter um patrimônio líquido de $ 223.000 ($ 5.420.000 hoje), principalmente em terras de título questionável. Bowie também mentiu sobre sua idade, alegando ter 30 em vez de 35. [60]

O casal construiu uma casa em San Antonio, em um terreno que Veramendi havia dado a eles perto da Missão San José. Depois de pouco tempo, porém, eles se mudaram para o Palácio Veramendi, morando com os pais de Ursula, que lhes forneciam dinheiro para despesas. [61] O casal teve dois filhos, Marie Elve (nascida em 20 de março de 1832) e James Veramendi Bowie (nascida em 18 de julho de 1833). [62]

Maria Ursula, seus pais e ambos os filhos morreram em setembro de 1833 de uma epidemia de cólera que varreu o Sul e ao longo de grandes cursos de água. [29]

Pouco depois de seu casamento, Bowie ficou fascinado com a história da "perdida" Mina Los Almagres (também conhecida como Mina San Saba e Mina Bowie perdida), que se dizia estar a noroeste de San Antonio, perto das ruínas da Missão Santa Espanhola Cruz de San Saba. [35] Segundo a lenda, a mina havia sido operada por índios locais antes de ser apreendida pelos espanhóis. Depois que o México conquistou a independência da Espanha, o interesse do governo no potencial de mineração diminuiu. Vários grupos nativos vagaram pela área, incluindo Comanche, Lipan Apache, Tawakoni e Tonkawa. Sem as tropas do governo para manter os nativos hostis à distância, a mineração e a exploração mineral eram impossíveis. Alguns acreditam que depois que os cidadãos mexicanos deixaram a área, os Lipan assumiram o controle da mina. [62]

Depois de obter permissão do governo mexicano para montar uma expedição ao território indiano em busca da lendária mina de prata, Bowie, seu irmão Rezin e dez outros partiram para San Saba em 2 de novembro de 1831. A seis milhas (10 km) de Objetivo, o grupo parou para negociar com um grande grupo de invasores de índios - supostamente mais de 120 Tawakoni e Waco, além de outros 40 Caddo. As tentativas de negociação falharam, e Bowie e seu grupo lutaram por suas vidas nas 13 horas seguintes. Quando os índios finalmente recuaram, Bowie teria perdido apenas um homem, enquanto mais de 40 índios foram mortos e 30 ficaram feridos. [28] [35] [63] Nesse ínterim, um grupo de Comanches amigáveis ​​cavalgou para San Antonio trazendo a notícia do grupo de invasão, que superava a expedição Bowie por 14 para 1. Os cidadãos de San Antonio acreditavam nos membros do Bowie expedição deve ter morrido, e Ursula Bowie começou a usar ervas daninhas de viúva. [64]

Para a surpresa da cidade, os membros sobreviventes do grupo voltaram a San Antonio em 6 de dezembro. [64] O relatório de Bowie sobre a expedição, escrito em espanhol, foi publicado em vários jornais, estabelecendo ainda mais sua reputação. [65] Ele partiu novamente com uma força maior no mês seguinte, mas voltou para casa de mãos vazias após dois meses e meio de busca. [29]

Bowie nunca falou de suas façanhas, apesar de sua crescente fama. [66] O capitão William Y. Lacey, que passou oito meses vivendo no deserto com Bowie, o descreveu como um homem humilde que nunca usou palavrões ou vulgaridades. [67]

Rumores texanos

Entre 1830 e 1832, o Congresso mexicano aprovou uma série de leis que pareciam discriminar os colonos anglo na província de Coahuila y Tejas, aumentando a tensão entre os cidadãos anglo e as autoridades mexicanas. Em resposta aos rumores, as tropas mexicanas estabeleceram postos militares em vários locais da província, incluindo San Antonio de Béxar. [68] [69] Embora grande parte dos militares apoiassem a administração do presidente Anastasio Bustamante, Antonio López de Santa Anna liderou uma insurreição contra ele em 1832. [70] Os colonos anglo no Texas apoiaram Santa Anna e o general José Antonio Mexía, que o liderou soldados para o Texas para expulsar comandantes leais a Bustamante. [71]

Depois de ouvir que o comandante do exército mexicano em Nacogdoches, José de las Piedras, havia exigido que todos os residentes em sua área entregassem suas armas, Bowie interrompeu uma visita a Natchez em julho de 1832 para retornar ao Texas. [29] Em 2 de agosto de 1832, ele se juntou a um grupo de outros texanos e marchou para Nacogdoches para "apresentar suas demandas" a Piedras. [68] Antes de o grupo chegar ao prédio que abrigava os funcionários da cidade, eles foram atacados por uma força de 100 cavaleiros mexicanos. Os texanos responderam ao fogo e a batalha de Nacogdoches começou. Depois que a cavalaria recuou, eles iniciaram um cerco à guarnição. [68] Após uma segunda batalha, na qual Piedras perdeu 33 homens, o exército mexicano evacuou durante a noite. Bowie e 18 companheiros emboscaram o exército em fuga e, após a fuga de Piedras, os soldados marcharam de volta para Nacogdoches. [29] Bowie mais tarde serviu como delegado à Convenção de 1833, que solicitou formalmente que o Texas se tornasse seu próprio estado dentro da federação mexicana. [72]

Vários meses depois, uma epidemia de cólera atingiu o Texas. Temendo que a doença atingisse San Antonio, Bowie enviou sua esposa grávida e sua filha para a propriedade da família em Monclova, na companhia de seus pais e irmão. Em vez disso, a epidemia de cólera atingiu Monclova e, entre 6 e 14 de setembro, Ursula, seus filhos, seu irmão e seus pais morreram da doença. Bowie, a negócios em Natchez, soube da morte de sua família em novembro. A partir de então, ele bebeu muito e tornou-se "descuidado com o modo de vestir". [72]

No ano seguinte, o governo mexicano aprovou novas leis permitindo a venda de terras no Texas, e Bowie voltou à especulação imobiliária. Ele foi nomeado comissário de terras e encarregado de promover o assentamento na área adquirida por John T. Mason. Sua nomeação terminou em maio de 1835, quando o presidente Antonio López de Santa Anna aboliu o governo de Coahuila y Tejas e ordenou a prisão de todos os texanos (incluindo Bowie) que faziam negócios em Monclova. Bowie foi forçado a fugir de Monclova e retornar às áreas Anglo do Texas. [29]

Os Anglos no Texas começaram a agitar pela guerra contra Santa Anna, e Bowie trabalhou com William B. Travis, o líder do Partido da Guerra, para obter apoio. Bowie visitou várias aldeias indígenas no leste do Texas na tentativa de persuadir as tribos relutantes a lutar contra o governo mexicano. Santa Anna respondeu aos rumores ordenando um grande número de tropas mexicanas ao Texas. [29]

Batalha de Concepción

A Revolução do Texas começou em 2 de outubro de 1835, com a Batalha de Gonzales. Stephen F. Austin formou um exército de 500 homens para marchar sobre as forças mexicanas em San Antonio com o canhão que precipitou a luta. O nome "Exército Texano" às vezes é aplicado a essa milícia. Em 22 de outubro, Austin pediu a Bowie, agora um coronel da milícia voluntária, e a James W. Fannin para explorar a área ao redor das missões de San Francisco de la Espada e San José e San Miguel de Aguayo para encontrar suprimentos para as forças voluntárias. [73] O grupo de reconhecimento partiu com 92 homens, muitos deles membros dos New Orleans Greys que tinham acabado de chegar ao Texas. Depois de descobrir uma boa posição defensiva perto da Missão Concepción, o grupo solicitou que o exército de Austin se juntasse a eles. [74]

