Bowie is an incorporated community on U.S. Highway 81 fifteen miles southwest of Montague in southwestern Montague County. In 1882, when the tracks of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway were built through the area, local settlers who had been there since the early 1860s moved to the site of the construction camps, and soon businesses appeared in canvas tents. A townsite was laid out on August 15, 1882, and residents applied for a post office to be named for James Bowie. On July 22, 1884, residents voted to incorporate the new town. Bowie became a market and financial center for farmers and ranchers between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. In 1885 it had a population of 1,000, three hotels, a bank, a weekly newspaper, schools, and a number of churches. The Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railway came to Bowie in 1893, and by 1900 the community had an estimated 2,600 residents. By the mid-1920s Bowie had a population of 3,000 and about 100 businesses, including four banks, two weekly newspapers, a hospital, and a business college (opened in 1912). During the mid-1950s the population was 6,796, and by the late 1980s the town reported 5,818 residents and 160 businesses. By then Bowie was the largest town in Montague County. In 1990 its population was 4,990, and it rose in 2000 to 5,219.