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Thread: What is a Natchez Bowie Knife?

  1. #1
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    What is a Natchez Bowie Knife?


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    I thought a Natchez Bowie was a guardless Bowie Knife with a coffin handle, and a somewhat subdued clip point, if any. But when I search for Natchez Bowie, 90% of the photos are of the Cold Steel Natchez, which just looks like a normal big bowie with a traditional handle, guard, and clip point.

    And it is somewhat unbelievable to me, but I cannot find a definition of a Natchez Bowie. Can anybody supply some info, or point me toward a source of information?

    Thanks,
    Keith

  2. #2
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    Natchez is a place

    Many have called different Bowies that because of the locations association with Jim Bowie

    The original Bowie was supposedly a large guard less butcher style knife

    Hope this helped

    Joe Paranee
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    NRA Life Member
    R.I.P. Phill Hartsfield

  3. #3
    .

    .

    .

    That is what many folks believe is the most likely candidate for having actual ties to Jim Bowie. The Forrest knife.

  4. #4
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    That is what many folks believe is the most likely candidate for having actual ties to Jim Bowie. The Forrest knife.

    tltt,

    Thank you for your posting with the pictures. The blade appears to be about 12-1/2" long and to share some basic design characteristics with the Becker BK5 and even to the Kyber Knife of Asia.

  5. #5
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    JParanee and tltt, thanks for the info. So it sounds like "Natchez Bowie" can be applied to any style of Bowie Knife, just like "Original Bowie" is.

    I wonder when the term Natchez Bowie was first used?

    Thank you all

  6. #6
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    At a sandbar in Natchez, Mississippi.

    For all intents and purpose, the Bowie knife that Jim Bowie used, is believed to have been made from a file, a simple blade, long, with no handle.

    Very much like the ones pictured above.

    Moose
    Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CascadeSam View Post
    That is what many folks believe is the most likely candidate for having actual ties to Jim Bowie. The Forrest knife.

    tltt,

    Thank you for your posting with the pictures. The blade appears to be about 12-1/2" long and to share some basic design characteristics with the Becker BK5 and even to the Kyber Knife of Asia.
    Many blades have a connection to Bowie. The Forrest knife is what many (including myself) believe to be the "Sandbar knife."

    As far as design similarities, look at French chef's knives and Argentinian punales/"gaucho" knives. Those were popular at the time and probably the design inspiration for the Sandbar knife.

    A great source of info is this site...

    http://www.tamu.edu/faculty/ccbn/dew...ke_bowies.html

    Equally good is Bernard Levine's chapter on Bowie knives in his "Levine's Guide to Knives & Their Values."

    What's important to remember is that what happened with the original Bowie (whatever it may have been) is very similar to what happens today. People heard the story, wanted a tacticool knife just like Bowie's, and every knife maker slapped "Bowie" on knives and sold them like crazy....most of the knives were pure ninja.

  8. #8
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    I agree with you Marcinek.

    But after that sandbar fight, who wouldn't want to be like "Jim".

    I remember reading somewhere that the knife used at the Sandbar Fight, was a "butcher knife" made by Rezin, out of a file. Simple, big and probably sharp.

    When I was a kid, and went to the Alamo on vacation, seeing that piece they have in that case, was one of those life changing moments. I've been a bowie knife fanatic since.

    Moose
    Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moosez45 View Post
    I agree with you Marcinek.

    But after that sandbar fight, who wouldn't want to be like "Jim".

    I remember reading somewhere that the knife used at the Sandbar Fight, was a "butcher knife" made by Rezin, out of a file. Simple, big and probably sharp.

    When I was a kid, and went to the Alamo on vacation, seeing that piece they have in that case, was one of those life changing moments. I've been a bowie knife fanatic since.

    Moose
    Me too

    Joe Paranee
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Moosez45 View Post
    I agree with you Marcinek.

    But after that sandbar fight, who wouldn't want to be like "Jim".
    Of course, it's a awesome story.