Na manhã nublada de 28 de outubro, o general mexicano Domingo Ugartechea liderou uma força de 300 soldados de infantaria e cavalaria e dois pequenos canhões contra as forças texanas. [75] [76] Embora o exército mexicano tenha conseguido chegar a 200 jardas (183 m), a posição defensiva texana os protegeu do fogo. Quando os mexicanos pararam para recarregar seus canhões, os texanos escalaram um penhasco e mataram alguns dos soldados. O impasse terminou logo depois que Bowie liderou um ataque para apreender um dos canhões mexicanos, na época a apenas 73 metros de distância. Ugartechea recuou com suas tropas, terminando a Batalha de Concepción. Um texano e dez soldados mexicanos foram mortos. [75] Um dos homens sob o comando de Bowie durante a batalha mais tarde elogiou-o "como um líder nato, nunca desnecessariamente gastando uma bala ou colocando uma vida em perigo, que repetidamente admoestava. Mantenham-se protegidos, rapazes, e reservem seu fogo, não temos um homem de sobra. " [77]

Grass Fight e dificuldades de comissão

Uma hora depois do fim da batalha, Austin chegou com o resto do exército texano para iniciar um cerco a San Antonio de Béxar, onde o general Martín Perfecto de Cós, comandante geral das forças mexicanas no Texas, e suas tropas estavam guarnecidos. [78] Dois dias depois, Bowie renunciou ao exército de Austin porque não tinha uma comissão oficial no exército e não gostava das "tarefas menores de reconhecimento e espionagem". [79]

Em 3 de novembro de 1835, o Texas declarou-se um estado independente, e um governo provisório foi formado com Henry Smith de Brazoria eleito governador provisório. Austin pediu para ser dispensado do comando do exército e Sam Houston foi nomeado chefe do exército. Edward Burleson foi escolhido como comandante temporário das tropas em San Antonio. Bowie apareceu perante o conselho em algum momento e falou por uma hora, pedindo uma comissão. [80] O conselho recusou o pedido de Bowie, provavelmente devido à persistente animosidade sobre suas negociações de terras. [81]

Houston ofereceu a Bowie uma comissão como oficial de sua equipe, mas Bowie rejeitou a oportunidade, explicando que queria estar no meio da luta. [81] Em vez disso, Bowie se alistou no exército como um soldado sob o comando de Fannin. [29] [79] Ele se distinguiu novamente no Grass Fight em 26 de novembro. Cós havia enviado aproximadamente 187 homens para cortar grama para seus cavalos. [82] Quando eles voltaram para San Antonio, Bowie levou 60 homens montados para interceptar o grupo, [83] que eles acreditavam transportar uma carga valiosa. [82] As tropas mexicanas aceleraram o passo na esperança de alcançar a segurança da cidade, mas Bowie e sua cavalaria os perseguiram. No final da luta, os texanos tinham dois homens feridos, mas capturaram muitos cavalos e mulas. [83]

Pouco depois de Bowie deixar San Antonio, Ben Milam liderou um ataque à cidade. Na luta que se seguiu, os texanos sofreram apenas algumas baixas, incluindo Miliam, enquanto o exército mexicano perdeu muitas tropas por morte e deserção. Cós se rendeu e voltou ao México, levando consigo as últimas tropas mexicanas no Texas. Acreditando que a guerra havia acabado, muitos dos voluntários texanos deixaram o exército e voltaram para suas famílias. [84] No início de janeiro de 1836, Bowie foi a San Felipe e pediu ao conselho que lhe permitisse recrutar um regimento. Ele foi rejeitado novamente porque "não era um oficial do governo nem do exército". [85]

Batalha do Alamo

Depois que Houston recebeu a notícia de que Santa Anna estava liderando uma grande força para San Antonio, Bowie se ofereceu para liderar voluntários para defender o Alamo do ataque esperado. Ele chegou com 30 homens em 19 de janeiro, [86] onde encontraram uma força de 104 homens com algumas armas e alguns canhões, mas não muitos suprimentos e pouca pólvora. [87] Houston sabia que não havia homens suficientes para segurar o forte em um ataque e deu a Bowie autoridade para remover a artilharia e explodir a fortificação. Bowie e o comandante do Alamo, James C. Neill, decidiram que não tinham bois suficientes para mover a artilharia e não queriam destruir a fortaleza. Em 26 de janeiro, um dos homens de Bowie, James Bonham, organizou um comício que aprovou uma resolução a favor da manutenção do Álamo. Bonham assinou a resolução primeiro, com a assinatura de Bowie em segundo lugar. [88]

Por meio das conexões de Bowie por causa de seu casamento e sua fluência em espanhol, a população predominantemente mexicana de San Antonio frequentemente lhe fornecia informações sobre os movimentos do exército mexicano. Depois de saber que Santa Anna tinha 4.500 soldados e estava indo para a cidade, [88] Bowie escreveu várias cartas ao governo provisório pedindo ajuda na defesa do Álamo, especialmente "homens, dinheiro, rifles e pólvora de canhão". [89] Em outra carta, ao governador Smith, ele reiterou sua visão de que "a salvação do Texas depende em grande medida de manter Béxar fora das mãos do inimigo. Ele serve como guarda do piquete da fronteira, e se estivesse no posse de Santa Anna, não há fortaleza da qual repeli-lo em sua marcha em direção ao Sabine. " [89] A carta para Smith terminava: "O coronel Neill e eu chegamos à resolução solene de que preferimos morrer nestas valas do que entregá-lo ao inimigo." [89]

Em 3 de fevereiro, Davy Crockett apareceu com trinta tennesseanos. Neill saiu de licença em 11 de fevereiro para visitar sua família doente, deixando Travis, um membro do exército regular, no comando. [90] Bowie era mais velho do que Travis com uma reputação melhor e se considerava um coronel, superando assim Travis, um tenente-coronel. [91] [92] Ele se recusou a responder a Travis, que convocou uma eleição para que os homens escolhessem seu próprio comandante. Eles escolheram Bowie, enfurecendo Travis. [91] Bowie comemorou sua nomeação ficando muito bêbado e causando estragos em San Antonio, libertando todos os prisioneiros nas prisões locais e perseguindo os cidadãos. Travis ficou enojado, mas dois dias depois os homens concordaram em um comando conjunto que Bowie comandaria os voluntários, e Travis comandaria o exército regular e a cavalaria voluntária. [29] [91]

