It had a curved forward blade, a short dagger-like backhand blade and it was made from steel which was tempered by a secret process known only to James Black. Bowie, already a famous man, won everlasting fame when he died at the Alamo. Additional support provided by the Charles M. and Joan R. Taylor Foundation Inc. Rezin's granddaughter claimed in an 1885 letter to Louisiana State University that she personally witnessed Clifft make the knife for her grandfather. Everyone seemed to want "Jim Bowie's knife." December 8, 1841, p. 2. Rate and review titles you borrow and share your opinions on them. Special thanks to the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Per Legends of America, the duel was actually supposed … This knife is believed by some experts to have been one of two knives made for Jim Bowie. He first settled at Bayou Sara (West Feliciana Parish), Louisiana, on the Mississippi River and set up a blacksmith shop. James and Gilbert Clark also settled in the same vicinity with him and set up a salt works. Additional support provided by the Arkansas Community Foundation. — Courtesy Historic Arkansas Museum — If you would like to make a donation by check, print this donation form, fill it out and mail it with your check to: Central Arkansas Library System Origin of the Bowie Knife. Shaw had nine children; the eldest daughter was Anne, age sixteen. Honor or memorial gifts are an everlasting way to pay tribute to someone who has touched your life. In 1840, property owned by Black was sold, and, in 1841, Shaw took custody of Black’s children. Bowie died there on March 6, 1836, along with Davy Crockett and the rest of the 180 or so defenders. Black lost the majority of his eyesight as a result of the fever and the attack. On May 1, 1870, Black tried to recall to Jones the secret method of how he made his knives but was unable to remember the process. The most famous version was produced by Arkansas blacksmith James Black in 1830. Major support provided through a partnership with the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism. One thing led to another. Encyclopedia of Arkansas “The Bowie Knife.” Washington Telegraph. The tang of the knife was covered with soft brass or silver, apparently to capture the opponent’s blade in the course of a knife battle (Spanish Notch), while a brass quillion protected the hand from the blade. James "Jim" Bowie was, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, part of a pioneer family who "who settled in early Arkansas and Louisiana" and was notorious for "kill[ing] one man and seriously injur[ing] another with a 'big knife”' in a brawl that came to be known as the "Sandbar Duel" on September 19, 1827 in Natchez, Mississippi. The blade itself might measure anywhere from 9-12 inches in length. It is James Black of Washington, Arkansas. Per Legends of America, the duel was actually supposed to take place between Samuel Levi Wells III and Dr. Thomas Harris Maddox; Bowie had merely accompanied Wells. James Black, popularly known as the maker of the bowie knife, was one of the early pioneers of Arkansas and settled in the town of Washington (Hempstead County) in southwest Arkansas. They were married for seven years and had five children. Black settled on the Rolling Fork River that flows into Little River just west of the territorial settlement of Paraclifta (Sevier County). It has all gone from me!”. Black had not forgotten Anne Shaw, and on June 29, 1828, they were married at the Hempstead County Courthouse in Washington without the consent of William Shaw. Black died an old man, blind and insane. James Black was the man who both designed and forged the Knife. Just what makes a knife a Bowie knife, anyway? Creating an account gives you access to all these features. The knives were also known as the "Arkansas knife" or "Arkansas toothpick"; several states reportedly passed laws specifically outlawing them. In 1830, Black made the famous Bowie knife for Jim Bowie who was already famous for knife-fighting from his 1827 sandbar duel. He set up a dam on a portion of the river and established a grist mill along with a blacksmith shop. Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood (1803 - 1860), Louisiana Purchase through Early Statehood, 1803 through 1860. In late 1823, after battling disease and major floods, Black decided to move. Give a donation in someone’s name to mark a special occasion, honor a friend or colleague or remember a beloved family member. Around 1824, Black went to the New territories of the fever and the.! 1803 through 1860 at Bayou Sara ( west Feliciana Parish ), Louisiana, on the River... Isaac Newton Jones and Augustus Garland, corroborated his story your generosity and a weapon, D.! 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