This man was truly good at what he did. In fact, when you look at his record it almost seems unbelievable. The accounts of the day say that all the stories are true, though. From the site at Listverse, let's take a look at Bass Reeves
Photo via Wikimedia
In the years after the Civil War, the Indian Territory of modern Oklahoma had a reputation as the most lawless place in the country. So many criminals sought refuge there that Native American children had a song about it: “Oh, what was your name in the States? Was it Johnson or Thompson or Bates? Did you kill your wife, and fly for your life? Say, what was your name in the States?” Of around 200 US Marshals killed in the line of duty, 130 were killed in Indian Territory during the period.
So when “the Hanging Judge” Isaac C. Parker arrived to bring order to the territory in 1875, he sought to commission the best of the best as US Marshals. And he lucked out with Bass Reeves, a former slave who would become arguably the finest lawman in the history of the West.
Born in Arkansas, Reeves fled to Oklahoma after punching his owner out during a game of cards. He apparently lived with the Creek and Seminole nations during this time and became fluent in several Native American languages. As a Deputy US Marshal, he would count on his good relationships with the tribes to stay one step ahead of the outlaws who left cards promising to kill any lawman who stepped over the “Dead Line” into Indian Territory. But even the most vicious outlaws were no match for Reeves, who captured over 3,000 criminals and killed more than a dozen in 27 years as a marshal. He was so successful that he used to head out with a wagon, a cook, and one other lawman, do a circuit of Oklahoma, and return with a dozen wanted criminals tied behind the wagon. On one occasion, he bumped into three notorious outlaws coming down a trail. A short gunfight later, two of the outlaws were dead and the third had surrendered. On another occasion, he rode into the middle of a lynch mob and rescued their intended victim. Nobody in the mob even tried to stop Bass Reeves. Later, he halted a budding race war in a small town by arresting everyone involved.
But Bass’s career wasn’t without tragedy. In his most famous case, he had to track down and arrest his own son, who would be sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife.
Not only did Mr. Reeves have more than his share of backbone, but he was true to the oath that he made when he became a U.S. Marshall. A true man of character, I'd say!
How about if we have coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps are going up to 81 they say!