Grayson County TXGenWeb
Articles about Belle Starr
Newspaper abstracts
from Elaine Nall Bay & Patricia Nall

Dallas Daily Times Herald
February 13, 1889
p. 5, col. 3-4.

     SHERMAN, TEX., Feb. 12.--A great deal has been said and written about Belle Starr since she was killed. L. H. Scruggs, proprietor of the Commercial hotel of this city, was well acquainted with her, and gave the following version of her real identity to the News reporter to-day:
"I was an old schoolmate of the woman of whom so much has been said, and what I state, I know to be positively correct. Belle Starr's maiden name was Myra Shirley. She is, or was, the youngest daughter of John R. Shirley, who died in Dallas county in this state a number of years since. She was born and raised in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri, in which county I was also raised up. Her father lived in Carthage and was the proprietor of a hotel there until 1861, when he came to Texas. Myra Shirley, or Belle Starr, married a man by the name of Reed about the close of the war. Reed was with Quantrell. That was her first marriage. Reed was killed and she, afterwards, married the celebrated half-breed, Sam Starr. There are several citizens of Sherman who formerly lived in Carthage, Mo., and they will substantiate the history I have given of her to be a true one. Her people were all enthusiasts in the cause of the south during the war. I can positively state that she did not have a drop of Indian blood in her veins."
     This is believed to be the only correct version yet given of the parentage of this noted female character, whose name has been heralded all over the southwest.

Dallas Daily Times Herald
February 7, 1889
p. 1, col. 5-6
WACO, Tex., Feb. 6.--Mordecai Hunnicut, a plasterer, who resides in this city and has resided here for many years, and who is in a position to know whereof he speaks, gives the following recital concerning Belle Star, who was assassinated last Sunday night near Eufaula, I. T.:
    She resided in Bosque county sixteen years ago as the wife of Jim Reed, who owned a farm in that county. Reed was arrested on accusation of participation with the Younger brothers in the Gad's Hill train robbery and died in prison, without coming to trial. Mrs. Reed took the name of Ross, and under that name, resided in Dallas and Sherman in 1875. She returned to Waco, accompanied by a person of the name of McManus, and they took rooms at the Kirkpatrick house, where they were arrested by Sheriff L. S. Ross on a charge of horse theft. Mrs. Reed was released, but McManus was some time in the McLennan county jail. In 1880, McManus returned to Waco, and on Oct. 9 that year, attended a circus, and while at the show, exhibited a handful of twenty dollar gold coins of United States mintage, which he said he had recovered from a plant made by Jim Reed on the Bosque farm, being Reed's share of the Gad's Hill exploit. The person who saw the money in McManus' possession remembered that five years before, while in prison, he had told a story to the effect that he was accompanying Mrs. Reed to Bosque county to dig up the treasure, when they were apprehended. Gov. Ross, who was the sheriff, making the arrest, is referred to by the News correspondent's informant as having knowledge of a portion of the details given above.
     Belle Star, the desperado woman, was well known to every old citizen and officer in Dallas county. They recall her as a handsome woman, a graceful equestrian, and a crack marksman with a faultless nerve. She possessed commendable courage and would face any danger without flinching. The published statement from Waco is pronounced by those here who are well acquainted with this remarkable woman's career, in the main correct: The exceptions being that the party she visited Waco with when arrested by Gov. Ross was Mike McCommas of this county; and her husband, Jim Reed, instead of dying in jail, was killed by a detective, who was also a relative, and was following Reed for the purpose of arresting him. The two were traveling in a stage, the detective, whose name was not readily recalled, having spotted Reed and was awaiting an opportunity to get the "drop" on him. A halt was made for dinner at a stopping place in Grayson county, and while at the table, the detective managed to get the drop on Reed and ordered his hands up. Reed threw up his hands, and as he did so, turned the table up in front of him when the detective fired, the ball penetrating Reed's heart after going through the table.
     Many exploits are re-called here which were enacted while citizens and officers were endeavoring to rid the county of horse thieves. Ed. Shirley, Belle Starr's brother, was leader of a notorious gang, and one night in '67, when the citizens surrounded Shirley's house, which is yet standing on Mesquite creek, Belle, with a Yankee blue overcoat drawn over her shoulders, thrust her head through a shutter opening and was endeavoring to get a shot at some of the party. She was ordered several times to take her head back, but refused to obey until a ball from Mr. Joe Huffman's pistol (he is now dead) cause her to retire. Shirley was finally killed at a point on Spring creek in 1867 by Mr. Joe Lynn, now of Collin county. From the date of the killing of her brother, to whom she was greatly attached, marked Belle Starr's--nee Mira Reed--desperate career. Several times, it is said, she buckled a brace of six-shooters around her and went in search of Mr. Lynn. She was confined in the Dallas county jail over a year when Barkley was sheriff, and during this time, it is said one of the deputies became so infatuated with her, that he suicided because his attentions were not reciprocated. When she was released from jail, she went to the Indian Territory, and it is learned here, was killed by a pal because she "squealed" on some of her tribe who were engaged in a late train robbery occurring in or near the Indian Territory. She was familiarly known here as Mira Reed, and was in the city about eight weeks ago on a visit. While here, she sent for several of the old time officers to call on her. Her daring and recklessness found origin, perhaps, in the Indian blood which coursed her veins.

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