Em 23 de fevereiro, os sinos de San Fernando soaram o alarme da aproximação dos mexicanos. Travis ordenou que todas as forças texanas entrassem no Álamo. [93] [94] Bowie se apressou em reunir provisões e pastorear o gado no complexo de Alamo. [95] Temendo pela segurança dos parentes de sua esposa em San Antonio, Bowie convidou seus primos Getrudis Navarro e Juana Navarro Alsbury, bem como o filho de 18 meses de Alsbury, Alijo Perez Jr., para ficarem dentro das muralhas do Álamo . [96] Bowie também trouxe vários criados negros, alguns dos quais trabalhavam no Palácio Veramendi, para a segurança da fortaleza de Álamo. [97] [98] Bowie estava doente e dois médicos, incluindo o cirurgião do forte, não conseguiram diagnosticar sua doença. [89] Travis se tornou o único comandante das forças quando Bowie foi confinado à cama. [99] Santa Anna e seu exército começaram um cerco ao Álamo em 24 de fevereiro. O exército mexicano ergueu uma bandeira vermelha para alertar os defensores de que não haveria quartel. [100]

Bowie e Travis começaram a enviar mensageiros com pedidos de provisões e assistência. [101] Travis enviou Juan Seguin no cavalo de Bowie, para recrutar reforços em 25 de fevereiro, e 32 homens adicionais chegaram. [102] [103] Em 26 de fevereiro, Crockett relatou que Bowie, embora sofrendo de sua aflição, continuou a rastejar de sua cama por volta do meio-dia todos os dias e se apresentou aos habitantes do Álamo, o que elevou muito o moral de seus camaradas. [104] Trinta e cinco anos após a queda do Álamo, um repórter identificou Louis "Moses" Rose como o único homem a "desertar" as forças texanas no Álamo. De acordo com a versão do repórter do relato de Rose, quando Travis percebeu que o exército mexicano provavelmente prevaleceria, ele traçou uma linha na areia e pediu aos que estivessem dispostos a morrer pela causa que cruzassem a linha. A pedido de Bowie, Crockett e vários outros carregaram o berço sobre a linha, deixando Rose sozinha do outro lado. [105] Após sua publicação, várias outras testemunhas oculares confirmaram o relato, [106] [107] mas como Rose estava falecida, a história só pode ser autenticada pela palavra do repórter, que admitiu ter embelezado outros artigos "e, portanto, muitos historiadores recuse-se a acreditar. " [107]

Bowie morreu com o resto dos defensores do Álamo em 6 de março, quando os mexicanos atacaram. [29] A maioria dos não combatentes no forte, incluindo os parentes de Bowie, sobreviveram. [108] Santa Anna ordenou que o alcalde de San Antonio, Francisco Antonio Ruiz, confirmasse as identidades de Bowie, Travis e Crockett. [109] Depois de ordenar que Bowie fosse enterrado, já que ele era um homem muito corajoso para ser queimado como um cachorro, [110] Santa Anna mais tarde colocou o corpo de Bowie com os dos outros texanos na pira funerária. [109]

Quando a mãe de Bowie foi informada de sua morte, ela afirmou calmamente: "Aposto que nenhum ferimento foi encontrado em suas costas." [111] Várias testemunhas oculares da batalha deram relatos conflitantes sobre a morte de Bowie. Um artigo de jornal afirmou que um soldado mexicano viu Bowie carregado de seu quarto em seu berço, vivo, após o término da batalha. O soldado afirmou que Bowie castigou um oficial mexicano em espanhol fluente, e o oficial ordenou que a língua de Bowie fosse cortada e seu corpo que ainda respirava fosse jogado na pira funerária. Esse relato foi contestado por várias outras testemunhas e acredita-se que tenha sido inventado pelo repórter. [112] Outras testemunhas afirmaram que viram vários soldados mexicanos entrarem no quarto de Bowie, aplicá-lo com a baioneta e carregá-lo, vivo, para fora do quarto. [113] Várias outras histórias circularam, com algumas testemunhas afirmando que Bowie atirou em si mesmo e outros dizendo que ele foi morto por soldados enquanto estava fraco demais para levantar a cabeça. [114] Alcalde Ruiz said that Bowie was found "dead in his bed." [114] According to Wallace O Chariton, the "most popular, and probably the most accurate" [4] version is that Bowie died on his cot, "back braced against the wall, and using his pistols and his famous knife." [114] One year after the battle, Juan Seguin returned to the Alamo and gathered the remaining ashes from the funeral pyre. He placed these in a coffin inscribed with the names of Bowie, Travis, and Crockett. The ashes were interred at the Cathedral of San Fernando. [115]

Despite his continual pronouncements of wealth, Bowie's estate was found to be very small. His possessions were auctioned for only $99.50. [116] His larger legacy is his position as "one of the legendary characters of the American frontier." [22] Bowie left a "frustratingly sparse paper trail" of his life, and for many "where history failed, the legends prevailed." [117] Although Bowie's name and knife were well known during his lifetime, his legend grew after October 1852, when Avaliação de DeBow published an article written by his brother John Jones Bowie called, "Early Life in the Southwest—The Bowies." The article focused primarily on the exploits of Jim Bowie. [118] Beginning with that article, "romanticized stories" about Bowie began appearing in national press. [117] In many cases, "these stories were pure melodrama, with Bowie rescuing some naïve planter's son or damsel in distress." [117]

Jim Bowie was inducted posthumously into the Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame at the 1988 Blade Show in Atlanta, Georgia, in recognition of the impact that his eponymous design made upon generations of knife makers and cutlery companies. [119]

A number of films have depicted the events of the Battle of the Alamo, [120] and Bowie has appeared as a character in each.

From 1956 to 1958, Bowie was the subject of a CBS television series, The Adventures of Jim Bowie, which was primarily set in 1830s Louisiana, although later episodes ventured into the Mexican province of Texas. [121] The show, which starred Scott Forbes as Jim Bowie, was based on the 1946 novel Tempered Blade. [122]

Rock star David Bowie, who was born David Robert Hayward-Jones, adopted the folk legend's surname. Jones changed his last name in the 1960s because he feared confusion with Davy Jones, a member of the already famous The Monkees. He chose the Bowie eponym because he admired James Bowie and the Bowie knife, although his pronunciation uses the BOH -ee ( / ˈ b oʊ i / ) variant. [123]

Bowie County in northeast Texas, and the city of Bowie in Montague County, Texas, were both named in honor of James Bowie. James Bowie Elementary in Corsicana, Texas was also named in his honor.


Coffee with the Hermit

One name comes to mind very quickly when we talk about weapons of the old west. Jim Bowie.

What made Bowie famous was his well known knife and Bowie's willingness to put it to use. They both developed quite a reputation, both good and bad!


After a duel turns into an all-out brawl on this day in 1827, Jim Bowie disembowels a banker in Alexandria, Louisiana, with an early version of his famous Bowie knife. The actual inventor of the Bowie knife, however, was probably not Jim Bowie, but rather his equally belligerent brother, Rezin Bowie, who reportedly came up with the design after nearly being killed in a vicious knife fight.

The Bowie brothers engaged in more fights than the typical frontiersman of the day, but such violent duels were not uncommon events on the untamed margins of American civilization. In the early nineteenth century, most frontiersmen preferred knives to guns for fighting, and the Bowie knife quickly became one of the favorites. Rezin Bowie had invented such a nasty looking weapon that the mere sight of it probably discouraged many would-be robbers and attackers. Designs varied somewhat, but the typical Bowie knife sported a 9- to 15- inch blade sharpened only on one side for much of its length, though the curved tip was sharpened to a point on both sides. The double-edged tip made the knife an effective stabbing weapon, while the dull-edge combined with a brass hand guard allowed the user to slide a hand down over the blade as needed. The perfect knife for close-quarter fighting, the Bowie knife became the weapon of choice for many westerners before the reliable rapid-fire revolver took its place in the post-Civil War period.

