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Chief Bowles

The Bowles (Duwa'li, or Chief Bowles), was born in North Carolina about 1756. He was an auburn haired, blue eyed, half blood Scotch Cherokee.

Settlers from a North Carolina settlement killed Bowles father when Bowles was a young boy and that the vengeful fourteen year old killed his fathers murderers. After that he hated all white people. The Bowl was in the prime of manhood age, thirty two, when he became town Chief of Running Water. One of the five lower towns of Chattanooga Tennessee. This became the rendezvous for many Cherokee chiefs. Bowles being one of them and all of them hating whites.

In June 1794 they attacked some emigrants who were on their way down the Tennessee River to the western settlement at Mussel Shoals. The boat was loaded with valuable merchandise. William Scott, owner of the boat, was aboard along with five other men, three women, four children, and twenty slaves. As it passed down the Tennessee, the Cherokee attacked it. One hundred and fifty Indians then gathered and pursued the boat to Mussel Shoals, where they took it over. The Reverend Cephas Washburn, an early missionary to the Cherokees, recalled that while the Indians were camped on the river, several boats came down the river and stopped at the head of the Shoals. Scott and Stewart had a supply of goods that they wanted to trade to the Indians. After hearing that the Cherokee had real money they invited them onboard the boat. They gave them as much whiskey as they could drink. The whole time they planed on taking advantage of them after they got drunk.

The Indians eagerly bought items at a very high price. They did not stop trading until the money was all gone. After sobering up, Bowles and his men realized that they had been duped by the white men. Bowles then took all of the merchandise back and tried to get their money back. Bowles was ordered off the boat. The warriors wanted immediate revenge, but Bowles wanted to settle it peacefully. Taking two of his warriors he tried again, warning the traders that they would fight if the money was not returned. Stewart and Scott attacked the three Indians, killing one. Bowles escaped but soon returned and killed the remaining white men on the boat. They did not harm the women, children or the slaves.

Afraid of what his tribe would think about the massacre, since the Cherokee Indians were supposed to be abiding by a treaty of amity with the whites, Bowles and his men descended down the Tennessee, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the mouth of the St. Francis River in the boats. There they placed all the white women and children in one boat, gave each of the married ladies a female servant, put on board an ample stock of provisions and four strong and able black men and let them descend the Mississippi to New Orleans, the place of their destination.

Bowles and his men then continued up the St. Francis to await results. The Cherokees in Tennessee went to the government and said they had nothing to do with the killings. They placed the entire blame on Bowles, and said they would help to find and arrest him. When Bowles learned that he was in disfavor of his people, he decided to make his home in Missouri and settled on the St. Francis. In time many more Cherokees joined him.

After the government investigated the whole massacre they said it was felt that the Cherokees were fully justified in what they did.

Chief Bowles and his people lived in the valley of the St. Francis in southeast Missouri until 1811. During that year there was a violent earthquake. The ground shook and sank in many places. The Bowles and many of his people thought that the Great Spirit was warning them to move. Many then moved to Arkansas. Other Cherokees began to move to Arkansas and by 1813 about one third of the Eastern tribe was living west of the Mississippi.

More about Duwali

BOWL (ca. 1756-1839). Chief Bowl (also known as Duwali, Diwal'li, Chief Bowles, Colonel Bowles, Bold Hunter, and the Bowl), the chief of the Cherokees in Texas, was born in North Carolina around 1756. He was the son of a Scottish father and a full-blooded Cherokee mother. Duwali was leader of a village at Little Hiwassee (in western North Carolina). In 1791 he signed the Treaty of Holston, and in 1805 he signed an unauthorized cession treaty, a move that proved unpopular with the majority of Cherokees. In early 1810, to access better hunting ground and to escape growing pressures of settlement in the southern states, he and his band moved across the Mississippi River and settled in the St. Francis River valley, near New Madrid, Missouri. In 1812-13 his people moved into northwestern Arkansas, south of the Arkansas River, and in 1819 they once more moved on, stopping briefly in southwestern Arkansas and at the three forks of the Trinity River before settling north of Nacogdoches.

In Texas Chief Bowl became the primary "civil" chief or "peace chief" of a council that united several Cherokee villages. In 1822 he sent diplomatic chief Richard Fields to Mexico to negotiate with the Spanish government for a land grant or title to land occupied by Cherokees in East Texas. In 1827 he cooperated with the Mexican government in putting down the Fredonian Rebellion. In 1833 he made another attempt to secure from the Mexican government land on the Angelina, Neches, and Trinity rivers, but negotiations were interrupted by political unrest in Texas. In February of 1836 Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with Bowl's council, guaranteeing the tribe possession of lands occupied in East Texas. After the Texas Revolution, however, the treaty was invalidated by the Senate of the Republic of Texas. In desperation, Bowl briefly allied with agents soliciting allies for a Mexican reinvasion of Texas. Shortly thereafter, President Mirabeau B. Lamar ordered him and his people to leave Texas. After negotiations failed, Bowl mobilized his warriors to resist expulsion. On July 16, 1839, Chief Bowl was killed in the battle of the Neches. On this site, the scene of the last engagement between the Cherokees and whites in Texas, the state of Texas erected a marker in 1936.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mary Whatley Clarke, Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971). Dianna Everett, The Texas Cherokees: A People between Two Fires, 1819-1840 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990). Dorman Winfrey, "Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees," Chronicles of Oklahoma 32 (Spring 1954). E. W. Winkler, "The Cherokee Indians in Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 7 (October 1903). Albert Woldert, "The Last of the Cherokees in Texas and the Life and Death of Chief Bowles," Chronicles of Oklahoma 1 (June 1923).

