Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Belle Starr's Grave


" Well behaved women rarely make history."

*** Her grave as it is today ***

I made the trip to Eufaula Oklahoma a couple of weeks ago for a family get together. I was going to visit the grave site of Belle Starr on this trip, but read up on the burial location before going. The site is rather run down, on private property and on a dead end road. You have to rustle up the owners and tramp through an unkempt weedy trail. The original stone has been removed or is gone from what I understand, so I decided not to go.
I find this disheartening, that a well known historical figure, albeit outlaw, from the old west does not have a more revered grave site. I think the sad fact is, most of the famous people we know from that time have also been left in obscure places and have faded away, forgotten.

***Her grave as it was originally***

Belle Starr was "The Bandit Queen," associated with Jesse James and the Youngers.
She once made the comment to a newspaper reporter -" I am a friend to any brave and gallant outlaw." She was shot in the back one evening as she was riding home, which proved fatal. Some say it was her son, whom she did not get along with who killed her. She had beaten him with a riding quirt just two days before for taking her favorite horse without permission. He had said he would kill her for that. After her death, an Oklahoma farmer wrote the following:

"When night settles down over that canyon yonder you can hear the sounds of guns firing along the river, the clanking of chains of the prisoners marching to their cells. All through the night, Belle Starr's favorite mare can be heard pawing the ground near her grave, and if a gun is fired into the ground near Belle's grave the sod will flare up and pop like the pistols of bandits a-firin' from the hip."

On her gravestone was a carved stallion, and the words her daughter Pearl wrote:

" Shed not for her the bitter tear,
Nor give the heart to vain regret.
Tis' but the casket that lies here,
The gem that filled it sparkles yet."



Google Belle Starr to read more about her and her fascinating life.
All images courtesy of the internet.

38 comments:

  1. Love your blog! And enjoyed reading about Belle Starr. I've always found it sad that if left long enough, many graves, even those of famous figures, are left to the elements. I always bring extra flowers when I go to a graveyard, and lay them on the forgotten ones.

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  2. Cool post! I'm definately going to Google her:)

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  3. Others may have forgotten her, but it is clear tha you haven't. Wonderful testament to Belle and I loved reading about her.

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  4. I received permission from the owners to visit the site. Next time, I'll take a picture. The site is CONSIDERABLY changed from the photo you have. The landowner has had a lot of trouble with vandalism. The "Cap" slabs are no longer ptiched, but lying flat on the structure. The head stone is on the ground, up-rigth in front of the grave.

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  5. this is my great great great grandma NO JOKE just want to let people know

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    1. If you ever happen to read this, she was NO JOKE my however-many-greats it may be grandmother, as well! My own grandma has a family tree that is traced all the way to Henry and Belle star!

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    2. Rolla Earl MarklandDecember 2, 2012 at 7:59 PM

      When I was a early teen we went to her grave sight.She had a thing for my great,great uncle Buford,Billy Blue,'Duck.I look just like him,I've just had a windshield in a wreck and a motor fan chew my face up in a wreck in 86.I'm Grat Daltons great,great grandson,so that means I'm also 2 great cheifs great,great,greatgrandson.From 2 different tribes.They were very diedly people that would kill ya' quick,and get a kick doing it.It was a different Time!

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  6. and i think that it is messed up and disrespectful that the people who vandilized my great great great grandmother's grave

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    1. My family settled on Texanna road outside Porum after the Civil War and were friends ofr Belle's, my great uncle told stories to me that he was told by his grand mother and dad. Belle was treated fro a gun shot wound in his grandmothers house . her blood was still on the floor in the early 70's when he took me to the old run down house of his grandma's. He said the blood stain was always shiny no matter how much she cleaned it.
      She was agravated because it was right inside the front door. He was almost 80 when he took me there and we walked right to her grave and said a prayer. Family stories from him tell me that if you were Belle's friend, you were never in any danger and probably more safe. So rest in peace old gal and know we wont forget!

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    2. Belle Starr was my however-many-greats it may be granmother :) I love to hear stories of her, and i love that I am related to her. My great grandfather used to know Henry Starr, her son. My mom told me that, when my great grandfather was a young boy, he would be paid in coke-a-cola's for keeping the family store clean, and sometimes when he got paid, Henry would walk in and say, "Hey boy, give me that coke!" XD Mom said that my grandpa used to think Henry was a jerk. I love my indian heritage so much, and I am so unbelievably lucky to have the heritage I have. Your post was very interesting... and it's incredibly interesting to think of how closely related our families are!