Good or bad, the name Jim Bowie will likely be well known for many years to come as a legend in the stories of the Old West.

Coffee on the patio again today. Won't be long before we'll be forced inside because of the 'skeeters.

4 comments:

I will always remember Jim Bowie from the old Westerns on TV. His name is synonymous with The West. That knife would scare the bejesus out of me. I'll be happy to join you before the "skeeters" carry me off.

Hey Linda.
I think that the knife was designed as much for intimidation as anything else. The Army is spraying for the nasty 'skeeters almost daily, so maybe they won't get too bad.
Thanks for stopping by this morning!

So Jim Bowie wasn't such a hero? That knife sounds pretty bad I always thought it was for him to fight off bear.

Hey Jo.
The knife wasn't for bear, but for people. Seemed to work just fine for that, too!
Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!


The Bowie Knife Lives On

No one knows what happened to Bowie’s knife. Most likely, it was picked up by one of the men who killed him and either taken back to Mexico or lost or re-swiped at the Battle of San Jacinto, at which Santa Ana’s army was defeated.

This was the “real” Bowie. Probably it was a big knife, with a heavy blade of 10 inches, give or take a few. It probably had a concave false edge, sharpened, and twin quillons. It was a weapon, not a tool, and copies of it became enormously popular in the South and on the frontier. The demand became so great that England’s Sheffield cutlers became a major supplier of Bowies we know of at least 40 manufacturers. There were an additional 40 American firms making them, and some smaller cutlers such as Will & Finck in San Francisco and Searles in Baton Rouge who produced very fine Bowies.

And there were untold thousands turned out by blacksmiths. These were big, crude, and heavy. Confederate soldiers loved to be photographed with colossal Bowies stuck in their belts, but I think mostly this was for the camera. Of all the wounds inflicted in the Civil War, .04 percent were caused by edged weapons, and this includes swords and bayonets. I suspect that bayonetting a Yank or hacking him to death was just a little too grim for all but the most dedicated Rebs.

Also, a Bowie was not useful except as a weapon, and if you were a Secesh infantryman making 30-mile marches at 4 miles per hour, day after day, with not enough to eat, the last thing you needed was 3 pounds of occasionally useful steel stuck in your belt.

After the Civil War ended and the cartridge-firing revolver ascended, the Bowie in its original form became a relic. But it continues to thrive. The Ka-Bar, which is a much-scaled down Bowie, has been in the inventory of our armed forces since 1943. It’s a tool first and a weapon second. The Randall Model 1 All Purpose Fighting Knife has been around the exact same amount of time and served in every war we’ve been in. It, too, is a Bowie.

Collectors love Bowies. If you go to the website of Arizona Custom Knives, which is the biggest purveyor of such, you can see all manner of Bowies from all manner of smiths. There are plain ones and fancy ones, big ones and little ones, ugly ones and graceful ones. All are, I’m certain, of far higher quality than anything Jim Bowie carried or dreamed of.

If you’d like to own one, I suggest the Western Cutlery Model W49, which is that (now defunct) company’s big Bowie. It’s an excellent knife. There are a lot of them around, and some can be had quite cheaply. The Marine Raiders issued it to their members as the V49 during World War II, and Robert Redford carries one in Jeremiah Johnson. From there on, the sky is the limit. If you’d like a Bowie from the legendary smiths Bill Moran, or D.E. Henry, you’ll need to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

Bowie, by today’s standards, was not an admirable guy, and if Cancel Culture ever finds out about him, he’s done for. But if you admire courage, no one had more. And no one questioned his…and lived.


Jim Bowie

T he name Jim Bowie often evokes images of a large, fierce hunting knife and a desperate battle for Texas freedom at the Alamo. Although he was branded a hero by Texas history, Bowie actually spent most of his life in Louisiana. In the Bayou State, records affirm that Bowie’s aspirations were routinely pursued through forgery, bribery, perjury, and intimidation. Partnering with the pirate Jean Laffite, he ran a contraband slave-smuggling operation, and his illegal land schemes created chaos for land-hungry settlers. In this regard, Jim Bowie can be considered an extreme example of the many ambitious but unscrupulous men of his time and place.

James “Jim” Bowie was born in the spring of 1796 (reported dates vary) in Logan County, Kentucky, to Reason Pleasant Bowie and Elve Ap-Catesby Jones Bowie. His father was of Scottish descent his mother, Welsh. Reason, always seeking frontier opportunities, crossed the Mississippi River in 1800 and settled his family in southeastern Missouri. In 1803, while Thomas Jefferson was working out the details of the Louisiana Purchase, the elder Bowie obtained a Spanish grant of eight hundred arpents—one arpent equals approximately 192 feet—along Bushley Bayou in Catahoula Parish, about thirty miles west of Natchez, Mississippi. There, in this wilderness setting, Jim spent much of his early boyhood alongside his brothers John, Stephen, and Rezin. The family moved once again in 1809 to St. Landry Parish near Opelousas, where they farmed and raised livestock using slaves.

Until British invasion threatened New Orleans, the War of 1812 barely impacted most Louisianans, but the sudden menace resulted in a flurry of enlistments that included Bowie and his brother Rezin. However, on the very day of their enlistment into the Second Division Louisiana Militia, January 8, 1815, Gen. Andrew Jackson repelled the British near New Orleans, effectively ending the war. Disappointed with missing the action, nineteen-year-old James struck out on his own later that same year along Bayou Boeuf in Avoyelles Parish, where he purchased land and slaves on credit and began cutting virgin timber and floating it to downstream markets.

The Schemes

Bowie’s adult behavior revealed an ambitious opportunist who did not permit matters of honesty and moral conduct to stand in the way of personal gain. Congress had abolished the African slave trade in 1808, but expanding agriculture in the Deep South created a greater demand for labor than could be met with domestic slaves. The result was a surge in slave runners, including the mercurial French privateer Jean Laffite. From his headquarters on the Texas coast just west of the Sabine River, Laffite sold his pirated contraband to Bowie, who devised a plan to smuggle them into the Louisiana interior. He then claimed to have captured the illegals and turned them over to authorities for a reward. As per the law, officials then sold the slaves at auction, and Bowie bought them back for resale—this time with a legal title. Dozens of slaves were involved, and Bowie accrued considerable profits during the two years he ran this scheme.
Bowie’s most ambitious ploys stemmed from the chaotic state of Spanish land grants and land titles following the Louisiana Purchase. Compounding the problem, most of the Spanish records had been moved out of the country. Bowie saw an opportunity and began to personally forge Spanish land grants of prime properties in several parts of the state. He then boldly manufactured deeds of sale of the grants to himself. The scale of the ruse was astounding, as he claimed up to 80,000 acres in Louisiana and almost as much again in Arkansas. Bowie’s claims were immediately suspect when he attempted to formally register them, but his conniving and political influences kept the matter alive throughout the 1820s. He was even able to sell some of the counterfeit titles and reap a profit before the scheme eventually collapsed.

