Coffin Handled Bowie

Alfred Jacob Miller described the trapping brigades as they were leaving the Rendezvous of 1837 as each trapper having twenty pairs of moccasins, a Bowie knife and some even carried hatchets.     I am sure the phrase “Bowie knife” was a term of generic use by 1837 for any and all large butcher type knives.  I had a knife replicated from a knife of history.  It is much nicer than the average trade knife.  It is a special made “Bowie” forged by a small town blacksmith.  I had this knife made as a fighting knife.  Unlike modern “Bowie’s” it does not have a guard.  This is an earlier style and can more easily be carried in a folded leather sheath.

 

This is a copy of the “Bowie” carried by  Captain William Dutch or Tahchee, who was a member of the Western Cherokee delegation when they visited Washington D. C. in 1837.  These knives were made by various knife manufacturers as well as local blacksmiths.

 

Tahchee was known to A. P. Chouteau.  In 1833, Chouteau wrote “Dutch (Tahchee) is looked upon as the most sagacious and daring war Captain in the Cherokee Nation west of the Mississippi…Dutch may be known, by a slight description among a thousand warriors, by his remarkable black, keen, restless eyes.”

The following pictures are of various knives of the type shown above:

Although this type of knife is not depicted directly by Miller, we know it was available and in use as far west as the Indian Territories (Oklahoma) as early as 1837.

Special thanks to James Batson and the website http://antiquebowies.com/antiqueBowies/historic/tahchee/tahchee.htm  for the information on Tahchee and this style of knife.

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