Transcript of Chief Bowl

This is Texas Originals. From Humanities Texas, for the advancement of heritage, culture and education.

Cherokee leader Chief Bowl, also known as "Bowles" and "Duwali," was born in North Carolina around 1756 to a Scottish father and a Cherokee mother. In the early nineteenth century, Bowl led the first large Cherokee emigration west of the Mississippi River—to Missouri, then Arkansas, and finally to the Mexican province of Texas. There, in a settlement near Nacogdoches, Bowl headed an alliance of Cherokee villages. 

Bowl helped Mexico defeat Anglo settlers in the Fredonian Rebellion of 1827. Nevertheless, the Mexican government refused to recognize Cherokee land claims in East Texas.

In 1836, Sam Houston, acting as a commissioner of the provisional Texas government, negotiated a treaty with Chief Bowl that secured Cherokee land rights, but the Republic of Texas later rejected the treaty. Texas president Mirabeau B. Lamar called for an "exterminating war" to expel the Cherokee from the Republic.

In 1839, the Texas army defeated the Cherokee near the headwaters of the Neches River. During the battle, Chief Bowl, now eighty-three, carried a sword given to him by his friend Sam Houston, who had once lived among the Cherokee. The heroic chief was among the last to die in the battle. 

The Cherokee fled to the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. After passing through several hands, Bowl's battle sword was presented to the Cherokee Nation in 1890.

More information about Chief Bowl and other Texas Originals is available at This program is produced by KUHF Houston Public Radio and Humanities Texas, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.