The Sandbar Fight

Bowie’s corrupt business practices earned him many enemies in a culture where a slight often ended in a deadly duel. One disagreement involving Rapides Parish sheriff and banker Norris Wright resulted in Wright shooting Bowie point-blank with a pistol. Poorly armed at the time, Bowie survived the deflected shot but vowed to never again be without a large knife in his belt. Accordingly, the legend of the Bowie knife was born, and the stage was set for a gruesome encounter. On September 19, 1827, on a Mississippi River sandbar near Natchez, Bowie was present at a duel between Dr. Thomas Maddox and Samuel Wells III. No one was injured when the principals exchanged shots. The affair seemed over until members of their entourages became embroiled in a melee. Alexander Crain shot Gen. Samuel Cuny. Wright shot Bowie through the lower chest. George McWhorter shot Wright in the side, causing a flesh wound. Bowie drew his famous knife and attempted to chase Wright, but was shot in the thigh by another gunman. Wright and Alfred Blanchard stabbed Bowie with sword canes. In a desperate lunge, Bowie grasped Wright by the collar and thrust his long knife into his enemy’s chest, killing him instantly. The violence ended abruptly, and attending physicians rushed to treat the injured. Cuny and Wright were dead, and Bowie’s recovery took months. A grand jury was convened afterward but handed down no indictments. The brawl made national news and enhanced Bowie’s notoriety.

By the end of the 1820s, Bowie’s land schemes were crumbling on all fronts, and there was an increasing chance he would be held legally accountable. At the same time, his sugar plantation in Lafourche Parish, where he and his brothers attempted to establish the state’s first steam-powered sugar mill, was facing financial ruin. Having made several brief trips to Texas in recent years, Bowie sensed the region held new opportunities and reprieve from his longstanding troubles. In early 1831, he sold most of his remaining assets and moved to the tumultuous, Mexican-owned territory of Texas.

Bowie’s history in Texas continued the drama of his early life. Once again, he became involved in land schemes and shifting politics. He married Ursula de Veramendi, from an affluent Mexican family, on April 25, 1831, only to lose her to cholera two years later. He fought both Indians and Mexican soldiers while trying to force his way into a position of wealth and prominence. His life—along with the lives of 187 other men—ended on March 6, 1836, in defending the Alamo for a new republic of Texas. In spite of his past indiscretions, most of which took place in Louisiana, Bowie lived his final hours as a hero.

Autor

Suggested Reading

Davis, William, C. Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis. New York: HarperCollins, 1998.

Lindley, Thomas R. Alamo Traces: New Evidence and New Conclusions. Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade Publications, 2003.

Roberts, Randy, and James S. Olson. A Line in the Sand: The Alamo in Blood and Memory. New York: Free Press, 2002.


The Legend of the Bowie Knife

I copied this from my website as I thought our readers here might enjoy it. I have always been fascinated by my favorite style of knife, the Bowie knife, and the history of it.

No knife in history has gained as much notoriety or has been the source of more myths and speculation than the Bowie knife. The modern Bowie is my favorite style of knife but what we call a Bowie knife today bears little resemblance to the original.

The Bowie knife came to fame through a bloody fight in Louisiana in 1827 which became known as the "sandbar fight".

Colonel James Bowie (1796-1836) was a famous soldier, land speculator, slave trader, gambler and, some say, a con man.

James (or Jim) was in a fight in 1826 where a sheriff name Norris Wright fired at James at point blank range but the bullet was deflected and James survived the encounter.

After the fight, James' brother, Rezin Bowie, gave James a large knife for protection in the event he would ever find himself in a similar situation. Understand that in those days people carried single shot pistols that were very unreliable and prone to misfires. The revolver did not become widely available until after 1836.

On September 19, 1827, James was involved in the famous Sandbar Fight near Natchez. There was a duel between Samuel Levi Wells III and Dr. Thomas Maddox. Both men fired at each other and both shots missed. They reloaded and fired again. Again they both missed. They decided that their honor had been satisfied. They shook hands and began to leave when others who were present began to argue and fight.

Alexander Crain shot Samuel Cuny and then James fired at Crain but missed. Jim Bowie's old nemeses from the previous year, Norris Wright, shot Bowie in the chest and James drew his knife and chased after Wright. The Blanchard brothers shot Bowie in the leg and when James fell, Wright and Alfred Blanchard stabbed him several times with sword canes and knives.

Laying on the ground with a sword sticking in his chest, James plunged his knife into Wright's chest killing him and then slashed Blanchard severely. All the witnesses remembered Bowie's "big butcher knife". Even though Bowie had been shot twice and stabbed several times, he recovered and went on to a number of ventures before dying along with 187 other defenders during the fall of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas on March 6, 1836.

The famous fight was reported in newspapers around the country and the legend of Jim Bowie and his Bowie knife was born. People everywhere wanted a Bowie knife and countless versions of various sizes and styles were made by countless cutlers and blacksmiths.

Word of the famous knife spread to England and cutlery companies in Sheffield were quick to supply the sought after Bowie knives. Thousands were made and sent to the United States.

Nobody really knows for sure what the original Bowie knife looked like but it is pretty certain that what has become known as the Bowie knife today bears little resemblance to the original. The famous knife has been redesigned over the years and was popularized again in 1952 in the Hollywood movie "The Iron Mistress". There have been numerous books, movies and TV shows about James Bowie and his famous namesake knife. Today almost any knife with a blade more than a few inches long and a clip point is often called a Bowie knife.

Many believe the original Bowie knife was made by an Arkansas blacksmith name James Black but this has never been authenticated and it has largely been debunked as a manufactured legend. James Black was a silversmith who moved from Pennsylvania to Arkansas sometime AFTER the first bowies were made. The first claim for him having made a bowie knife was published in 1841, 14 years after the sandbar fight. One knife in particular which has become known as "Bowie No. 1" is claimed to have been made by Black.

However, other experts believe this knife was made in Ohio in the mid 1800s. Black supposedly did not mark his knives with a makers mark and no known knives today can be definitely traced to James Black.

The original Bowie knife was actually designed and commissioned to be made by James Bowie's older brother Rezin Bowie and given to James so that he would never again be caught unarmed. In a letter written by Rezin in 1838 he wrote “The first Bowie knife was made by myself in the parish of Avoyelles, in this state (Louisiana), as a hunting knife, for which purpose, exclusively, it was used for many years”. Rezin went on to describe the knife "The length of the blade was nine and one-quarters inches, its width one and one-half inches, single edged and not curved". The is very different from the modern Bowie knives seen today but does sound like the knife witnesses of the sandbar fight described as "a large butcher knife".

In a recently discovered letter written in 1885, Rezin's granddaughter, Mrs. Eugene Soniat, wrote “This instrument, which was never intended for ought but a hunting knife, was made of an old file in the plantation blacksmith shop of my grandfather’s Bayou Boeuf plantation, the maker was a hired white man named Jesse Clift [sic], he afterwards went to Texas. My mother, Mrs. Jos. H. Moore, then a little girl, went to the shop with her father, heard his directions, and saw Clift make the knife.

Jesse Cifft was a blacksmith living on Bayou Boeuf in Louisiana and was a close friend and neighbor of the Bowies in the 1820s. On April 10, 1827 James Bowie went to Marksville, LA to conduct a business transaction with William Hargrove. A document defining the transaction was written by Herzehian Dunham, the Notary Public in and for the parish of Avoyelles, and was signed by the principals and by witnesses Jesse Cifft and Caiaphas K. Ham. This document serves as further proof that Clifft and Rezin were together at the right place and at the right time.

