Women Of the Wild West

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Belle Star

Belle Starr is showcased by Deb Miller

Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr better known ad “Belle Starr “was a notorious American outlaw. Born Feb 5, 1848 near Carthage, Missouri her father was the “Black Sheep” of his affluent family with a taste fine living without following the rules.  John was a prospering Horse and Hog Rancher as well as a prospering wheat and corn farmer, which saw May classically educated, affluent in piano and graduating from a private institution that her father helped found. 

Distant relatives to the Hatfields, of the infamous feud, she lived with her family up to the civil war in Scyene, Texas where the family became associated with a number of Missouri born criminals like Jesse James and the Youngers.  She was briefly, 3 weeks, married to Charles Younger and gave birth to her daughter Pearl after the marriage had dissolved.  This fact has sine been refuted by Charles’s Nephew Cole who said the claim to the family name was “total rubbish”

In 1880 she married a Cherokee man, Sam Starr and settled with the Starr family in the Indian Territory.  There she learned ways of organizing, planning and fencing for rustlers, horse thieves and bootleggers as well as harbouring them from the law.  Her illegal enterprises gave her the means to employ bribery for freeing cohorts from the law when caught. 

In 1883 she was arrested tried and convicted of horse theft in Fort Smith Arkansas.  Found guilty she served 9 months as a model prisoner.

In 1886 she escaped conviction of another charge and was witness to a gunfight that ended the happiest relationship of her life, being her marriage.  Sam Starr was killed in the gun fight on December 7, 1886.  Belle, devastated from the loss became reclusive and much of her life from that point on is subject to gossip and scandal.  It is said that she married a relative of Sam, Jim July Starr, who was 15 years her junior, to keep her land. 

She was killed on Feb 3, 1889in Oklahoma.  There are many schools of thought surrounding her death.  Some feel that it was the result of spurned advances at a dance where a very angry and drunk Edgar Watson followed her and ambushed her while she was watering her horse.  Others agree that it was Edgar but it was because she was going to turn him into authorities to collect the price on his head.  Either way Edgar was hanged or her murder.  Lastly there are those who feel that she was killed by her own son who was angry for a beating he had taken by her hand after she mistreated her horse.