Bowl (ca. 1756–1839)

By: Dianna Everett

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 30, 2020

Chief Bowl (also known as Duwali, Diwal'li, Chief Bowles, Colonel Bowles, Bold Hunter, and the Bowl), the principal chief of the Cherokees in Texas, was born in North Carolina around 1756. He was the son of a Scottish father and a full-blooded Cherokee mother. Duwali was leader of a village at Little Hiwassee (in western North Carolina). In 1791 he signed the Treaty of Holston, and in 1805 he signed an unauthorized cession treaty, a move that proved unpopular with the majority of Cherokees. In early 1810, to access better hunting ground and to escape growing pressures of settlement in the southern states, he and his band moved across the Mississippi River and settled in the St. Francis River valley, near New Madrid, Missouri. In 1812–13 his people moved into northwestern Arkansas, south of the Arkansas River, and in 1819 they once more moved on, stopping briefly in southwestern Arkansas and at the three forks of the Trinity River before settling north of Nacogdoches. In Texas Chief Bowl became the primary "civil" chief or "peace chief" of a council that united several Cherokee villages. In 1822 he sent diplomatic chief Richard Fields to Mexico to negotiate with the Spanish government for a land grant or title to land occupied by Cherokees in East Texas. In 1827 he cooperated with the Mexican government in putting down the Fredonian Rebellion. In 1833 he made another attempt to secure from the Mexican government land on the Angelina, Neches, and Trinity rivers, but negotiations were interrupted by political unrest in Texas. In February of 1836 Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with Bowl's council, guaranteeing the tribe possession of lands occupied in East Texas. After the Texas Revolution, however, the treaty was invalidated by the Senate of the Republic of Texas. In desperation, Bowl briefly allied with agents soliciting allies for a Mexican reinvasion of Texas. Shortly thereafter, President Mirabeau B. Lamar ordered him and his people to leave Texas. After negotiations failed, Bowl mobilized his warriors to resist expulsion. On July 16, 1839, Chief Bowl was killed in the battle of the Neches. On this site, the scene of the last engagement between the Cherokees and Whites in Texas, the state of Texas erected a marker in 1936.

Mary Whatley Clarke, Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971). Dianna Everett, The Texas Cherokees: A People between Two Fires, 1819–1840 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990). Dorman Winfrey, "Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees," Chronicles of Oklahoma 32 (Spring 1954). E. W. Winkler, "The Cherokee Indians in Texas," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 7 (October 1903). Albert Woldert, "The Last of the Cherokees in Texas and the Life and Death of Chief Bowles," Chronicles of Oklahoma 1 (June 1923).

  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Chiefs and Other Leaders
Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Dianna Everett, “Bowl,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 30, 2020