Did Sam Bass ever work as a deputy U.S. marshal before becoming an outlaw?
Silver Spring, Maryland
A number of legends have sprung up about Sam Bass. He went to Texas in around 1870 to become a cowboy. Despite some accounts referring to him as a sheriff’s deputy, the closest he came to being any kind of lawman was around 1870 when he took a job working as a farmhand for Denton County Sheriff, W.F. “Dad” Eagan. His duties included currying the horses, milking the cows, fixing fences, cutting firewood and working as a teamster. Ironically, when Sam decided to become an outlaw, Dad Egan was one of the lawmen who pursued him.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@