Jim Bowie

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James Bowie (1796 - March 6, 1836), better known as Jim Bowie, was a pioneer and soldier who took a prominent part in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo. He was born in Kentucky, and spent most of his life in Louisiana before moving to Texas and joining in the revolution.

Bowie is also known for the style of knife he carried, which came to be known as the "Bowie knife". Stories of his frontier spirit has made him one of the most colourful folk heroes of Texas history.


James Bowie was born in Kentucky around April 10, 1796, but spent most of his childhood in Louisiana. He was the child of Rezin Bowie and Elve Ap-Catesby Jones, who had previously settled in what is now called Catahoula Parish. During the early years, James did a lot of hunting and fishing, and popular folklore says that he roped alligators, tamed wild horses, and trapped bears.

The War of 1812 took place when James Bowie was a teenager, but he and his brother Rezin (named after their father) were considering joining Andrew Jackson's forces at New Orleans, but the war had ended. After this war, Bowie and his brother set to the coast and met up with the infamous French pirate Jean Lafitte to buy and sell slaves. James and Rezin Bowie became quite wealthy from the several trades that happened afterwards, stopping when they had made $65,000, which was, of course, at the time a much more considerable sum than it is now.

Before the Texas Revolution

During the period before the Texas Revolution, Bowie had all sorts of adventures, including his famous search for the silver mines of San Saba, which was unsuccessful. Also in this time, he became involved in many fights and became known for his fiery temper. Rezin Bowie gave him the now-legendary Bowie Knife, a huge blade that was ten and one-half inches long and two inches wide.

Bowie's first famous display of courage was participating in a brawl near Natchez, Mississippi, where several people died and he himself was wounded. This fight, called the Sandbar Fight, snowballed from a duel between Samuel Levi Wells III and Dr. Thomas Maddox. The two men shot at each other with no effect, so an onlooker called Alexander Crain fired at Samuel Cuny, who was hit. Bowie then shot at Crain, but missed, and then a local banker named Norris Wright fired and hit Bowie in the lower chest. Bowie, ignoring the injury, was said to have chased Wright with his Bowie Knife. Several people maimed Bowie with their knives, but Bowie also stabbed them back. It was here that he got his reputation for being a superb knife-fighter. Not surprisingly, his large weapon too became known as very formidable. Men all over Texas were asking blacksmiths to make knives for them that were like Bowie's.

He then proceeded to move to Texas. Bowie was also engaged to Cecelia Wells, who was born in 1805, but died on September 7, 1829, two weeks before their wedding was scheduled.

Part in the Texas Revolution

(under construction.)de:James Bowie


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