The knife that Clifft made to Rezin's specifications was later given to James Bowie by Rezin and was very likely the knife that James used in the sandbar fight six months later near Natchez, Mississippi on September 19, 1827.

In the months and years following the sandbar fight, newspapers and novels far and wide regaled the story of the now famous sandbar fight and the legend of Jim Bowie and the Bowie knife were born. It has been said that Jim Bowie did not seek publicity or celebrity but Rezin relished it and basked in the spotlight of his famous brother. As Rezin traveled around the country he had more "Bowie" knives made by various craftsmen. He sometimes presented these knives to friends as special gifts.

It is known that Daniel Searles of Baton Rouge LA, Rees Fitzpatrick of MS, and Henry Schively Jr of Philadelphia made knives for Rezin Bowie. Some were inscribed presentation knives with fancy silver fittings and others were plain. Some of these knives have been authenticated and are in collections today. It is likely that Rezin had others made, maybe by someone in nearly every town he visited at any length. Each maker would have imparted his own style and interpretation to the knife and perhaps Rezin even refined the design himself. The "Bowie" knife could actually be several different knives by different makers.

One of the knives made by Searles was claimed to have been given to Edwin Forrest, a nationally famous actor of the time. Forrest claimed that is was given to him by Jim Bowie and claimed it to be the very knife used at the sandbar fight. There are no markings or inscriptions on the knife and it was not known until many years after James and Rezins deaths so so there is some doubt about the authenticity of the knife. Its blade is twelve inches long with a very slight clip point.

It is noticeable that the Forrest Bowie, as with the Fitzpatrick, Schively and other authenticated Bowies of the period, had no cross guard or clip point as we see in modern "Bowies". It is not known when or where these features first appeared but it is likely that they were additions made by the Sheffield knives imported in the 1830s-1840s. The knives used in the movies and TV shows of the 1950s popularized the modern style of Bowie we usually see today.

Whatever the true facts were and whatever the original knife looked like, the Bowie knife has become a part of American folklore and is one of the most famous knives of all time. Untold numbers of Bowie knives have been made and sold over the last 180 years. Nearly every knifemaker has made one and most collectors of fixed blade knives have at least one in their collection. For that reason, the Bowie knife deserves his spot in knife history as one of the most famous and often copied knives in the world.


Talk Like a Texan: The Pronunciation of Bowie Knife, Jim Bowie, and David Bowie

A pronunciation investigation involving two Bowie men known for living large.

How do you, as a Texan, say the name Bowie? Does it rhyme with Louie, or snowy? Or do you say it differently depending on if you are talking about the Alamo hero, or the British rock star?

According to a dialect survey from Joshua Katz&rsquos North Carolina State University, Texans are among the only Americans to still rhyme Bowie with gooey, though the portion of us who do appears to be shrinking as Ziggy Stardust&rsquos fame eclipses that of Texas&rsquos own James.

With Alamo season upon us, let&rsquos take a look back at Jim Bowie, the knife he made famous, and how he inspired the name of a transcendent English rock star.

It&rsquos safe to say that no blade is more acutely identified with Texas than the Bowie knife. James Bowie sported it on his hip dating back to his swashbuckling days as a land hustler in Arkansas and Louisiana, years before he came to Texas and cemented his national reputation through his death at the Alamo.

The origins of the Bowie knife, also known as an &ldquoArkansas toothpick,&rdquo are obscure and hotly contested. But it is generally agreed that if Bowie did not invent it, he did make it famous, even if there&rsquos a possibility that he didn&rsquot even wield one in his sole experience in a knife fight.

That would be the Sandbar Fight in 1827, a sort of precursor in violent American lore to the Shootout at the O.K. Corral that occurred near Natchez, Mississippi. A pistol duel between two men devolved into a deadly no-holds-barred brawl on a tiny island in the Mississippi River. It involved about a dozen of the duelers&rsquo partisans, two of whom were killed and two more of whom were badly wounded. Bowie was among the wounded, and in fact, his refusal to die in that fight was downright Rasputinesque. He was bonked once over the head with a heavy pistol, shot through a thigh and a lung, and stabbed at least seven times, but managed somehow to fatally stick one of his assailants with a long knife that his brother Rezin had given him for self-protection.

As colorful details of the fight traveled from papers in nearby Natchez to Philadelphia and New York to audiences overseas, the myth of Jim Bowie, knife-fighting frontier folk hero, was born. So was a new form of knife: the long-bladed, curve-pointed, double-edged knife equipped with a hand-protective cross-guard. Historians still debate who invented it&mdashmost claim it was Rezin Bowie, maybe supervising an anonymous blacksmith, or perhaps it was the work of an Arkansas smith named James Black. But as Bowie biographer William C. Davis says, its invention is immaterial, as is whether the knife he used in the Sandbar Fight actually looked like the type given his name. After that day, James Bowie was irrevocably tied to the Bowie knife.

After the brawl, the Bowie knife took on a life of its own. Those knives were something like the assault rifles of their times: popular and controversial. In an age when pistols were unreliable and hard to reload, it was the ideal weapon for close combat &mdash portable, reliable, easy to use repetitively, and very lethal. It was a full-on craze accompanied by much bloodshed, and several Old South states banned them in the years after the fight.

According to the Texas State Historical Association, between the 1830s and the Civil War, Bowie knife-fighting dojos popped up all over the frontier, from Mississippi and Arkansas to Texas. o Red River Herald of Natchitoches, Louisiana, reported, &ldquoAll the steel in [this] country it seemed was immediately converted into Bowie knives.&rdquo British steel companies recognized the opportunity and flooded the American market with knives, some of whose blades were etched with bloodthirsty, patriotic slogans like &ldquoPatriot&rsquos Self Defender,&rdquo &ldquoDeath to Abolition,&rdquo &ldquoDeath to Traitors,&rdquo &ldquoAmericans Never Surrender,&rdquo and, according to the Texas State Historical Association, even the purely sociopathic declaration &ldquoI&rsquom A Real Ripper.&rdquo A Mississippi newspaper took inspiration from the craze by naming itself The Bowie Knife, with the motto, &ldquoYou touch, and we pierce.&rdquo

Over a century later, similar words were spoken by an Englishman born David Robert Jones. &ldquoThe name Bowie just appealed to me when I was younger,&rdquo David Bowie once said to William Burroughs, Beat Generation cult writer (and one-time Texan pot farmer). &ldquoI was into a kind of heavy philosophy thing when I was sixteen years old, and I wanted a truism about cutting through the lies and all that.&rdquo

Two years later, Bowie told Pessoas that he settled on the name because it was &ldquothe ultimate American knife,&rdquo and claimed that the persona it created in him was &ldquothe medium for a conglomerate of statements and illusions. I have no confidence in David Jones as a public figure.&rdquo

Bowie&rsquos homage wasn&rsquot the only Alamo fandom from across the pond. John Wayne&rsquos 1960 film and Jim Bowie, a 1950s TV show, spurred an Alamo craze in early 1960s Britain. Phil Collins has a singular obsession with the place. The Rolling Stones draped themselves in Confederate and U.K. flags before it on a 1975 tour. Donovan, once billed as &ldquothe British Bob Dylan,&rdquo wrote a song called &ldquoRemember the Alamo&rdquo (in which he pronounces James Bowie&rsquos name in the &ldquosnowy&rdquo manner). And, of course, there was Ozzy Osbourne&rsquos fiasco of drunken stupidity.

