Stephen F. Austin State University

Bowie County

Bowie County is situated in the far northeast corner of East Texas, bordering both Oklahoma and Arkansas. Named for famed Texas revolutionary Jim Bowie, the County's seat and largest city is Texarkana. The county shares the vast forests of East Texas, as well as abundant amounts of oil and natural gas. Archaeological evidence suggests that Caddoan tribes lived in the area as early as the 1500s. European explorers likely reached the area in 1542 with Luis Moscoso. It was not until the 1680s that migration into Bowie County became a regular venture for Anglo-Europeans.

Bowie County's economic bases were agriculture and livestock ranching. During the antebellum period, many farmers inhabited the area and became moderately wealthy from agriculture. Much like other southern cities during the pre-Civil War era, the cotton industry produced the largest profit margin in the county. The staple income was agriculture up to World War II, when the county shifted to mechanized production for the war effort. During the 1940s, oil and gas reserves were discovered and became a new source of income. The oil and gas industries provided Bowie County with a very sustainable economic base up through the early 2000s.

Attractions include the County Courthouse and Jail, along with several higher education facilities Texarkana College and Texas A&M University, Texarkana.



Museum/Historic Site

Text: Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association.