20 Facts About Bass Reeves


Bass Reeves was an American law enforcement official, historically noted as the first black deputy US marshal west of the Mississippi River.


Bass Reeves worked mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory.


When Bass was eight, William Reeves moved to Grayson County, Texas, near Sherman in the Peters Colony.


Bass Reeves severely beat George, and fled to the Indian Territory where he lived among the Cherokee, Creeks and Seminoles.


Bass Reeves stayed with these Native American tribes and learned their languages until he was freed by the Thirteenth Amendment's abolishment of slavery in 1865.


Fagan had heard about Bass Reeves, who knew the Territory and could speak several Native languages.


Bass Reeves recruited him as a deputy; Reeves was the first black deputy to serve west of the Mississippi River.


Bass Reeves was assigned as a deputy US marshal for the Western District of Arkansas, which had responsibility for the Native reservation Territory.


Bass Reeves worked for 32 years as a federal peace officer in the Indian Territory and became one of Judge Parker's most valued deputies.


Bass Reeves brought in some of the most dangerous fugitives of the time; he was never wounded despite having his hat and belt shot off on separate occasions.


When he retired in 1907, Bass Reeves had on his record over 3,000 arrests of felons.


Bass Reeves had to arrest his own son for murder; Benjamin "Bennie" Bass Reeves was charged with the murder of his own wife.


Bass Reeves served 11 years at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas before his sentence was commuted; he reportedly lived the rest of his life as a model citizen.


Bass Reeves served for two years before he became ill and retired.


Bass Reeves was himself once charged with murdering a posse cook.


Bass Reeves was eventually believed and acquitted, possibly based on his exceptional record.


Bass Reeves died of Bright's disease on January 12,1910.


Bass Reeves's children were named Newland, Benjamin, George, Lula, Robert, Sally, Edgar, Bass Jr.


Bass Reeves was a great-uncle of Paul L Brady, who became the first black man appointed as a federal administrative law judge in 1972.


Bass Reeves's great-great-grandson is former National Football League and Canadian Football League player Willard Reaves, while his great-great-great-grandsons are National Hockey League player Ryan Reaves and CFL player Jordan Reaves.