His family was slaves of Arkansas state legislator William Steele Reeves so Bass took on his owner’s last name. When his family was freed they began farming in Arkansas. Their farm was right along Indian Territory where there were five different Indian tribes. Bass learned to speak a couple of these languages which got him into law enforcement as they needed people who knew their way around Indian Territory and could speak their languages. Even with his skill sets he never learned to read and write.
Bass caught over 3,000 felons during his 32 year career including some of the most notorious. Bass also used an Indian friend at times for various ruses to get the bad guys attention while he snuck up on them. I promised to give you something else that’s amazing…it’s believed Bass Reeves was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger. He was known to have tremendous integrity and was known for always getting his man and of course there’s the Indian brave at his side. The need to wear a mask? I don’t know.
I only shared a fraction of his unbelievable accomplishments and I have to wonder why he hasn’t gotten the coverage that men such as Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp have. Is it because he was black and honoring such men wasn’t popular back in those days? I can’t say for sure but at least you now know a little bit about an amazing person.