Here is an article from an early issue of the Oklahombres Journal that discusses the Starr family and other Cherokees.
OUTLAWS AND LAWMEN
The removal of the Cherokee Indians from their homes in the east to the lands now known as Oklahoma brought great suffering upon the Cherokees. The removal also resulted in violence between the Cherokees who supported the removal treaty and those who did not. One family name that became well known during this Cherokee "civil war" was the Starr family. But this is not a story about Belle Starr. It is a story about Cherokees who fought each other over the removal, and Cherokees who fought for law and order.
A white man of Quaker parentage immigrated from Pennsylvania to the Cherokee country (now eastern Tennessee). He was named Caleb Starr, and in about 1790 Caleb married a Cherokee woman named Nancy Harlan, and in so doing he became a member of the Cherokee Nation. They had twelve children, including Ezekial Starr, James Starr, and Joseph Starr. Caleb Starr was involved with both the Treaty of 1816 and the Treaty of 1819, the removal treaties. Cherokee leaders attempted to preserve their remaining eastern lands, and had established a new government by 1828. John Ross was elected principal chief. Ross and his followers opposed removal. Cherokees who willingly immigrated to the new, western lands were known as the "Old Settlers".
Caleb Starr and his sons supported emigration. Ezekial Starr and his family travelled to the west in 1834. James Starr became a member of the Treaty Party, which advocated total tribal removal, and with other members he signed the controversial Treaty of 1835. James Starr moved to the western Cherokee Nation in 1837.
The remaining eastern Cherokees, under the leadership of John Ross, were forcibly removed to the west in 1838 and 1839 in what became known as the Trail of Tears. These Cherokees were subjected to incredible suffering.
Upon arrival in the Indian Territory, the differences between the Ross faction and the Treaty, or Ridge, Party erupted into violence. On June 22, 1839, three leaders of the Treaty Party - Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot - were assassinated by members of the Ross faction. James Starr and Stand Watie were due to be killed the same day, but they found refuge at Fort Gibson. John Ross was elected principal chief of a new, "unified" Cherokee government.
In the Cherokee election of 1841, Ezekial Starr was elected to the Cherokee legislature from the Flint District, and his brother James Starr was elected to serve from the Goingsnake District. But the supporters of Chief Ross were still eliminating the supporters of the removal treaty and many murders had been committed. Both sides were after blood. James Starr's son, Thomas Starr, reacted to attempts on his father's life with violence. He was accused of attacking and murdering the entire Benjamin Vore family at their home near Fort Gibson in 1843. The Cherokee civil war included murderers on both sides of the conflict, but the Ross faction labeled Tom Starr an outlaw. A reward of one thousand dollars was offered for his capture.
In 1845, Ross followers decided that James Starr would be held accountable for the actions of his son, Tom, and on November 9th they acted. Thirty-two armed men raided the home of James Starr in the Flint District. Starr was gunned down on his front porch, as was his crippled son, Buck. Both were dead. Starr's other three sons barely escaped the massacre. According to Tom Starr, in retaliation he killed every one of the thirty-two men except for those who became sick and died in bed before he could get to them. A truce was called in 1846, and a resulting peace treaty between the two factions included a special clause that "all offenses and crimes committed by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.......are hereby pardoned." It was the opinion of many Cherokees that the pardon was for Tom Starr.
Tom moved to land in the southern portion of the Canadian District of the Cherokee Nation, near present Briartown. Tom Starr served in the Civil War as a scout for General Stand Watie and became acquainted with Quantrill. After the war, some of Quantrill's former guerrillas came to visit Tom, one of them being Cole Younger. Tom's ranch became known as "Youngers Bend". Tom raised eight sons, including George and Sam Starr. In 1873 George's son Henry Starr was born.
In 1880, Tom's son Sam married Myra Belle Shirley. She became known as "Belle Starr".
Does anyone happen to know the exact location of Younger's Bend and Belle Starr's grave?
I know how to get there but not sure I can describe it well. The grave is on top of a hill on the north side of the river, downstream from the Eufaula dam. You can see the dam from the grave site, so I would guess it is about one mile east of the dam.
Will the property owner allow visitors?
The property is a little tricky to get to if you don't know where you're going. Last time I visited it was last summer, which I absolutely do not recommend (going in the summer that is.) No clear cut path, you have to go through all kinds of brush and we got completely covered in seed ticks. The current owner is usually pretty nice about letting people visit the grave. And I recently heard that he had cut a path out there to it. It is in awful shape, not due to his fault though. It has been vandalized many times over the past 100+ years.
Thanks for posting that; I really enjoyed it.
Can you give directions to it?
I can try! Grew up in the area, but surprisingly I'm not too familiar with all the highway names.
Basically you just follow the signs for the dam heading south from Porum. Right before you get to the dam (you'll see it up ahead), there will be a dirt road to the right. I believe there's a fork in the dirt road right after you turn onto it, just stay to the right. You'll come to a dead end with a house on the left, you'll be able to see a walking path in front of you at the dead end. You have to enter thru an old gate on the path. Then just head south and fight your way thru all the brush!
Make sure you ask for permission from the owner of property. I'm sure he's just loving me now for posting this...
I visited Belle's grave about ten years ago when I was doing a play ("Belle Starr, Bandit Queen") at Robber's Cave.
I was taken to the gravesite with the new stone, by a sweet little old lady who must have been 100. I suppose she has passed away by now. She charged a dollar to see the grave.
As someone said, the trail was through a tick infested wooded area. I took photos. The new stone is protected by a chainlink fence to prevent the vandalism inflicted on the original stone.
As a kid I visited my grandmother in Briartown and played with kids she called "The Starr Children." They couldn't have been Belle and Sam's since they never had children, but must have been cousins or something.
I remember someone telling stories about people chipping off parts of the gravestone and someone in Sam's family hiding it under their bed. Wonder what ever happened to the original stone.
Thanks guys. The next time I get down there fishing I'm going to visit it.
I wondered if anyone knew if Belle Starr had slaves and if so, where I might find infomation about that aspect of her life.
I am not aware of her having any slaves while living in Oklahoma.
Slavery ended in 1865. Belle Starr's parents in Missouri would have been able to own slaves, not Belle. Belle did have many black neighbors in the Indian Territory that she befriended.
I think the only slaves she had were the retards who were too dumb not to marry her.
Belle would have been a teenager at the time of the Civil War. Seems like she would have had some sort of contact with the slaves of her parents.
She acted as a spy for the Confederate Guerrilla forces in SW Missouri.
I've never heard of her parents owning slaves. I know they operated a hotel/tavern in Carthage, MO before the war. They may have had need for one or two.
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