Our History

In the Beginning


Before the formal formation of the City of Bowie, the people already living in this area, along with the group that came with the railroad, were a hardy and courageous people who suffered many hardships, many times sacrificing their lives for others; therefore, it was most appropriate that Bowie was named after the great Texas hero James "Jim" Bowie. The name Bowie is synonymous with courage, strength, and faith in a cause that James "Jim" Bowie showed so clearly in his defense at the Alamo. It was with this spirit that the leaders of this railroad community selected the name Bowie and incorporated on October 29, 1883.


Cleaning Up Our City


During the period from 1882 until March 27, 1907, the saloons on Smythe Street and the brothels operated continually, but not without various kinds of trouble, including fighting and killing. All of this trouble reached a climax on March 27, 1907, when two of Bowie's marshals were shot down without warning by two brothers named Walker and Bob Hargrove. The next day a law and order meeting was held to demand the removal of the saloons and brothels. Within 48 hours they were removed from town. The conclusion of these events brought happiness and contentment in the hearts of these people who had dreams for their community.

Formation of the Police Department


On June 1, 1909, the City Council passed an ordinance setting up a police department for Bowie. On July 6,1909, J.P. Adams was appointed as the first city policeman. Bowie continued to operated with a city marshal until the position was abolished on October 26, 1959. At that time, A.J. Martin was appointed as Bowie's first police chief.

On April 24, 1961, the first three ladies were hired at the Police Department to be radio operators. The City Council employed Ruby Baccus, Ethel Tomlinson, and Clemma Mitchell to serve as the radio operators. Then, the City Council passed a dog ordinance on April 4, 1964, and instructed the chief of police to establish a position for Animal Control warden. The department was also instructed to find a suitable location to construct the city's first animal shelter. Finally, a police reserve force was established on April 15, 1980. The ordinance authorized a reserve police force of 10 officers to provide additional personnel for emergency and unforeseen circumstances.