military officer, Alamo Defender, Hero ; born in Logan county, Kentucky,
Bowie was once described by his brother
as "a stout, rather raw-boned man, of six feet height, 180 pounds in
weight." He had light-colored hair, keen grey eyes "rather deep set in
his head," a fair complexion, and high cheek-bones. Bowie had an "open,
frank disposition," but when insulted or challenged, his anger was
During the War of 1812, James and his
brother Rezin P. Bowie joined the Second Division, Consolidated, a unit
that contained the Seventeenth through Nineteenth regiments, drawn from
Avoyelles, Rapides, Natchitoches, Catahoula, and Ouachita parishes. In
January 1815, according to family records, the brothers were on their
way to join Andrew Jackson's forces at New Orleans when the war ended.
In 1818-1820 Bowie engaged with his brothers, John J. and Rezin P., in
smuggling slaves into the United States from the headquarters of the
pirates led by Jean Lafitte on Galveston Island.
On 1827 Jim Bowie participated in the
Sandbar Fight near Natchez, Texas. This fight evolved from a duel
between Samuel Wells and Thomas Maddox. After the principals had
exchanged shots without effect, two observers continued the scrape.
Alexander Crain fired at Samuel Cuny, and when Cuny fell, Bowie fired at
Crain but missed. Wright shot Bowie through the lower chest, and Bowie
"drew his butcher knife which he usually wears" and chased Wright. The
Blanchard brothers shot Bowie in the thigh, and Wright and Alfred
Blanchard stabbed him in several places. As Wright bent over him, Bowie
plunged the knife into his assailant's breast, then raised himself and
slashed Blanchard severely. All the witnesses remembered Bowie's "big
butcher knife," the first Bowie knife. Reports of Bowie's prowess and
his lethal blade captured public attention, and he was proclaimed the
South's most formidable knife fighter. Men asked blacksmiths and cutlers
to make a knife like Jim Bowie's.
moved to Texas in 1828 and took a prominent part in the revolt against
Mexico, being present at the battles of Nacogdoches (1832),
(1835), and the Grass
Fight (1835). In January, 1836, Bowie was ordered to San Antonio de
Bexar, where he joined Colonels
and was killed with them at the
the ALAMO, March 6, 1836.