The Indians taught Reeves the art of disguise during his training. He was taught to crouch in the saddle to appear smaller than he actually was.

Reeves became a vigilante, covering 75,000 square miles of territory. Although he couldn’t read or write, he was an expert at his job. When assigned to an outlaw, he would have someone read him the warrants and memorize its contents. He knew which warrant was which when he had to prove his capture. He would use disguises and aliases to capture his men, dressing as a cowboy, farmer, gunslinger, and even an outlaw.  Bass carried two Colt pistols, butt-forward for a fast draw.

Of the countless arrests by Bass Reeves, his most memorable capture was of his own son, who was accused of murder. In 1907, Bass Reeves worked as a city policeman in Muskogee County, Oklahoma.

In 1910, Bass Reeves died of Brights Disease. His grave is unknown, though a bronze statue of him that stands 23 feet in height was erected in Fort Smith, Arkansas in May 2012.

Little Known Black History Fact: Bass Reeves  was originally published on

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