What Illness Did Jim Bowie Have Before the Alamo?

marshall trimble ask the marshall true west magazine

What illness did Jim Bowie have that confined him to a cot just before the final Mexican attack on the Alamo?

Duff Hale
Midlothian, Texas

It’s likely he had advanced tuberculosis, also known as consumption or lung disease. It was quite common and contagious. Some believe Bowie had typhoid pneumonia. He also was a heavy drinker. I think a combination of the three wrecked his health.

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona Outlaws and Lawmen; The History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or email him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.