Bass Reeves was a legendary lawman in the American Old West who served as a deputy U.S. Marshal in the late 1800s.
Born into slavery in 1838 in Arkansas, Reeves escaped to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) during the Civil War and lived among the Seminole and Creek Nations.
He eventually became a deputy U.S. Marshal in 1875, serving for over 30 years and earning a reputation as a skilled tracker and marksman who brought in some of the most dangerous outlaws of his time.
Reeves was known for his bravery, intelligence, and unwavering commitment to justice, and he is credited with arresting more than 3,000 criminals during his career.
Despite facing discrimination and racism as a Black man in law enforcement during a time of segregation, Reeves was highly respected by his fellow lawmen and the communities he served.
His legacy has inspired numerous books, movies, and TV shows, and he is widely regarded as one of the most remarkable figures of the Old West.
Bass Reeves children
Reeves had a total of 11 children.
His first wife was Nellie Jennie, whom he married in 1864, and they had 9 children together, according to a report on Wikipedia.
According to AP News, after Nellie’s death in 1896, Reeves married Winnie Sumter in 1900, and had two more children.
In no particular order, the names of Reeves’ children are Newland, Benjamin, George, Lula, Robert, Sally, Edgar Bass Jr., Harriet, Homer and Alice.
What did Benjamin Reeves do?
Benjamin or Bennie was the son of Reeves and Nellie Jennie, born in 1880.
In a tragic turn of events, Bennie was charged with the murder of his wife after he found her with another man for the second time.
In a jealous rage, he beat the man senseless and shot his wife.
Marshal Leo Bennett, Reeves’ boss, initially did not want to give Reeves the warrant to arrest his own son.
However, Reeves insisted, and he was eventually given the assignment to bring in Bennie.
Revees, being a dedicated lawman, tracked down and captured his son, who was then tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Bennie served his time in Fort Leavenworth in Kansas before being released, and he was never in trouble with the law again for the rest of his life.
Bass Reeves career
Reeves had a remarkable career as a lawman in the American West during the late 19th century.
Born into slavery in 1838, Reeves eventually became the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi River.
His life and accomplishments have inspired numerous stories and legends, often drawing comparisons to the fictional character of the Lone Ranger.
Reeves began his law enforcement career in 1875, when he was appointed as a deputy U.S. marshal for the Western District of Arkansas.
He was tasked with bringing law and order to the Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma.
This area was known for its lawlessness, with outlaws, bandits, and fugitives taking advantage of the lack of a strong law enforcement presence.
Reeves was an exceptional lawman, known for his courage, intelligence and tracking skills.
He was also a master of disguise, often using various aliases and disguises to infiltrate criminal organizations and apprehend wanted individuals.
Reeves was fluent in several Native American languages, which helped him communicate and gather information from the tribes in the Indian Territory.
During his career, he reportedly arrested over 3,000 criminals, and it is said that he killed 14 outlaws in self-defense.
He was known for his strict adherence to the law and his commitment to justice, regardless of a person’s race or background.
Reeves was also a trailblazer in breaking down racial barriers, as he was one of the first black lawmen to work alongside white deputies and judges.
Reeves served as a deputy U.S. marshal for 32 years, and he retired in 1907 at the age of 68.
Despite his remarkable career, Reeves’ story was largely forgotten until recent years, when historians and researchers began to uncover his accomplishments.
Today, he is recognized as one of the most successful and influential lawmen of the Wild West.