James Bowie was born near Terrapin Creek (now Spring Creek) where it crosses Bowie's Mill Road (Turnertown Road), nine miles northwest of Franklin, Logan County (now Simpson County), Kentucky, probably on April 10, 1796. He was the son of Reason (or Rezin) and Elve Ap-Catesby Jones (or Johns) Bowie. In 1794 Reason Bowie had moved his family from Tennessee to Logan County, where he farmed and operated a gristmill with the help of eight slaves. In February 1800 he moved to Madrid, in what is now Missouri. On May 2, 1801, at Rapides, Louisiana, Reason Bowie and his brothers David, Rhesa, and John swore allegiance to the Spanish government. In October the families settled on farms in what is now Catahoula Parish. There Reason's sons, James, John J., Stephen, and Rezin P. Bowie, grew to manhood. The family took an active part in community affairs and the elder Bowie reportedly became the largest slaveowner in his locale, with twenty slaves. About 1809 the Bowie clan moved to the Atakapa country in southeastern Louisiana; there Reason purchased 640 acres on the Vermilion River near the mouth of Little Bayou. He then developed a plantation near Opelousas, where he grew cotton and sugarcane, raised livestock, and bought and sold slaves. Reason Bowie died there around 1821.