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    3. I understand that,her pearl handle colts and all the jewlry she was soppose to be buried with her should be restting in peace with her.I've been to my great,great grandpa's in Kansas.They still had the horse pole plus a couple of head stones.I like hearin' about their storys,plus my heritage,choctaw and cherokee,ya'll white people just gathered them in the village and gunned them down.Gave a orders quit wasting bullets on the old and young and stomp or bash their heads in!That's why He went crazy to kill.My great grandma told me the truth and story.Her mom lived it!

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  7. I am sorry that they vandalized your great great great grandmother's grave, Anonymous. I truly believe they will answer for it someday I too have visited her grave site and found it sad that it has decayed. However, her spirit rides freely now. God Bless!

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  8. Hello, re "I find this disheartening, that a well known historical figure, albeit outlaw, from the old west does not have a more revered grave site" I'm in Australia, not America, but from the Web I know Belle's grave is now (Nov. 2010) undergoing restoration and she is far from forgotten ... so this is what I've collected too on her (in it you'll find link to the restoration the Starr site is undergoing:

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5737284/belle-starr-short.htm

    RESTORING THE BELLE STARR SITE AT YOUNGER'S BEND

    Granddaughter Flossie apparently wrote in 1933 that Belle was buried in front of her cabin at the Bend, and through the years, her grave has stood almost alone, and later on the cabin was torn down and the place became almost deserted.

    But now this is now changing. Find the people who are restoring the site at:

    http://www.facebook.com/notes.php?id=109330429105067

    Regards,

    John

    (Sydney, Aus, john.mail@ozemail.com.au)

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  9. i have to do a report on her and i thought it was very interesting all the information you have about her!

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  10. WQhat a horse was Belle starr.Its memory will always will remain alive in the memory of the public.People pay homage to this famous horse by visiting its grave.

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  11. Gene Raymond Shirley, son of Travis Franklin Shirley.
    Born 3/17/39 Midland TX. 9:46 AM.
    Grandfather John Franklin Shirley
    Brother John Franklin Shirley

    Our family history is incredible, and the future is always just a-head. Some, want to be, historian kept calling Belle, Starr.
    In the family we always refer to her as Myra, or, Belle.

    Sure, Belle hooked up with Sam Starr, but as far as family goes Myra will always be (Belle)<--in Latin means Beautiful! look it up. I recall story's from family an friends about 'ol Judge John Shirley from Missouri, and his wild child in the Indian nation.

    First hand, second hand, story's from family friends like the Pennington's, Glenn, Beng.<--Tom Beng? one cold blooded killer for the law. Tom deemed himself the judge of laws.
    My grandfather Glenn was foreman on the Tom Beng spread, Big Bend San Angalo.

    Tom drank, so when Tom went to San Antonio with some friends for a good time it became known as "OFF ON A BENG!"
    People still use the Beng Drinking as, too much, to fast, and out of control.

    Hasta la vista Amigos for now.

    TFS

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  12. Hold your horse's boy's, T. F. Shirley here. Fact or fiction? Some fiction turns to fact as the candle burns low from night to dawn. 'Younger Bend,' was named such because Belle wasn't getting any younger waiting the return of the father, of her child, Pearl. Check the dates on when Cole got his, saddle sour ass, shot up in Springfield, then the date Pearl popped out. Stop this squabbling an start your studying !
    HASTA LA VISTA
    email pancho.frijoles@yahoo.com

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  13. Inside Shirley family story;
    Bud Shirley, and a cousin Nathan King, both were killed in the civil war, took Judge John Shirleys prize horse and shaved it's tail, as a joke, and because Bud didn't want his dad to sell the horse.

    The judge like to have had a hissy fit 'cause he had a buyer all lined up, the man took one look at this PRIZE peace of Horse flesh and busted out laughing. Bud & Nat, had to fork hay out of the field for a month.

    Bud did win some races, and Belle got too jocky in some also. Hasta la vista for now amigos
    TFS

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  14. I visited it some thirty odd years ago when it was in pretty good shape. It saddens my heart to know that a part of our history like this is wasting away.

