Howdy folks and greetings from the Great Plains of North Texas!
I've been reading about one of the most amazing characters I've ever heard of. He was one of the crucial Lawmen that helped tame the Wild West.
Being a lawman in a lawless frontier was a fearsome job and required a toughness, skill and courage that few men possessed.
Bass Reeves was such a man.
Born a slave in the 1830's his family was moved from Arkansas to Texas where he was worked like a dog by his owner, who wasn't exactly a kind man. One night while playing a game of poker the two got into it.
From a young age Bass had no tolerance for stealin
Apparently the owner was cheating and young Bass found that unacceptable so he slugged the man and knocked him out.
Well, in those days that was a death sentence...to lay a hand on your master. So Bass high-tailed it out of there and made his way to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
The Indians were very welcoming of escaped slaves and would adopt them into their tribe, hence we have many black Indians.
He stayed with the Creek, Seminole, and other tribes, learning their ways, their languages( he could speak 5 native languages) and also learned to track, hunt, and became an expert with the pistol and rifle.
How in the world do you go from slave to Unites States Marshall??
Bass stayed in Indian territory while the Civil War raged so afterwards he was a free man. He married and raised a family.
In 1875 President Ulysses S. Grant ordered a federal judge to bring the lawlessness of the Indian Territory under control because it was a mess.
Well, Bass had already worked as a guide for lawmen who had to venture into Indian Territory so he was a natural for the job. They offered and he accepted. He was the first black U.S. Marshall West of the Mississippi.
An outlaw's worst nightmare
He was also the most feared, most respected, and most prolific lawman in the history of the Wild West. He was the worst news for any criminal in Oklahoma and Texas and killed many bad men. He himself was the baddest of the bad!
If you were a criminal Bass would find you. His story is so remarkable that I'm going to do a series on him. A history professor(who is black) had been captivated by Bass's story for decades and decided to research the man.
He ended up writing a history book about Bass which is exhaustively researched so I'm getting that sometime soon. Let me know if you'd like to see me do a series on Bass.
Thanks for reading folks, God bless you all!