Learn the story behind the famous Bowie Knife

Meet the man behind the iconic blade

WASHINGTON, Ark. (Ark-La-Tex Weekend) - The Bowie Knife is probably one of the most famous knives ever created in the United States and it has ties to the Ark-La-Tex. History shows that James Bowie was traveling through Washington, Arkansas on his way to Texas when he commissioned James Black to forge the large weapon.

The Historic Washington State Park takes a look back at the life of the knife maker in a new exhibition: “James Black: Life and Legacy.” From the park press release, “In this exhibit, learn more about the man behind the legend and stories of the Bowie Knife. Like many during his time, James Black moved west to Arkansas for new possibilities. He had successes and tragedies. Though he is best known for his blade making skills, there is more to his life that reflects the struggles of many on the frontier. His name continues to be mentioned as part of the history of Washington, Arkansas, and America.” You can see many varieties of the knife on display at the B.W. Edwards Weapons Museum.

The opening reception takes place at 2:00pm on Sunday, April 10, 2022 at the 1874 Courthouse Visitor Center. Admission to the reception is free and enjoy some refreshments. The park is open daily from 8:00am - 5:00pm daily (except on Mondays). The James Black exhibit lasts until January 28, 2023.

Robert Streeter

Robert Streeter

Lead content producer for the Ark-La-Tex Weekend as well as Creative Services Producer.