- Bowie Knife
- The Bowie knife, once called an Arkansas toothpick, is a dangerous weapon. It is a dagger, strongly made, with a one-edged blade of some twelve inches in length that curves to a point. It has a heavy guard of horn between the hilt and the blade. Whether James Bowie or his brother Rezin dreamed it up is uncertain. James is given credit for it because he made the weapon famous when he, armed with only his knife, fought and killed a man in Natchez who wielded a pistol.Bowie became a national hero in 1836 when he, together with Davy Crockett and some two hundred other soldiers, fought gallantly against the overwhelming Mexican forces that stormed the Alamo, an abandoned mission house in San Antonio. For thirteen days these brave men fought and suffered. Bowie, confined to a sick-bed, fought from his cot with only a knife in hand. But sheer numbers finally triumphed. Bowie, Crockett, and everyone else at the Alamo was killed in hand-to-hand combat by General Santa Anna's troops; they died bravely.Bowie, born in 1799, settled in Texas in 1828, when it was still Mexican land. He became friendly with the Mexican vice-governor, married his daughter, and acquired Mexican land grants. He became a Mexican citizen. Bowie was known to be unethical; he did not hesitate to dupe Mexicans. Bowie became interested in the restrictions Mexico imposed on American migration. He became a colonel in the Texas Rangers and fought with distinction in several battles. He joined up with Colonel William B. Travis in his last gallant hurrah—the Alamo. Bowie has become a legend through Western song and folk tales. The knife that he or his brother Rezin designed continued in demand long after Bowie's death. The famous Sheffield steelworks in England marketed large quantities for use in Texas.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.