    I just think its fascinating that even then, people ignored what was probably the case (that the sandbar knife was just a beefed up French chef's knife) and went and bought themselves something totally tacti-awesome instead.

    Also interesting is that these "Iron Mistress" Bowies (what people usually think of when they think Bowie) and Thorp Bowies have very little to do with any kind of historical reality. Pure fantasy.

    Always been that way with Bowies, and no doubt always will. 'Scool, though, you know. Historically inaccurate...but fun.

  11. #11
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    Moosez45
    It somehow escaped me that the Sandbar Fight was in or near Natchez, Mississippi. That clears it up to some extent, though it still doesn't give a solid definition of a Natchez Bowie, outside of the generic "Original Bowie" description. Though I can accept that Natchez Bowie and Original Bowie are synonymous.

    Always more to learn I guess.
    Thanks,
    Keith Hemstreet

  12. #12
    9 1/4" long, 1 1/2" wide, 1/4" thick, checkered oak handle, straight back, butcher's knife. Reportedly made by Jesse Clifft (or Lovell Snowden) on the Bowie Plantation at the direction of Rezin Bowie. The Schively-Perkins and Forrest knives have a similar profile. That seems to be the closest description of the knife used at the Vidalia Sandbar duel. The fate of it is not known, reportedly left on the Goliad roadside after butchering game, lost in a fishing trip to Bayou Pierre, or rehandled, shown to Smithwick, and then lost. But the Bowies gifted and paid debts with many knives, so there are many that would fit the old sales description of 'a knife like Bowie's'.

    ETA - Here's a post made by Chris Nolen on johnwayne-thealamo about how convoluted the myth of the Bowie knife is

    Dont forget: Brother Rezin stated that he made Jim's Knife, and gave it to him just before the Maddox and Wells duel. Later Rezin's grandaughter said it was designed by Rezin but made by Jesse Clifft.
    John Bowie wrote that Jim always carried a knife and it was made by Lovelle Snowden...who also made the Caiaphas Ham Knife...then on to Philadelphia for Rezin's eye check up at Dr Pepper's....Henry Schively made an upgraded version of the Sandbar knife and Henry Hubers made a knife for Bowie's men in Texas...Rezin later gave the knife to Jesse Perkins and James died before he received orders on the Huber Knife :roll: ....Now, back to Texas and Bowie arrives and presents Noah Smithwick a knife he has had re-worked for it to be copied and even sold...Noah is soon run out of town for helping a Texan break jail that had slandered Santa Anna...Back to John Bowie, who says Jim lost the knife while cleaning a deer. John Sewell takes over Smithwicks forge and he makes a knife for Jim :? ...Jim now learns of James Black in Arkansas and sends him a design for a knife. Black makes 2 knives and Jim chooses Black's design but takes both knives...Black engraves Bowie No. 1 on his model...Jim is pleased with his Scottish style knife with the brass parry strap...but people with many of the Sheffield Companies start to send him their versions of the Bowie Knife...Jim gives two Broomhead& Thomas Knives to Augustine Berrara for work he did on a saddle...He also gives a Wade&Butcher knife to Madam Candelaria at the Alamo, just after he gives Juan Seguin his knife he had while posing for the Healey portrait. Somewhere along the line he commissions Black to make a knife for Thomas Tunstall, and another knife with his name and an acorn symbol scratched into it, which will later be the Moore Bowie... and he's probably in on many knives made by Daniel Searles of Baton Rouge. He gives knives to Actors (Forrest) and Pirates (Padillo).....but he never writes one word of this (that we know of)
    Chris...
    Last edited by hardheart; 07-09-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by keithhblade View Post
    Moosez45
    It somehow escaped me that the Sandbar Fight was in or near Natchez, Mississippi. That clears it up to some extent, though it still doesn't give a solid definition of a Natchez Bowie, outside of the generic "Original Bowie" description. Though I can accept that Natchez Bowie and Original Bowie are synonymous.

    Always more to learn I guess.
    Thanks,
    Keith Hemstreet
    I think you are missing a critical point. They mean the same thing....nothing.

