Assault Knife: The Bowie Knife
There have been many colorful characters in the history of Knifedom, but few, if any, have reached the vibrancy of Jim Bowie! Jim Bowie’s Assault Knife, the Bowie Knife had a legendary status and history all it’s own even beyond its famous, and perhaps even infamous inventor!
There were of course the tales of the man himself who famously told his fellow Congressmen: “You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!” and whose legendary skills as a knife fighter were probably more than just legends. A man who fought and died at the Alamo with a cast of other larger than life men, but left behind a legacy which was named for him, an assault knife, the Bowie knife.
How the Bowie knife came to be
There were possibly two early versions of the Bowie knife developed before the “final” version was made. The first was a knife forged from a file by a smith named Jesse Cleft in Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana for James Bowie’s brother Rezin. This was supposedly the knife used in the notorious “Sandbar Fight” where as an observer of a duel gone gang fight. Bowie killed several men. Bowie was himself stabbed and shot, and severely beaten but still managed to win! The other knife, credited to a smith named Snowden was claimed by Jim’s older brother John, to be the knife used in this fight.
It is fairly well documented that Jim Bowie was on his way to Texas when he stopped at a blacksmith shop in 1830 in Arkansas with a wooden prototype of a knife. The smith was a man named James Black. Black made two versions: One with a swedged and sharpened edge in the pointed quarter of the knife spine. He offered Bowie his choice of the two. Bowie chose the later.
Bowie And His Knife In Texas
When Bowie arrived in Texas, he was soon met by 3 men who were hired to kill him. Bowie had other ideas, and by the end of the fight all 3 were dead! This just added to the legend, but not as much as Bowie’s final fight.
Little is known of Bowie’s time in the Alamo, but if past history is any indication we know he fought with all his heart and soul. In the end the small number of Texican volunteers were over run by the forces of Santa Anna, but not before suffering massive losses themselves. The sacrifice of the Texicans gave Sam Houston enough time to raise an army that went on to defeat Santa Anna solidify Texas as it’s own country.
Whatever happened to the Bowie Knife?
No one knows exactly what happened to Jim Bowie’s assault knife. The Bowie knife was probably planted in the heart of an enemy combatant before Bowie himself met his maker!
The legend lives on!
The Bowie knife became both famous, and infamous. Because of the history of the knife, and because of the popular tales, the knife was banned in many places for being too deadly to remain legal! How could such a deadly weapon be allowed in a civilised country?
When all is said and done, Bowie’s assault knife, the Bowie knife was simply a tool which did a lot of jobs and had the legend of its owner behind it. Like all tools it can be used for good or for evil. That is a good thing to remember in our culture today: Guns and knives are tools, they depend one the human who wields them for mind and soul.
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