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  15. This is amazing! I was doing a report on her and i found this and thought it was very amazing i learned a few things that wasnt on other websites i saw ^-^

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  16. St Louis and all the roads & water ways made Missouri the place to be as the west was opening to all comers.
    Carthage, Missouri, was a well traveled byway to the west. Horus Greeley wrote “GO WEST YOUNG MAN-GO WEST.” I guess those that could read did just that, in great numbers.” By now John Shirley, and his brewed were well established with the Shirley House, rooms by day, week, month, or hour, if you know what I mean.
    The restaurant and bar was the local gathering place for miles around. There was always something going on in town that needed talking about, like how to keep up with demand and supplies better, fireworks for the 4th of July, and most of all, Horse Racing, an trading,buying, or selling. It was fare and away the most converts about topic as John sat up his courtroom, as people called it, for debates . It was soon to be Judge Johns doing, then undoing, in his most troublesome life, as news from the east brought news of the forth coming war.
    Judge John Shirley, was raised in the upper class and was well educated, and a master horse breeder, trader, and always did well in at race track, where he sold beer.
    The two family favorites were Bud, and Belle.
    Bud, was a wild one, could ride, and shoot from the saddle as good, mostly better, than anyone around.If you think that’s bragging, your right. The people Bud hung out with were themselves well know for coming from the wild side of life. Cole Younger, his brother, and their good friends Bud Shirley and the James brothers Frank & Jesse. Little sister Belle was a straight A student, mastered linguistics, she could speak Latin, Spanish, Cherokee, as well as play very good piano, I’ve heard the fiddle too. Belle was a hit with the people in papa, Judge, Johns court room. However, she became a bigger hit with Buds friends, mostly the James & Younger bothers. Belle, under the watchful eyes of Bud & buddy’s, was a fast learner in what ever she set her mind too. She became a master horsemen (women) became a sure shot, and was soon giving class’s on how to use a branding iron. Bud & Buddy’s, kept her busy changing brands on stray cattle that they kept finding,---on other peoples land sometimes.
    Travelers coming from the east carried with them the latest news of the impending war.

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  17. Travelers coming from the east carried with them the latest news, roomers, and innuendos of the elections and political maneuverings, as telegraph wires were popping The country was headed for war. Belles father Judge, John Shirleys court dropped most all talk but horses as everybody suddenly wanted one, or more. The branding iron was hot as cavalry’s were being formed. Belle was still in her teens but she was in the know on many war plans and would provide safe house's for the band to regrope.
    As those dam Yankee republicans were doing everything to hasten its beginning.

    Lincoln did not free the slaves in 1860, though that was his intuition over all, to plicate his constitutions he made it clear that any state that shall try to separate from the union shall give back to the federal union their federally registered chattels. People today have no idea about what and why there was a war between the North, & South.

    There has never been, and you can never find , a slave paid for, and taxed, in the South. The government in Washington holds all records of chattels, and received all tax’s for such transactions. In fact the South in its effort to stave off a war tried, but failed, to register all blacks, chattel, or free Negros to vote, by doing so it would have given the South enough votes to appoint more senators/congressmen/reps, to Washington, there for equalizing the votes needed to make, or break laws.
    Those Yankee polecats , voted in favor of that, after they passed a law that Negros were not humans, there for only counted as %10 of a white man, in doing so it would take 10 Negros to make one vote thus they could hang on to power. This was just one thorn, in the sticker patch, of the polatics of war, that fed our bandit history of folk lore. Belles brother, Bud, had been one of Quantrill’s raiders, along with the James & Younger’s. The Yankees had a bounty on any and all of them. Though all of Judge Jhon Shirleys family and friend were under suspicion Belles youth and carm alowed her to move about and spie for the band.
    google T. F. Shirley
    'True Tails From The Trails.' pancho.frijoles@yahoo.com

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  18. Brother Bud Shirley was killed in action:
    Belle was fighting back tears as she signed for Bud, then loaded his body into the wagon, she wouldn’t shed tear in front of these blue belly SOB. As a young Lt. handed up Buds personal effects Belle pulled one of the guns from Buds belongings and opened fire, there were three clicks before she realized it was empty. The blue belly troops laughed, Lt; “ Do you think I would hand a loaded gun to a cute little rebel like you, Belle?” One part of Belles heart turned to stone that day. She would never give up the fight, and she never did.
    Belle, learned how to walk the fine line as a lady spy by day, rebel leader by night, so to speak. Belle could ride, shoot and scout with the best, and she proved it. google T. F. Shirely

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  19. Belle could ride, shoot, scout as good as any, better than many. She could track smoke to your fire, bee to its hive, and a lizard over dry rock, of course it didn’t hurt none that she could speak Checotah, Cherokee, Spanish, and some words I’ll not mention, when she was pisst.

    While the James/Younger, band of brothers, were planning their strikes on the evil doers, Belle, was scouting out safe havens where strangers are not welcome, and will be shot , twice if the need be! Finding a place was one thing; however, to keep it supplied, pasture for animals, as well as back up camps in case they had to run in a hurry, all this took some strategic thinking for anyone, man or woman. (For all you women libbers Belle should be your Saint, like Joan of Ark, or May West!)
    T.F.S.

