Near the end of May 1803, William Augustus Bowles, the dashing adventurer and agent provocateur, whose schemes had ruffled the Creek Country and Gulf Coast for two decades, stood with arms bound on a small island in the Tallapoosa River.1 Shortly, newly-forged handcuffs replaced the rope and represented a subtle and effective symbol of the outlaw's transfer of custody from Indian to European control. Once in Spanish hands, Bowles floated peacefully away from the center of Creek power toward his ultimate demise in Havana's El Morro prison in December 1805. The story of Bowles's misadventures in the tumultuous post-Revolutionary South has been told and re-told, and still garners significant attention.2 Inevitably described as handsome and charming, Bowles' actions have been cast as "adventures," and his conspiracies to undermine both Spanish authority and the commercial hegemony of Panton, Leslie and Company have been romanticized and analyzed since the publication of his own "memoir" in 1791.
Braund, Kathryn H.
"Introduction: A Journal of John Forbes, Part 2: The Continuation of a Journal of Talks with the Four Nations Assembled at Hickory Ground, May & June 1803,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 94:
3, Article 11.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol94/iss3/11