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Sunday, October 3, 2010


By 1838, so great was the concern about the deadly bowie knife that it was banned in several Southern states. The hysteria surrounding the weapon amused more sober-minded people, as evidenced by the following satirical article published in the Vermont U.S. Gazette. Under the headline "SHOCKING ACCIDENT--TWO MEN KILLED"  it describes the tragic denouement of Mr. John Adams' attempt to cut open a wheel of cheese. His initial efforts to penetrate its hard wax rind having failed, he adopted a new strategy:

[Adams] therefore placed it edgeways on his breast, and taking a strong Bowy knife, on putting his right hand on the handle, and his left on the back near the point, he pulled with all his might; the knife slipped from the flinty surface of the cheese, cut John in halves, also his son, a lad of eighteen, who from fear got behind his father!

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