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The Bowie Sandbar Duel      Watch Video

Jim Bowie and the Bowie knife have almost become synonymous. In the early 1800's it was common place for men to carry a knife as a sidearm but it wasn't until 1830 that the famous Bowie knife was made that forever carved a niche in history for Jim Bowie.

The actual making of the Bowie knife was a progression of knife designs. The first knife was claimed to be designed by his brother Rezin in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana and made by a blacksmith Jesse Clift in order to protect his younger brother from some of the company he was keeping.

This knife was referred to by many as Bowie's butcher knife that was used at the Sandbar Fight. Another rendition of the story according to Jim's older brother John was that a blacksmith named Snowden, made a hunting knife for Jim which was used during the duel. Either way the prototype and the legend had begun.

In 1827 the famous duel occurred just north of Natchez, Mississippi on a Mississippi River sandbar. As a second in the duel, Bowie found himself in the middle of the ruckus armed with a butcher knife. In the events that followed Bowie found himself badly beaten, shot and stabbed but before him lay one man cut to ribbons and another dead.

In 1830 in Texas, Jim Bowie armed with the famous Bowie knife made by James Black, was attacked by three men hired to kill him. The stories flourished as Bowie wielded the heavy knife against his attackers. In the end, one man was almost beheaded, another was disemboweled and the third had his skull split open

The original Bowie knife was two inches wide and a quarter inch thick with the blade being about 12 inches long. The back of the blade had a soft metal inlaid to catch the opponent's blade during a scrape. Razor sharp was the top edge of the clip point. In order to protect the hand a brass quillon was in place

At the Alamo, Jim Bowie had his trusted Bowie knife. As the Alamo was overrun by the Mexican army, Jim Bowie laid on a cot in the Low Barracks with his Bowie knife and pistol at hand. Tales exist that before he was killed that he took out nine of the oncoming Mexican soldiers.

Although it has been restlessly searched for after the battle of the Alamo, the original Bowie knife has never been found.

Today the site of the infamous duel is located on Giles Island, Louisiana, after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made a cut in the river in order to widen it and the island became part of Louisiana.

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