When the singer adopted the Alamo fighter&rsquos name, he pronounced it &ldquoBow-ey,&rdquo to rhyme with &ldquoshowy.&rdquo This is confusingly verified by the fact that he named his son Zowie Bowie, but pronounced that first name as &ldquoZo&rdquo rather than &ldquoZow-ee.&rdquo

Even so, half of England pronounced his stage name as if rhymed with &ldquowow-ee.&rdquo It was enough to befuddle even David himself.

In 2000, a BBC interviewer asked him if he felt more like &ldquoBowie [pronounced like &lsquowow-ee&rsquo] or as David Jones, the boy from South London?&rdquo

&ldquoLess and less as Bowie [like &lsquoboh-ee&rsquo], Bowie [like &lsquowow-ee&rsquo], Bowie [like &lsquoboo-ee&rsquo] &ndash I don&rsquot even know how to pronounce it any more, I&rsquove lost track,&rdquo he replied. &ldquoI always thought it was &lsquoboh-ee,&rsquo I thought it&rsquos a Scottish name, it must be &lsquoboh-ee,&rsquo but no-one in Scotland pronounces it like that, they pronounce it &lsquoboo-ee&rsquo I think.&rdquo

Indeed they do, as in the Scottish liqueur Drambuie. &ldquoDram&rdquo means drink in Scottish Gaelic, and &ldquoBuie&rdquo (rhymes with gooey) is a variant on buidhe, the same root word that gives us the surname Bowie. According to company legend, the honeyed and herbed Scotch whiskey-based liqueur&rsquos name means &ldquothe drink that satisfies,&rdquo so in that sense, with &ldquodram&rdquo meaning drink, &ldquobuie&rdquo must mean satisfaction. According to the surname history for the name Bowie, that same root word means &ldquofair-haired&rdquo (which describes both Bowies, James and David).

Today, there are scant similarities between the singer and the American folk hero, beyond a propensity to live large. (There is no evidence of a decade of cocaine use from James Bowie, but he was known to sample more than a dram or five at one sitting, and loved to gamble.) The Texan Bowie is viewed by some as an imperialist conqueror, and it is universally acknowledged that he was not just a slave-owner, but also a slave smuggler, a profession seen as distasteful even in the Antebellum South. That&rsquos a far cry from David Bowie, bisexual and androgynous creator of anthems that resonated most strongly with theater kids (and theater kids at heart) on both sides of the Atlantic.

But there is one last big picture quality they had in common: they were both as edgy in their own way as the knife James gave his name to and from which David took his. That&rsquos true no matter how you slice the name &ldquoBowie&rdquo&mdashwhich we Texans, who can now legally own Bowie knives again after last year&rsquos House Bill 1935, pronounce right.


History of the Bowie Knife

The first knife Bowie became famous with was allegedly designed by his brother Rezin in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana and smithed by blacksmith Jesse Cleft out of an old file. Period court documents do indicate that Rezin Bowie and Cleft were well acquainted with one another. Rezin's grandaughter claimed in an 1885 letter to Louisiana State University that she personally witnessed Cleft make the knife for her grandfather.

This knife became famous as the knife used by Bowie at the Sandbar Fight, which was the famous 1827 duel between Bowie and several men, including a Major Norris Wright of Alexandria, Louisiana. The fight took place on a sandbar in the Mississippi River across from Natchez, Mississippi. In this battle Bowie was stabbed, shot, and beaten half to death but managed to win the fight.

Jim Bowie's older brother John claimed that the knife at the Sandbar Fight was not Cleft's knife, but a knife specifically made for Bowie by a blacksmith named Snowden.

James Black's Bowie Knife

The most famous version of the Bowie knife was designed by Jim Bowie and presented to Arkansas blacksmith James Black in the form of a carved wooden model in December of 1830. Black produced the knife ordered by Bowie, and at the same time created another based on Bowie's original design but with a sharpened edge on the curved top edge of the blade. Black offered Bowie his choice and Bowie chose the modified version. Knives like that one, with a blade shaped like that of the Bowie knife, but with half or more of the back edge sharpened, are today called "Sheffield Bowie" knives, because this blade shape became so popular that cutlery factories in Sheffield, England were mass-producing such knives for export to the US by 1850, usually with a handle made from either hardwood, stag horn, or bone, and sometimes with a guard and other fittings of sterling silver.

Bowie returned, with his knife, to Texas and was involved in a knife fight with three men who had been hired to kill him. Bowie killed the three erstwhile assassins with his new knife and the fame of the knife was established. Legend holds that one man was almost decapitated, the second was disemboweled, and the third had his skull split open. Bowie died at the Battle of the Alamo five years later and both he and his knife became immensely famous. The fate of the original Bowie knife is unknown, however a knife bearing the engraving "Bowie No. 1" has been acquired by the Historic Arkansas Museum from a Texas collector and has been attributed to Black through scientific analysis.

Black soon did a booming business making and selling these knives out of his Washington, Arkansas shop. Black continued to refine his technique and improve the quality of the knife as he went. In 1839, Black was nearly blinded by an attacker and was no longer able to continue in his trade.

Black's knives were known to be exceedingly tough, yet flexible, and his technique has not been duplicated. Black kept his technique secret and did all of his work behind a leather curtain. Many claim that Black rediscovered the secret to producing true Damascus steel.

In 1870 at the age of 70, Black attempted to pass on his secret to the son of the family that had cared for him in his old age, Daniel Webster Jones. But Black had been retired for many years and found that he himself had forgotten the secret. The only thing Black could remember was that ten separate steps were involved. Jones would later become Governor of Arkansas.

Other Bowie Knives

Over the years many knives have been called Bowie knives and the term has almost become a generic term for any large sheath knife. During the early days of the American Civil War Confederate soldiers carried immense knives called D-Guard Bowie knives. Many of these knives could have qualified as short swords and were often made at home from old saw or scythe blades.

The Bowie knife is sometimes confused with the "Arkansas toothpick". The toothpick is essentially a heavy dagger with a straight 15-25 inch blade. The toothpick is balanced and weighted for throwing and can also be used for thrusting and slashing. James Black is also credited with inventing the "Arkansas Toothpick" but no firm evidence exists for this claim.

In recent years the Bowie style knife has sometimes been referred to as the Buck knife, for the Buck Knife Company.


JIM BOWIE

I thought I would continue the Bowie thread here since it is getting rediculously long, and I have some questions. We apparently have several people that know a considerable amount about bowies, and I'm definitely not one of them, so here are my questions:

What was the size of the original Bowie?

What ended up being the most common size, thereafter?

I noticed that the Smithsonian Randall Bowie is 3/8 inch thick. Was this typical bowie knife thickness?

What was the orignal style bowie most like? Bagwell, Cold Steel, Randal? etc.

I'm trying to understand the bowie styles a little better.

