The Bowie Knife, A History Lesson
A lot of us out there are interested in our Great Nation’s history. And forgive me for having “good-ole day’s syndrome,” but nowadays we hunt with compound bows, high power rifles and even thermal night vision scopes. So, if you’re like me, you value the simple things in life; and for me, nothing says simplicity like a handcrafted heavy fighting (Bowie) knife. I’ve got a collection of knives that I have put together over the years and I have a few favorites, but for my money, nothin’ and I mean nothin’ beats a Bowie knife.
Now most of us have heard of James Bowie, but hardly anyone has heard of Major Norris Wright. These two have a history. But let me back up. In the early 1800’s there were two ways to solve problems: shoot it out or fight it out. Now there were two ways of going about this: formally with a duel OR informally by brawl. A duel was when the two individuals would plan out a date and time to settle their differences with an equal weapon with witnesses. Or, you could say they fought it out like real men are supposed to settle their differences. A brawl usually happened after a duel failed to properly solve the issue.
Bowie found himself as a partisan-witness of a duel between two men. The controversy stemmed from Alexandria old money (Wells’) and Western Mississippi new money (Maddox’s). And this duel was the pre-cursor to the Vidalia Sandbar fight. A man named Sheriff Wright shot Bowie in this brawl and witnesses say that the only reason Wright lived to tell about it was because others in the brawl stopped Bowie from killing Wright. And from that day forth, Bowie carried a fighting/sheath knife with him in hopes of a rematch.
Bowie would later marry a wealthy woman, lose her and her family to an illness, move to Texas and lead the fight to free it from Mexico, dying in the Alamo.
Now, a few things determine the Bowie knife from other knives. It must have a crossguard and a clippoint. A clippoint is a shape of a blade that is both curved and narrowed towards the tip-designed for easier entry (This shape goes back to as early as Macedonian times). The crossguard is the highest point of the handle that serves as a guard for the hand from slipping down the blade, tactically speaking. The Bowie knife was basically a shortened sword used for hand-to-hand combat, but what served its wielders the most was its convenient ability to be holstered next to the sidearm or opposite the sidearm in a sheath. The Bowie knife is great for cutting open a fresh kill, and accurate enough to trim fingernails.
So why not start your own collection of knives? It’s a lost art in all the muck of modern hunting technology. A lot has changed since 1827 in the Sandbar Fight. The Mississippi changed directions and we have all sorts of new gadgets and technology to hide ourselves from the animal we’re hunting.
But ya’ll, somethings never change: like that Sandbar, its still resting quietly in Mississippi thanks to men like Bowie stopping power hungry pretty boys like Major Wright from cheating people out of elections.
Oh, one more thing since I have your attention. Have you ever heard of hunting fitness? What has this world come to? Ask yourself, what would Jim Bowie do? Hunting fitness? I think not sir. I think not.
Till next time…..be good or be good at it!