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Bass Reeves

Bass REEVES Deputy U.S. Marshal  was born Jul 1838 in Arkansas and died 12 January 1910 in Muskogee, Muskogee, Oklahoma and is buried at the The Old Creek Agency Cemetery, Muskogee Creek Nation, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Though much is not known of his early years, it is repeated he was born a slave in Texas. All records indicate he was likely born in Paris Texas and later located in Crawford Co., Arkansas. Though his wife was born in Texas as well as several of their children. It is not until the 1870 census that he is actually identified in the census records, and in Arkansas claiming an Arkansas birth. In 1880 his residency is age 32 and living Van Buren, Crawford County, Arkansas “U.S. Deputy Marshall.” In 1910 he is enumerated in the Creek Nation, Indian Territory with a Texas birth for himself and both parents. Though his age fluctuates his birth location remains Arkansas until the 1910 schedule and he is enumerated with a new wife Winne Jane Foreman Summer born in Indian Territory her father born in Alabama and mother born in Virginia, and step daughter Estella Summer. Bass and family are listed as Mulatto, and Black.

I believe he was closely related to these families through yDNA testing

Gen Family Line for # 20642 Birth Date Birth Place Death Date Death Place Military Service
1 James Countryman Reeves, Jr 1939 Conecuh, AL Living
2 James Countryman Reeves, Sr 1914 Conecuh, AL 1993 Baldwin, AL
3 Thomas Francis Reeves 1886 Conecuh, AL 1939 Conecuh, AL
4 James Coleman Reeves 1849 Macon, AL 1928 Conecuh, AL
5 James Coleman Reeves 1815 GA 1875 Conecuh, AL
6 Coleman Reeves (Probably) bef 1800 GA aft 1848 AL

Who was also a perfect genetic match with

Gen Family Line for # 27040 Birth Date Birth Place Death Date Death Place Military Service
1 Kenneth Clyde Reeves 1965 Polk, FL Living
2 Ray Clyde Reeves 1930 Conecuh, AL 1984 Polk, FL
3 Walter Clyde Reeves 1917 Conecuh, AL 2002 Hollywood, FL
4 James Jefferson Reeves Nov 22, 1888 Conecuh, AL 19-Jan-56 Lauderdale, FL
5 James Coleman Reeves 1849 Macon, AL 1928 Conecuh, AL
6 James Coleman Reeves 1815 GA 1875 Conecuh, AL
7 Coleman Reeves (Probably) bef 1800 GA aft 1848 AL

US Deputy Marshalls Ft Smith Ark Bass Reeves

Bass Reeves Muskogee Indian Territory

Some genealogy shows that his mother was Paralee WASHINGTON GAUTIER born 1821 and died in 1918. Though no source can be located to date. Bass married first to Jinny Jane Unknown Reeves, born  about 1850 in Arkansas and died about 1896 in Arkansas. Their children were Sally Reeves born about 1864 sometimes Texas birth , sometimes Arkansas birth, Robert Reeves born about 1866 in Texas or Arkansas, Harriet Reeves born about 1868 in Texas or Arkansas, George Reeves born 1870 in Arkansas, Alis Reeves born about 1872, Newland Reeves born about 1873, Edgar Reeves born about 1876, Lula Reeves born about 1878, Benjamin Reeves born about 1880, Homer Reeves born about 1882 and died about 1903, Bass Reeves Jr born 1887 died 1901, and Ada Mary REEVES.

Bass next married [2] Winnie Jane Foreman Summer REEVES children born to this union are unknown.

Bass Reeves, a Western Lawman lead an intriguing life as a Deputy Marshall, brave, physically stealthy with keen tracking sense and a sharp mind. He had obviously been hiding out in Indian Territory after as an legend to be a runaway slave from later Senator Reeves. Bass spoke several Indian languages along with Creek Muskogee. All census records indicate he was unable to read, or write. Bass was able to “memorized” thousands of warrants and brought in as many outlaws to Fort Smith Arkansas. Hand picked by Col Parker, the famed “Hanging Judge” Bass served an impeccable career and reputation, even bringing in his own son on murder charges as a U.S. Deputy Marshall in Indian Territory. And, over the years Reeves gained a reputation for persistence, fearlessness. incredible marksmanship and the ability to outsmart lawbreakers, according to historical records. In 1882, Reeves arrested outlaw Belle Starr for horse theft. According to some accounts, Starr turned herself in when she heard that the legendary Reeves was looking for her. The Starr family of Louisiana Texas are noted relations to the Mixed blood Redbones and many descendants are among the Mt. Tabor Community and Thompson Choctaws. In 1889, after Reeves was assigned to Paris, Texas, he went after the Tom Story gang for their infamous horse theft operation. Reeves reportedly waited along the route that Tom Story used, and surprised the gang leader with an arrest warrant. Story panicked and drew his gun, but Reeves shot him dead before Story could fire. The rest of the Tom Story gang disbanded and were never heard from again. Reeves later killed two of the murderous Brunter brothers and arrested the third. In 1887, the black Deputy Marshall was arrested himself and charged with murdering his posse cook, William Leach. Brought to trial before Judge Parker, Reeves testified that he shot Leach by accident while cleaning his gun, and was acquitted. Reeves later became an officer of the Muskogee, Oklahoma, police department at the age of 68 (pictured above with cane in his hand, sitting on the ground). He died of Bright’s disease, a liver condition, on January 12, 1910, at the age of 72. Though he is buried at the Musckogee Old Agency Cemetery, his actual burial location is unknown.

‘Bass Reeves’, a fictionalized film of the lawman’s life and military career was produced and released by Ponderous Productions of San Antonio, Texas, in 2010.

Actor Morgan Freeman has spent more than five years attempting to get the story of Reeves to the big screen, according to the film news site IndieWire.com.

Open land: As a Deputy U.S. Marshal, Reeves patrolled 75,000 square miles of Indian Territory

Open land: As a Deputy U.S. Marshal, Reeves patrolled 75,000 square miles of Indian Territory

32-year career: Reeves retired from Federal service in 1907

32-year career: Reeves retired from Federal service in 1907. Bass was later inducted posthumously into the Ranger Hall of Fame

There are many wonderful articles on the net concerning Bass Reeves life, reputation and work over the years, few articles address his family and the legends which also surround his early life. Many years ago, a researcher related to me that Bass Reeves mother was a Goins and married to a Bass and might likely be of Redbone heritage. We are sure that the Reeves, Bass families are related to the Redbones, I was unable to make any sound connections to those known families. Such is the status of many of the Mixed blood Indians families whose heritage, origins and background are left to legend and mystery.

Books On The Incredible Life of Bass Reeves

Read More Articles on The History of Bass Reeves

bassreeves statue ft smith arkansas

Bass Reeves statue at Ft Smith Arkansas

Memorial at Find A Grave

The Real Life Django

U.S. Marshals – Two Centuries of Bravery

Isaac C. Parker – Hanging Judge of Indian Territory

Fort Smith National History Site

Old West Lawmen & Gunfighters Photo Print Gallery

 

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