Dianna Everett

source: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/BB/fbo47.html

Cherokee War of 1839

CHEROKEE WAR. The Cherokee War of 1839 was the culmination of friction between the Cherokee, Kickapoo, and Shawnee Indians and the white settlers in Northeast Texas. The Indians, who had obtained squatters' rights to the land from Spanish authorities, were promised title to the land by the Consultation; and on February 23, 1836, a treaty made by Sam Houston and John Forbes,q who represented the provisional government, gave title to the lands between the Angelina and Sabine rivers and northwest of the Old San Antonio Road to the Cherokees and their associated bands. The treaty was tabled by the Texas Senate on December 29, 1836, and was declared null and void by that body on December 16, 1837, despite Houston's insistence that it be ratified. The Córdova Rebellion in August 1838 caused Thomas Jefferson Rusk to march on the Cherokees in an effort to intercept Vicente Córdova; but Córdova did not seek shelter among the Cherokees, and Rusk returned to the settlements. On October 16, 1838, Rusk, with 230 troops, pursued a band of Kickapoos, destroyed their village, and killed eleven warriors, including one renegade Cherokee. There were sporadic raids by the Indians during the fall of 1838 and spring of 1839.

After the discovery, in May 1839, of a letter in the possession of Manuel Flores exposing plans by the Mexican government to enlist the Indians against the Texas settlers, President Mirabeau B. Lamar, supported by popular opinion, determined to expel the East Texas Indians. In July 1839, Kelsey H. Douglass was put in command of approximately 500 troops under Edward Burleson, Willis H. Landrum,q and Rusk, and was ordered to remove the Indians to Arkansas Territory. The army camped on Council Creek, six miles south of the principal Cherokee village of Chief Bowl and dispatched a commission on July 12 to negotiate for the Indians' removal. The Indians agreed to sign a treaty of removal that guaranteed to them the profit from their crops and the cost of the removal. During the next two days they insisted they were willing to leave but refused to sign the treaty because of a clause that would give them an armed escort out of the republic. On July 15 the commissioners told the Indians that the Texans would march on their village immediately and that those willing to accept the treaty should display a white flag. Landrum was sent across the Neches to cut off possible reinforcements, and the remainder of the army marched on the village. The battle of the Neches occurred a few miles west of Tyler, in what is now Henderson County. By sundown three Texans had been killed and five wounded; the Indians had lost eighteen. The Indians fled, and Douglass made camp. Pursuit was begun on the morning of July 16. A scouting party under James Carter engaged the Cherokees near the headwaters of the Neches River at a site now in Van Zandt County. The Indians sought shelter in a hut and the surrounding cornfields but were forced to abandon them after Carter was reinforced by the arrival of Rusk and Burleson. After thirty minutes of fighting the Indians were forced to the Neches bottom, where Chief Bowl was killed and a number of warriors were lost. After the last fighting near Grand Saline, it was estimated that more than 100 Indians had been killed or wounded in the engagements.

On July 21 the Texans marched toward the headwaters of the Sabine River along the route taken by the fleeing Indians. Numerous huts and fields were destroyed that afternoon, and several villages and more than 200 acres of corn were burned on the morning of July 22. The destruction continued during the pursuit of the Indians, which was not abandoned until July 24. Most of the Indians fled to Cherokee lands outside the republic. During the winter a small group under Chief Egg and John Bowles, son of Chief Bowl, attempted to reach Mexico by skirting the fringe of white settlements. Burleson, on a campaign against the Plains Indians, intercepted the Cherokees and attacked them near the mouth of the San Saba River on December 25, 1839. Egg and Bowles and several warriors were killed, and twenty-seven women and children were captured. This was the last important action against the Cherokees in Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dianna Everett, The Texas Cherokees: A People between Two Fires, 1819-1840 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990).

The Death of Duwali

July 16, 1836 is the date of the last battle fought between the Texas

Cavalry and Cherokees in Texas. Members of the twelve associated

tribes had been promised 1.5 million acres for their home by Texas

President Sam Houston. But the succeeding President, Mirabeau Lamar,

was reclaiming this land. Chief Diwali Bowles put the question to the

associated tribes sharing this land, The Shawnee, Delaware, Kickapoo,

Quapaw, Choctaw, Biloxi, Ioni, Alabama, Choushatt, Caddo, Tahocullake,

and Mataquo. Would they stand together in an effort to hold on to this

land? The decision was made to fight.

The battle began on July 15. On July 16 Chief Bowles signaled retreat,

few were left to flee. Chief Bowles was shot in the leg and his horse

was wounded. The Chief climbed down from his horse and started to walk

from the battle field. He was shot in the back. The 83 year old chief

sat down, crossing his arms and legs facing the company of militia.

The captain of the militia walked to where the Chief sat, placed a

pistol to his head and killed him. Cavalry members took stripes of

skin from his arms as souvenirs. His body was left where it lay. No

burial ever took place.

This battle marked the single largest massacre in East Texas with 800

men, women, and children of the associated tribes killed.

A marker stands at the site of the battlegrounds. But no funeral

service has ever been held for Chief Bowles.

The American Indian Heritage Center of Texas has made it their goal to

purchase 70 acres of the 1.5 million acres which were promised to

these tribes. The battleground site where the memorial stands is among

these 70 acres.


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