James E. Bowdoin

No Image of the Agent Available
Date of Birth: 
Date of Death: 
February 16, 1925
Location of Death: 
Caryville, FL

Circumstances of Death

Prohibition Agent James Bowdoin and other agents were searching for stills at Hewett Berry Landing on the Choctawhatchee River near Caryville, FL.  During the search they discovered a 10-gallon still on a barge.  As the agents examined the still, another boat arrived with three armed suspects and gunfire was exchanged.  Agent Bowdoin and suspect Houston Harris were killed.  Two other suspects, Harvey Walker and Sumpter Harris were wounded.  Harvey Walker was charged with the killing of Agent Bowdoin.


James Bowdoin was appointed a Prohibition Agent on February 6, 1924, with an annual salary of $1,800.  He was assigned to the Tampa, FL, field office.  The news media of the day dubbed Agent Bowdoin as "Pistol Pete" because of his prowess with a firearm.  News of his death received wide spread coverage in Florida.  For several days, anger over Agent Bowdoin's death was so high that authorities considered bringing in State troops to prevent the killing of other moonshiners.


Agent Bowdoin was born in Alabama.  He was survived by his wife and buried in Tallahassee, FL.

Associated Artifacts: 
Newspaper article regarding James Bowdoin
Newspaper article regarding James Bowdoin
Newspaper article regarding James Bowdoin
Last Reviewed September 23, 2016