    Look at CS Natchez Bowie. It looks nothing like the leading contenders for the sandbar knife which is the "original Bowie."

    (Funny thing....any knife labeled "Original Bowie"? Nothing like the sandbar knife.)

    I guess the whole thing hinges on whether or not one cares about historical accuracy. If one doesn't...it's cool.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hardheart View Post

    ETA - Here's a post made by Chris Nolen on johnwayne-thealamo about how convoluted the myth of the Bowie knife is
    And we haven't even mentioned The Iron Mistress with Alan Ladd, which entirely messed things up even further.

  15. #15
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    The Knife that won the west Ruled the South first.

    When the Bowie became a fashion statement the cutlerys in Sheffield England produced what the dime novel and papers of the time where writing about in mass quantities to supply the masses

    Like Bagwell says in his book, Louisiana was the Mecca of culture when Chicago was a outpost and New York a shanty town, and every guy getting off a boat to go trapping , market hunting, mining etc. was looking for one.

    Since firearms where still on the unreliable side the big knives made ther way into a lot of different walks of life. From the simple blade to the Gentlemen Gamblers, who where carrying them pimped out in all there glory. There are many tales of duels and conflicts fought with the big knives , some made up some true but all fascinating reading.

    Truly a piece of Americana that I find terribly interesting.

    Yes the first Bowie was a big butcher knife , it was the proto type so of course it was a simple strong using knife.

    The good news is there has never been a better time to be a Bowie knife fan. From cheap knocked out ones for the masses to high end collector pieces, and my favorite hardcore performance pieces that have evolved into probable the greatest combat knife in the world.

    Bowie knives are fascinating knives and I highly recommend reading up on them , sure a lot of the stories are just that but Americas Excalibur deserves all our knife fans respect

    Here are 2 examples of high speed performance oriented Bowies

    Knight Founders Bowie



    In hand



    Bagwell Alamo Bowie




    In hand


    Joe Paranee
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  16. #16
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    ^^^Sure look better than the original.
    Buy my book! Amazon: Kindle: Barnes and Noble:

    I have no dinosaur in this orgy.

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    COLD STEEL






    MARK BANFIELD CUSTOM (COFFIN HANDLE)






    JEFF DUNN SANDBAR




    HOPE THAT HELPS!
    Last edited by 19Eleven; 07-09-2012 at 09:22 PM.

  18. #18
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    Like Joe said, with firearms being unreliable and SINGLE SHOT, a big honkin' knife was fast on the draw, didn't need to be reloaded, and worked when wet.

    Jim Bowie brought into the limelight, but he wasn't the only legend to pack a whoppin' hunk o steel.

    Cassius Marcellus Clay, The Lion of Whitehall, carried a Bible, a brace of pistols, and a brace of large Bowie's. Talk about someone that the law didn't want to go arrest, even in his twilight years. Man made point.

    And, America can lay claim to the Bowie knife, its all US of A, from start to finish.

    Now, we have the Arkasas Bowie, a migration into some great blades, from which, an "old butcher knife" was the progenitor.

    Go Bowie.

    Moose
    Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash.

  19. #19
    My "Bowie"....by the way.



    Has absolutely nothing to do with the sandbar knife in any way, shape, or form (except that you could mess somebody up with it). But it's one of my favorites.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcinek View Post
    I guess the whole thing hinges on whether or not one cares about historical accuracy. If one doesn't...it's cool.
    When you think about it, though, if you can't know the historical truth with any kind of accuracy, should you invest too much time in caring?

    I stumbled upon the following article when I was reading up on Shiva Kai knives:

    http://www.defensereview.com/shiva-k...fast-and-mean/

    I was fascinated by the connection that the author drew between the bowie style and the cutlass/Spanish fencing of the period. Is it true? No idea. But it does seem plausible; and if it is true then history lent Jim Bowie's name to a particular design/style of knife and fighting that developed around it, regardless of the knife that he actually used.

    I kind of like the look of Cold Steel's Natchez. The question that I prefer to ask is, if this knife had been around back then, might Jim have carried it?

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