Cherokee leader Chief Bowl, also known as "Bowles" and "Duwali," 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. 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.

In 1839, the Texas army defeated the Cherokee near the headwaters of the Neches River. During the battle, Chief Bowl carried a sword given to him by 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»

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Portrait of Chief Bowl. Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.