Bowie, James (1796 - 1836) James Bowie was a
descendant of the Maryland Line of Bowies who originated in Stilingshire, Scotland. The
name is derived from the gaelic Buidhe, which when interpereted by a nongaelic speaking
clerk is written Bowie. James Bowie died at the Alamo giving the army of Sam Houston
(huisdean, also of scottish origin) time to prepare for a decisive battle with the Troops
of Santa Anna. The Bowies originated in the inner Hebredies and later moved inland through
Argyl to Inverness, where the clan affiliation moved form Macdonald to Grant. Bowies were
later found as keepers of the kings wines and guards of the royal household in the 15th
Known for his famous "Bowie knife"
and a sometimes reckless adventurer, Jim Bowie is now immortalized as one of the true folk
heroes in early Texas.
Bowie was born in Kentucky in 1796. While still very young,
he moved with his family, first to Missouri, then in 1802 to Louisiana, where he spent
most of his youth. It was there that he first acquired a reputation for his bold and
In 1827, Bowie participated in a bloody brawl near Natchez,
Mississippi, where several men were killed and Bowie was wounded. After recovering the
following year, he moved to Texas.
Before the revolution in Texas, Bowie took part in many
adventures. He spent considerable time cultivating friendships with Indians in his search
for elusive silver and gold reported to be hidden in the interior of Texas. By some
accounts, he is said to have found the fabled San Saba mines, also known as the Bowie
mines, near the geographic center of present day Texas.
In the Texas Revolution, Bowie was a leading participant at
the Battle of Concepcion and in the Grass Fight near San Antonio. He was in command of a volunteer force
in San Antonio when William
Travis arrived with regular army troops. The two men shared authority during much of
the Siege of the Alamo, which caused some personal friction. But pneumonia disabled Bowie,
and he was confined to his cot at the time of his death on March 6, 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo.
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