Texas Cherokee Chief Bowles Memorial Ceremony
July 15, 2006
by Paul Ridenour
When I created my Chief Bowles webpage around 2004, I began to get emails from Bowles descendants. I was invited to attend the annual Chief Bowles Memorial Ceremony in 2005 but was unable. I received an email from Eagle I (Eagle Douglas) of Desoto, Texas, about the ceremony in 2006. Dottie and were able to attend and I was looking forward to seeing Chief Chad Smith again along with some local Texans - Patti Haskins, Lynda Jones, Dot Mitchell, Linda Laminack, and Helen Starr-Hahn. I forwarded Eagle I's email to several Bowles and I was hoping to meet them including a Norma Bowles.
Chief Bowles and 800 Indians including Cherokees and other Indian tribes, were massacred on July 15 and 16 in 1839. It is known as the "Battle of the Neches" but should have been called "Massacre of the Neches" due to most of the Indians being old men, women, and children. The winners get to write the history however.
July 15th, 2006, was one of those Texas summer days with the heat reaching around 102 degrees. The ceremony was supposed to start at 7 PM but was a little late, perhaps closer to 8 PM. Danny Hair performed a "smudging" for those who were interested. "Smudging is the burning of certain herbs to create a cleansing smoke bath" - (www.crystalinks.com/smudging.html). Needless to say, even in the shade, it was very hot and humid. The wind wasn't blowing and by the time the ceremony began, it started to get dark and the fireflies and mosquitoes came out.
Although I do not have a copy of the attendance list, Betty Miller said it was the largest attendance they have ever had and I would say there were 100 to 150 present.
I had a hunch that Jack Baker may also attend and I was hoping to see him. As it turns out, Jack was there along with Taylor Keen and both were speaking since Chief Chad Smith was unable to attend at the last minute. Jack is the President of the National Trail of Tears Association and he and Taylor Keen were recently elected Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilmen At Large.
The Master of Ceremonies was Eagle I of the American Indian Cultural Society, Inc.
Betty Miller spoke on how to trace one's Cherokee roots.
After Jack and Taylor spoke briefly, they were presented with a gift from member Sondra MacAdams.
Danny Hair spoke about Chief Bowles and the massacre that happened on this land 167 years ago. Eagle and Danny led a walk to the monument. The memorial was over around 10 PM.
Dottie and I met some very nice people including some Adairs. Unfortunately, I did not meet any Bowles descendants. I figured they would recognize us from our webpage - www.paulridenour.com. Lynda Jones and Helen Starr-Hahn did not attend.
Molly Brewer (www.breweradvertising.com) and Patti Haskins (Archeological steward for the Texas Historical Commission)
Steve Heape (orange shirt) of Rich-Heape Films in Dallas, Texas
To order Rich-Heape Films "The Trail of Tears" DVD - www.richheape.com
Linda Laminack (Longview Public Library), Patti Haskins, Dot Mitchell, and Linda Ballard (Journalist for Kilgore News Herald)
Patti Haskins, Linda Laminack, and Dottie Ridenour at Chief Bowles marker
Karen Jeffry, Jim Jeffry (friends of Mary Adair, John Adair), and Jack Baker
Patti Haskins, Linda Laminack, and Jack Baker
Eagle I and Danny Hair (Chairman Ceremonial Leader - NAICAT Chairman and honorary ACIS member)
Blanche Williams and Betty Eberhardt (Adairs)
Original email from Eagle 1
American Indian Cultural Society, Inc.
Texas Registered Nonprofit 501(C)(3)
P.O. Box 1884,
Desoto, Texas 75123
Phone (214) 914-1516 24 Hour Fax (214) 333-1944
Eagle@airmail.net SONDRA MCADAMS: 2FEATHERS2@MSN.COM
HOST: American Indian Cultural Society, Inc. A.C.I.S.
COME, BE A PART OF
The annual “Battle Of The Neches” Memorial Ceremony (the second day battle
sight July 16, 1839, 167 years ago) will be held July 15, 2006 at 7:00 PM.
Honored Guest: Chief Chad Corntassel Smith, Principal Chief of the
Cherokee Nation. This will be the second time Chief Smith and his wife,
Mrs. Bobbie Smith, have honored us with their presence making this a truly
historic event. This will be the fifth consecutive year a representative
of The Nation will be present.
Master of Ceremonies: Eagle I – American Indian Cultural Society, Inc.
Chairman Ceremonial Leader: Danny Hair – NAICAT Chairman & honorary ACIS member
Other dignitaries have been invited to speak. There will be a
representative with the Genealogy research present to give helpful
On this LAND, the Texas Cherokee and 13 associated Indian tribal bands,
under the leadership of Chief John ‘Duwa’li’ Bowles, Chief Big Mush and
six other tribal chiefs, were slain July 16, 1839. This massacre by the
Republic of Texas Militia, under the direction of President Mirabeau
Lamar, took the lives of many innocent men, women and children along with
the burning of a Delaware village. The associated Indian tribal bands
were: Cherokee, Shawnee, Delaware, Kickapoo, Quapaw, Choctaw, Biloxi,
Ioni, Alabama, Coushatta, Caddo of the Neches, Tahocullake, Mataquo and
possibly other groups.
Many now and forever consider this LAND sacred ground. The spirits of the
men, women and children slain here can still be felt. Their BLOOD and
TEARS forever stain THE LAND.
ACIS has assumed the personal responsibility of preserving and maintaining
this sacred ground. Helping to preserve it as a Memorial and Sanctuary
for ALL who wish to HONOR and RESPECT the ancient culture of traditions,
customs and beliefs of ALL AMERICAN INDIAN PEOPLE.
COME BE A PART OF TRADITION – Bring lawn chairs – camping over night is
permitted with prior reservation. Cold drinks and water will be available
for a donation. FREE SUPPER before the ceremonies POT LUCK Please bring
RSVP: To the above e-mail addresses, fax or phone – please include the
number of people in your group that will be attending. Someone will be on
the LAND July 14th after noon for those that are camping. Water,
electricity and ‘necessary’ facilities are available.
Dallas (85 mi.) go east on I-20 toward Canton. Exit off
I-20 onto Hwy 64 turn right at the stop sign. Proceed on Hwy 64 through
Canton, Ben Wheeler and Midway to Redland (no town just a sign) this is
about 25 miles, watch for large sign on right depicting historical area.
Turn north (left) onto Van Zandt CR 4923 (2.4 mi) to the LAND watch for
From Tyler the LAND is about 12 miles west on Hwy 64, turn north (right)
onto Van Zandt CR 4923 (2.4 mi) to the site.
PRIVATE SECURITY PROVIDED
PLEASE, NO GROUND FIRES, ALCOHOL, DRUGS OR WEAPONS ALLOWED
“ Their voices shall never be silent, we walk with the ancestral spirits”