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For Immediate Release

November 16, 2011 Deputy Matthew Hyde, Eastern District of Oklahoma
(918) 687-2523
The Historic Life and Career of Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves Recognized and Commemorated

Eastern District of Oklahoma – The U.S. Marshals Office of the Eastern District of Oklahoma has continually worked to ensure the legacy of Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves. On November 30, 2010, the state of Oklahoma proclaimed that day to be “Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame Day” and additionally that Bass Reeves be inducted. On December 5, 2010, Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves was officially inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. U.S. Marshal John Loyd attended the ceremony and accepted a medal commemorating Bass Reeves’ induction on that historic day.

In November, 2011, the state legislature of Oklahoma passed an act officially declaring the bridge that crosses the Arkansas River between Muskogee and Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma as the “Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge”. On November 09, 2011, federal, state and local officials along with Bass Reeves descendants attended a dedication ceremony to officially name the bridge in Reeves honor. Oklahoma State Senator Kim David presented U.S. Marshal John Loyd a ceremonial replica of the bridge sign to be displayed in the offices of the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

Bass ReevesBass Reeves became the first African American, Deputy U.S. Marshal appointed west of the Mississippi river and one of the greatest peace officers in the history of the Old West.

Bass was born to slave parents in 1838. During the civil war, Bass escaped to Indian Territory, where he lived among the Seminole and Creek tribes, learning their languages. After the Emancipation Proclamation, Bass left Indian Territory and settled near Van Buren, Arkansas, where he became a farmer and rancher. Sometimes, he worked as a guide for the Deputy U.S. Marshals serving in the area. He married Nellie Jennie and raised ten children, five boys and five girls.

Isaac C. Parker, who became known as the Hanging Judge, was appointed judge for the Western District of Arkansas on May 10, 1875. Bass Reeves was appointed as a Deputy U.S. Marshal by U.S. Marshal James F. Fagan shortly thereafter. Bass served as a Deputy U.S. Marshal in Indian Territory for 32 years and was the only one to serve from Parker's appointment until Oklahoma's statehood. He became one of the most successful lawmen in American history, arresting more than 3,000 fugitives. Bass’ work as a Deputy U.S. Marshal ended in 1907 when Oklahoma was granted statehood. Bass worked for the Muskogee Police Department for two years until he was diagnosed with Bright's disease. He died on January 12, 1910.

Pictured below are Senator Kim David and U. S. Marshal John Loyd, displaying the aforementioned medal, certificate and ceremonial replica of the memorial sign.

Senator Kim David and U. S. Marshal John Loyd

Additional information about the U.S. Marshals Service can be found at



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