Honoring Black History Month

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves, US Marshal 1975 – 1907 First black US Marshal in Indian Territory, including what is now known as Oklahoma.

Working among other lawmen that would also become legendary, such as Heck Thomas, Bud Ledbetter, and Bill Tilghman, Reeves began to ride the Oklahoma range in search of outlaws. Covering some 75,000 square miles, the United States Court at Fort Smith, was the largest in the nation.

Over the 35 years that Bass Reeves served as a Deputy United States Marshal, he earned his place in history by being one of the most effective lawmen in Indian Territory, bringing in more than 3,000 outlaws and helping to tame the lawless territory. Killing some 14 men during his service, Reeves always said that he "never shot a man when it was not necessary for him to do so in the discharge of his duty to save his own life."

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