Auction Date:2011 Nov 17 @ 18:00 (UTC-5 : EST/CDT)
Location:5 Rt 101A Suite 5, Amherst, New Hampshire, 03031, United States
Legendary American pioneer and soldier (1796–1836) who played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution and perished at the Battle of the Alamo. Rare manuscript DS, signed “James Bowie,” on a 7.75 x 3 off-white slip, dated in the lower left, “Natchez, 10 March 1829.” The pay order reads, in full: “Mr. L. Hughes Sir. You will please pay Mr. Angus McNeill One Hundred and Thirty four dollars and oblige your.” Boldly signed at the conclusion by Bowie. In very good condition, with moderate intersecting folds (slightly touching the signature), mild overall toning, with a few heavier spots and slightly heavier along right edge, and mild wrinkling and creasing.
This document dates from a period of transition in Bowie’s career as his emphasis was shifting away from the US frontier toward opportunities that lay in the Mexican territory of Texas. It also offers a rare glimpse into the actual day-to-day affairs and personal relationships of this legendary figure in American history.
Angus McNeill was a key partner of Bowie’s during this period as both a friend and a business associate; they had become acquainted in Mississippi in 1826. A manifest of Bowie's property, drawn up as part of a dowry contract at San Antonio on April 22, 1831, included $20,000 held by McNeill for the purchase of textile machinery in New England. In the fall of 1833, while lying ill at McNeill's home in Mississippi, Bowie learned of the deaths by cholera of his wife, their two infants, and his wife's parents in Monclova in September 1833. Two years later, McNeill moved to Texas in the company of Bowie and Dr. William Richardson (who would soon be appointed surgeon of the Texas Army by Stephen F. Austin).
Written in Natchez in March 1829, this document originated from the same community where Bowie had participated in the famed Sandbar Fight 18 months earlier. Arguably, it was this episode more than any other that tied name with knives and knife fighting. During this brawl, he had disemboweled an opponent after being stabbed, struck, and shot in the hip. His exploits in the Great Sandbar Duel, as it became known nationally, would play a large role in forging the Jim Bowie legend that persists even today.
We are pleased to present this handwritten document, the first Bowie item that we have ever had the privilege to offer. Anything bearing his signature is extremely scarce and very rarely come up for public auction. The Robert Davis Collection.
ALS - Autograph Letter Signed
ANS - Autograph Note Signed
AQS - Autograph Quotation Signed
AMQS - Autograph Musical Quotation Signed
DS - Document Signed
FDC - First Day Cover
Inscribed - “Personalized”
ISP - Inscribed Signed Photograph
LS - Letter Signed
SP - Signed Photograph
TLS - Typed Letter Signed