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See American Indian Culture, History: Battle of the Neches 180th Anniversary: July 13, 2019.

Come experience American Indian history, culture, food, and crafts on July 13, 2019, at the 180th anniversary of the Battle of the Neches, to be held at the 1839 battle site in eastern Van Zandt County. The event is sponsored by the American Indian Cultural Society: See their website at:

The anniversary will include Native American music and dances, stories, and food. Activities begin at 11:00 a.m. July 13, and the ceremony of the battle begins that day at 4:30 p.m. Overnight camping is allowed with a prior reservation; visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The location is in the Redland community, off Highway 64, about 20 miles east of Ben Wheeler. From Highway 64, turn north onto VZCR 4923, and watch for the signs to the Chief Bowles historical site. More information is available on the AICS website (above) or by contacting:, Or call 214-914-1516 or 903-425-8581.

The Battle of the Neches, which took place on July 15 and 16, 1839, was the last battle of the Cherokee War of 1838–1839 in Texas. The Army of the Republic of Texas faced off against the Texas Cherokee and 12 associated Indian tribal bands, led by Chief John “Duwa’li’” Bowles. Chief Bowles had repeatedly tried to negotiate with various non-Indian governments (including Mexico and the Republic of Texas) to secure a home for his people outside of the Oklahoma Indian Territory, where Native Americans from all over the continent were being forced to resettle. In July of 1839, with negotiations completely broken down and the Texas Army ordered to drive the Indians out of Texas, the two sides came to blows, resulting in the death of Chief Bowles and the defeat of the Indians. Many Indians were killed, and most survivors were forced to Oklahoma. In 1836, the Texas Legislature placed a granite memorial at the site of the Battle of the Neches, in honor of Chief Bowles, who had worked tirelessly for his people and who had died bravely in this tragic battle.

Granite marker at the place where Chief Bowles died at the Battle of the Neches.

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