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What Happened to Bass Reeves’ Daughter?


The seventh episode of Paramount+’s Western series ‘Lawmen: Bass Reeves’ depicts Sally Reeves, Bass Reeves’ firstborn, leaving behind a written piece of paper on her mother’s piano suspiciously. Sally deals with the absence of Arthur Mayberry, who disappears from her life after they get into an altercation with a group of white boys. While she suffers from loneliness, the group places a burning scarecrow in the compound of her family to scare her and the rest of the Reeves. Her mother Jennie Reeves soon realizes that her daughter has become the target of a senseless bunch, alarming her! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Suspicious Writing

Throughout the episode, Sally writes on paper, only to leave the same behind after she is done. The writing is nothing but a poem she wrote about “freedom.” After Arthur runs away from her and possibly Van Buren to safeguard himself from the white boys, Sally confronts loneliness severely. The boy has been her constant companion and his absence must be unsettling her as a void in her life. Since Sally loves him, it is understandable that she likely wants to join him. However, she may know very well that she doesn’t have the “freedom” to do whatever she wants and abandon her family.

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The inspiration behind the poem can be the lack of independence she is dealing with at the Reeves household. Her actions are governed mostly by her mother Jennie, who will never allow her to join Arthur. The burning scarecrow must have killed any chances of her seeing the boy again. The same can be just a start of what’s ahead for the Reeves. After knowing that Bass is not home, the white boys may not settle the predicament with just a scarecrow. They may target the Reeves again. With them being present around her family, Sally may not be able to leave her house and try to find out what really happened to Arthur.

Sally’s Fate Beyond Lawmen: Bass Reeves

In reality, Sally or Sallie Reeves gave birth to a boy named Charley around 1881. The father of the child is unknown. Furthermore, Bass didn’t include Charley in his will despite him being his grandson but he didn’t forget to add his firstborn. In 1886, Sally married Green Saunders/Sanders, a cook who worked at the Royal Café in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The couple lived together at 712 North 10th Street in the city. In 1899, Sallie had another child named Topsy but the latter died in the same year.

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Sallie and Green remained in touch with the Reeves. When Jennie died in 1896, Green dealt with the funeral arrangements, especially while Bass was absent. “It is apparent to me that Bass Reeves was not residing with his wife at the time of her death because a man named Green Saunders, Reeves’s son-in-law [daughter Sallie’s husband], paid for the burial, which was conducted by Birnie Funeral Home in Fort Smith,” historian Art T. Burton wrote in his book ‘Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves.’

Sallie and Green also helped the former’s brother Benjamin “Bennie” Reeves in time of need. Bennie was reportedly arrested for murdering his wife and he sought the help of his sister to get released from prison. “On September 22, 1911, Bennie sent his sister Sallie Sanders and her husband of Fort Smith a blank deed in the hopes of securing funds to aid in his efforts to obtain a pardon or commutation of sentence. When the deed was executed, he asked for it to be forwarded to A. C. Spahn at 816 Emporia Street in Muskogee,” reads ‘Black Gun, Silver Star.’

Green died in 1914. Since her husband’s death and her inclusion in Bass’ will, there are no reports available that shed light on what happened to Sallie. According to Find a Grave, she died on January 2, 1933, in Sebastian County, Arkansas, at the age of 71.

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Read More: Why Does Bass Reeves See Esau Pierce in His Visions?

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