FullerH

I have decided not to let others put down my interests. I have felt and tried the balance of the Randall Smithsonian Bowie. It may not be the ultimate, I have not felt the balance of a Bagwell blade, but it is surprisingly well balanced and fast. Sort of like a well balanced broadsword, if you follow me. The knife may not be historical, but it is a dead-on copy of the "Iron Mistress" blade that was also used in the Jim Bowie tv show and, I believe, in John Wayne's film "The Alamo". All of these are a part of my youth and what got me interested in knives, so I still yearn for one. I may actually get one one day. Right now, I am looking into the Bart Moore Bowie that Mr. Fisk put me onto. As I said before, this knife was reputedly carried out of the Alamo by a Mexican officer and there are some other indications that it may have been Jim's knife. It is a most impressive weapon and, forged or not, a fascinating piece. Another form of Bowie is the Searle Bowie. G.D. Searle was a knifesmith in Baton Rouge, LA, and made a number of knives in a pattern of the Mediterranean Dagger, a sort of butcher knife shape. Dixie Gun Works has one, the stud sheath being extra, that is a very good replica. I would be careful of the Bowies, including a Searle Bowie, sold by Atlanta Cutlery, if what I have heard of the quality of their swords is true. In any case, Rezin Bowie, Jim's brother liked the Searle Bowies and, apparently gave them to friends as gifts. I have read that the knife that Jim carried at the Sandbar Fight was a Searle Bowie.

Lightninjoe

Very interesting! As a San Antonio native, I have seen the original Bowie many times at the Alamo. It is displayed under glass for all to see and it is AWSOME. I can't tell you any specifics abou the knife, but I can tell you that it is not pretty in the usual sense. What does strike you though, is the thought of how many people he fought with it and how many Mexican soldiers he killed with it. The Alamo is, of course, a shrine so you can't take pictures inside except on Texas Independence Day( PeeWee be damned) but you might find some on the web.
Joe "I Say Secede. " Rosenthal

National Living Treasure & Subject Matter Expert

Cobalto
The knife that James Bowie was handed at the sandbar duel was a butcher knife made on the farm by their blacksmith Snowden.

The Bowies, James and Rezin had several "Bowie" knives made for them to be presented to various people. A couple of these would be Shively and Searles. Both of these are essitenialy straight backed with some degrees of differences.
While traveling to Arkansas James stopped in Washington Arkansas and had James Black make a bowie for him. This one and two others made by Black are documented and two of the knives are on exhibit at the ATR/American Bladesmith Society Hall of Fame and Museum. The big one approx 12inch blade has the name "Bowie #1" engraved on the side plate. It is a coffin handle with the oddity of the handle being placed what looks like upside down. The Bart Moore bowie believed by some people to also belong to Bowie is also on exhibit there. I have played with each of these knives and all have good balance and good w
orkmanship. The designs are much different. As to what big knife he had at the alamo when he fell we will never know. It is acknowledged that he did have one knife with him for sure. The knife was stolen from the Alamo in the 1940's. The sheath remains. It is approx. 6 inches long and apears to be of English orgin. My guess was that is was one of the little silver handled bowies to preform light duties with.
The Searles is on exhibit at the Alamo. They let me play with that as well as the little sheath. The Searles is on exhibit because that is the only knife they have that they can tie to the Bowie family. There are several Searles bowies out there as well as a number of fakes. All of the Searles have very good workmanship.
It is generally accepted that "The Bowie" was generally 9 inches to 9 1/2" long in blade length. When Shieffield got into the act of making bowies and sending them over here they got to making the blades longer and with many logos etched on the sides of the blade to attract clients. Much as makers do today. By the time the civil got here and finished the bowies had gotten smaller. Most bowies made after the war are much smaller. A lot of 6 inch blades etc. A few large ones were still put out.
Most of the bowies were not thick in the spine. I have seen only a few that were measured at 3/8" thick. The Iron Mistress was made for a movie even though people think of it as historical. I have handled that knife as well it is also 3/8" thick. Most of the ones I have handled were 1/4" or less in spine thickness.
During the late 30's and through the 40's the blades were at that largest size and most popular. Even the collectors of today that collect the old bowies give more for the bowies from this time period.
The term bowie knife came to be associated with any large knife. It did not even have to have a clip on it. I have seen as many bowies with a false edge as I have with a sharpened top edge. Probally a bit more with the false edge. There are literaly hundreds of bowie patterns out there from the last century. Hundreds more varations from modern makers. I have access to two of the orginial blue print books from the Joesph Rogers Co. that was in Shiefield and they show several hundred themselves.
My standard bowie I make is from a Noah Smithwick style. He as an old Texas Ranger. However I do get up the occasional orginial style that I like since there are hundreds to choose from.
The ones claiming fame to being the one he had when he died is the Musso Bowie, The Bart Moore Bowie and the Bowie #1. The Edwin Forrest bowie is also claiming to be an orginial owned by bowie. Of these all the Bowie #1 is the only one I agree with being owned by bowie. No telling what he died with in his hand.
The only man that we can be sure of he killed with a knife is at the sandbar duel. They have not been able to prove any others.
This is all my opinion. There may be better sources that this out here.
On april 30 we are having a James Bowie/Bowie knife symposium at the ABS knife shool. I should learn more then.
We are also having our annual spring cutting competetion. That should be a hoot. This spring it is Camp knife or Bowie knife, their chose. I have some new things for them to try. Hope this helped some. If not I can try and scratch my head again.
Sorry for all of the bad spelling. Eu estava doente no dia em que eles tinham ortografia na escola primária. fisk

Tesouro vivo nacional e especialista no assunto

Cobalto

Fuller, eu vi o Smithsonian e é uma lâmina incrível. Você nem mesmo precisa de nitidez. Sem corte, ainda causaria danos a qualquer coisa à sua frente. Eu gosto disso

Jerry, há tantos estilos de bowie flutuando por aí, que eu nunca fui capaz de definir o estilo original. Por exemplo, sempre achei que o estilo semelhante ao do Ontario marine raider bowie era o estilo típico. Mas pelo que você mencionou, o estilo pareceria estar mais próximo da amante da batalha de Busse. Menciono esses bowies, porque é o que tenho visto.

Isso significa que os bowies Bagwell e Blackcloud são basicamente um bowie de combate avançado e modernizado, e não derivados do original?

Além disso, 9 a 10 polegadas parece um tamanho de lâmina realmente bom para mim, mas sempre aqui as pessoas dizem que os originais eram muito maiores, perto de lâminas de 12 polegadas. No entanto, o bowie típico feito hoje tem cerca de 9-10 polegadas de comprimento de lâmina.


60 anos Atrás

Neste dia, em 1957, os Estados Unidos detonam uma arma nuclear de 1,7 quiloton em um túnel subterrâneo no local de testes de Nevada (NTS), um centro de pesquisa de 1.375 milhas quadradas localizado 65 milhas ao norte de Las Vegas. O teste, conhecido como Rainier, foi a primeira detonação subterrânea totalmente contida e não produziu precipitação radioativa. Uma ogiva W-25 modificada pesando 218 libras e medindo 25,7 polegadas de diâmetro e 17,4 polegadas de comprimento foi usada para o teste. Rainier fez parte de uma série de 29 armas nucleares e testes de segurança de armas nucleares conhecidos como Operação Plumbbob que foram conduzidos no NTS entre 28 de maio de 1957 e 7 de outubro de 1957.


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