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  20. Belle picked up the name Belle Starr, later in life, after she married Sam Starr, a half breed Indian, with a recorded history as a bandito robber rustler. Belle had been friends with various tribes supplying them with goods that for them would band on the open markets; The be-dammed Yankee laws. Not just booze and bullets but medicines, or extra maza and flour. Over the years story's came to print.

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  21. Things can be pretty boring on the farms, even towns and long train rides. News papers carried stories of the exploits of the James/Younger’s, band of brothers . People were amazed, and gloriously proud of these Rebel rousers fighting on, and on, and on, against the heavy handed Yankee Bankers, Rail Roads, Land Barons and Corruption in Government.
    Stories, like the Brothers giving family enough money to pay off the mortgage on their farm, that got a receipt, ‘paid in full.’ Later the banker was robbed on his way to town and lost it all, plus his gold watch with chain, and saddle. (That was a knee slapper) T. F. Shirley

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  22. i dont think you're saying the truth i dont belive she's your great great great grandmother im sorry but i dont

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    1. Sorry T.F. But I also think you are just a kid, reading up on Her, and adding the rest.

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  23. Who are you talking about? What you believe or don't believe has no effect on me. I'm a Shirley and proud to to be one. Belle is not my great great grandmother, she's my great aunt, so you must be talking about someone else. T. S. Shirley

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  24. I don’t think the person that said I was not Belles, grate, grate, grate grandmother is talking about me: My three times removed grandmother was Mama Pennington Shirley, Maybelle Shirley was my aunt. You might study the connection between Pennington’s & Shirley’s with the, feuding, Hatfield’s. The Civil war, like all wars, had taken it’s toll on life, moneys, homes, and happiness. To the victor goes the spoils. From there Bands of brothers in battle, & brothers in blood, like the Younger’s & James, bands of Native Americans, aka Indians, Came together as one, underground, band of their own making. Most all paid a price in the end, even Belle, in the ned she had so many enemy they couldn’t figure out who shot her. “Don’t look at me, I didn’t do it.” Hasta la vista amigos fur now T..F.Shirley ;)

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  25. I would like to see the grave site who do I need to contact. rfoster17@gmail.com

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  26. My Grandpa told me when he was a young man he saw Belle Starr on the courthouse steps in Muskogee, OK. He said, she was the meanest looking woman he ever saw. I've read books about Belle and she sounds like a pretty neat woman....she just ran with a mean bunch of outlaws. She was from a good family, she just fell for the wrong guys. Apparently she was named the Bandit Queen and actually wasn't but loved the notoriety and never told anyone any different. I live less than 30 miles from the gravesite and plan to go visit it today if at all possible. She fascinates me. Pearl was quite a character too. If you haven't read the book about Belle and Pearl, you should. It is very enlightening. I enjoyed it immensely.

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  27. My great great grandparents lived on the property shortly after Belle Starr died. I have actually been to the property in the 1990s. The stone was there at the time.

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  28. My grandfather lived on Taloka Creek at Stigler, Oklahoma; only about 10 miles from Eufaula, OK. Grandpa often told stories of how Belle Starr came riding on his place. She was very nice and often helped out the neighbors in time of need.
    JEP

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  29. Try the spelling of her last name Sherley, last name spelling from England as in Lord Sherley, instead of the first name spelling of Shirley.

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  30. I'm looking for information on Eliza Starr she married William boen- Bowen ..the had William Boen her married Melinda coatney they had laura she married george Washington dill they had parsadie Paris texas dill she married James lamproe my mother was one of her children myrtle lamproe she married troy j Nolan..I think my family roots are in the belle star are Sam Starr are maybe one of the Starr brothers if you have information please contact me anytime 8702161793 or 8703319514 cell thanks Nancy Nolan belle star rocked love to read stories about her

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  31. I am looking for information on Eliza starr she married john boen- Bowen I believe she kin to Sam Starr are some of the kin..john married 3 times Eliza Starr was his first wife they had 6 children William Boen was one of them he married Melinda coatney they had children one of the was laura she married george Washington dill they had children on of them was sadie also parsadie Paris Texas dill she married and had children myyrtle lamproe she married and had children that's me Nancy gean Nolan..if you know information of this Eliza star are here family roots call any time 8702161793...8703319514 cell..thanks Nancy also I love hearing stories about belle star she rocked history.

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  32. I think if my 4x4 Toyota's fixed I'll take my family to see it,will stay at a camp ground by there....I feel my son are to see it.It was really Sam Starr's place at first a choctaw!It will be a learning living history trip,plus take him where his great,great,great grandpa Grat was killed in Kansas.It's all part of history!

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