Cherokee Connection Chapter 3 page 9
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Belle Starr's actual life

Belle Starr
Jim Reed (Belle's first husband) undoubtedly participated in some of the Starr gang's looting excursions during 1868 and 1869 in which stolen cattle and horses were driven through the Choctaw Nation to Texas markets below the Red River.

Belle Starr's biographers said Jim Reed would meet with Myra in secluded places outside Rich Hill, Texas, away from prying eyes and local officials, where she counted the loot he brought each trip and thrilled of his tales of Tom Starr's escapades.

Right after the Civil War, Jesse and Frank James came in the Younger's Bend country.. after a while Cole Younger and his brothers joined them and stayed around the Starr home. ... When they planned to rob the bank at Northfield, Minnesota, they came to get Jim Reed to go with them. He was married to Belle then... She wouldn't let him go.... She said, "they didn't know the people or that country".

Early in September, 1868 Myra gave birth to Rosie Lee. She idolized the child referring to her as her pearl; thus Rosie Lee became known by her nickname Pearl.

Her second child James Edwin (Eddie) was born in California February 22, 1871. They went back to live in Texas.

Her husband Jim Reed acquired a reputation as an outlaw and was away more than he was home with Myra. In August 1874, Jim Reed was killed near Paris Texas. Myra then sent her children to Missouri to live with their grandmother and dropped out of sight for a few years.

Belle was never married to Cole Younger, but she may have met and lived with Bruce Younger (a cousin of Cole) for a few months in Younger's Bend. They didn't stay together very long; and it was there she renewed her acquaintance with the Starr clan, particularly old Tom's son, Sam, whom she married in 1880.

Sam Starr
Sam's allotment just north of the Canadian River was close to William Keith's uncle, Frank West, who had become a Indian Deputy Sheriff. Six years after Belle married Sam Starr.

Both Frank West and Sam Starr were killed Dec 17 1886 in a shoot out. (This is ironic as Frank West was a cousin of Sam Starr and part of the old Tom Starr Gang.) Frank West came to a Christmas party to arrest Sam. Sam drew his gun first and and shot Frank. Frank also pulled his gun and shot and killed Sam Starr . They both died within minutes of each other.

After Sam Starr's death, Cherokee authorities were opposed to Belle claiming Sam's land at the bend. She was no longer a Cherokee subject. Belle solved this problem by marring Jim July Starr in 1887. He was sort of an adopted son of Tom Starr. Belle was 39, Jim was 24 and fine looking mixed blood Cherokee. While not as handsome as Sam, he had the same air of reckless indifference, which excited Belle.

Belle's daughter Pearl, put the interesting poem on her mother's tombstone; At Younger's Bend, Oklahoma (It can still be seen, not far from Briartown and Porum. see page )

Glenn Shirley said, "There is no evidence, only legend, that Belle Starr ran a brothel in Fort Smith. However in later years, after Belle was killed, her daughter, Pearl, worked in a Fort Smith brothel for a while. Then she ran a young women's "boarding house" in Fort Smith, the girls were available. (If Susie's card has Belle's name on it, this would be evidence that Belle also ran a Brothel, if not, maybe it is her daughter, Pearl (Reed) Starr's card.)


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