In the history of the early days of Eastern Oklahoma the name of Bass Reeves has a place in the front rank among those who cleansed out the old Indian Territory of outlaws and desperadoes. No story of the conflict of government's officers with those outlaws, which ended only a few years ago with the rapid filling up of the territory with with people, can be complete without mention of the Negro who died yesterday.
For thirty-five years, beginning way back in the seventies and ending in 1907, Bass Reeves was a Deputy United States Marshal. During that time he was sent to arrest some of the most desperate characters that ever infested Indian Territory and endangered life and peace in its borders. And he got his man as often as any of the deputies. At times he was unable to get them alive and so in the course of his long service he killed 14 men. But Bass 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.
Reeves served under seven United States marshals and all of them were more than satisfied with his services. Everybody who came in contact with the Negro deputy in an official capacity had a great deal of respect for him, and at the court house in Muskogee one can hear stories of his devotion to duty, his unflinching courage and his many thrilling experiences. And although he could not write or read, he always took receipts and had his accounts in good shape...
Credit: Author Art T. Burton. Originally printed in Persimmon Hill Magazine, published by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.