Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves (deceased) was born as a slave in Arkansas Territory in 1838. He grew up in Texas where he took the surname of his master, George Reeves. As a young man he escaped into Indian Territory where he became friends with the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Indians.
After serving as a guide for US marshals for several years, Reeves was commissioned in 1875 as a deputy marshal, riding out of Ft. Smith Federal Judge Isaac Parker's court into Indian Territory, given his knowledge of the Indian Territory and ability to speak several Indian languages. Reeves worked thirty=two years as a federal peace officer before retiring from federal service in 1907.
During his tenure as a marshal he had arrested over 3,000 felons, admitted having to shoot and kill fourteen outlaws in defending his life while making arrests, and became one of the "most feared" US marshals in Indian Territory.
At the time of Oklahoma's statehood in 1907, Reeves, at the age of sixty-eight, became a member of the Muskogee Oklahoma Police Department. Reeves and his wife Nellie Jennie raised a family of ten children, five boys and five girls. In 1992 Reeves was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Center. In 2007 the US Route 62 Bridge crossing the Arkansas River, connecting Muskogee with Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, was named the Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge in his honor.