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Belle Starr

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Belle Starr
Woolaroc - Belle Star 2

Real Name

Myra Maybelle Shirley

Born

February 5, 1848

Died

February 3, 1889

Historical Background

Belle Starr, "the Bandit Queen," was born Myra Maybelle Shirley, in Jasper County, Missouri, on February 5, 1848. Her parents were "Judge" John and Elizabeth Hatfield Shirley, her mother being related to the Hatfields of the feuding Hatfields and McCoys. Of five siblings, John A. M. "Bud" and Edwin were outlaws killed by lawmen. Belle continually associated with notorious outlaws and gang members, even while attending the Carthage Female Academy, Carthage, Missouri. On November 1, 1866, she married James C. Reed, a former member of Quantrill's Raiders. From this union two children were born: Rosie Lee "Pearl" (who was known as Pearl Younger) in 1868 and James Edwin in 1871. Belle soon left Reed, because she disapproved of his involvement in several robberies. In 1874 he was killed while resisting arrest.

After a brief relationship with Bruce Younger, Belle married Sam Starr on June 5, 1880. The Starrs settled on communal tribal land in the Cherokee Nation, at a place called Youngers' Bend, near present Eufaula, Oklahoma. During the early 1880s their cabin provided a hideout for outlaws. In 1886 Belle again became a widow after Sam was killed during a dispute. The legendary Belle Starr's only documented crime was the theft of a horse in 1882. On February 3, 1889, she was shot in the back by an unknown assailant and was buried at Youngers' Bend.

Public Domain Comic Appearances

  • Western Fighters vol. 1 #1: An account of her association with Jesse James.
  • Gunsmoke #5: Depicted as a sharp shooting Union soldier in the American Civil War, with a vendetta against Quantrill's Raiders, who killed her brother, Jim.
  • Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual #2
  • Black Diamond Western #26
  • Ranger Comics #64

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