The notoriously unlawful life of Belle Starr came to a violent end on Feb. 3, 1889, two
days short of her forty-first birthday. While riding from the general store to her ranch near
Eufaula, Okla., Belle was killed by a shotgun blast to the back. Suspects included Edgar
Watson, with whom Belle had been feuding over the land he was renting from her
(Watson was a fugitive and Belle had been told by the authorities that she would lose all
of her land if caught harboring fugitives and for once she was obeying), her lover a
Cherokee named Jim July with whom she had recently had a quarrel, and her son Ed,
with whom she had had a strained relationship. However, the identity of the murderer of
Belle Starr was never identified. Belle Starr was buried on her ranch with a marble
headstone on which was engraved a bell, her horse, a star and the epitaph written by her
daughter Pearl which reads:
“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.”
Belle Shirley lived near Wilburton, Porum and Fanshaw;
Her name was respected until she turned outlaw.
Belle Shirley married Sam Starr who rode the Owlhoot Trail;
She joined up and soon became as rough as any male.
She picked up men’s bad habits and was handy with a gun;
She robbed and she plundered and thought it was great fun.
Belle Starr, Belle Starr,
With a bullet in your back,
Are you lyin’ there a-wishin’
That you’d never joined that pack?
Dyin’ is not easy on some forgotten trail;
She wanted to be famous and she did not fail.
Some claimed Belle was wicked while others called her brave,
When she staged a hold-up and hid out in Robert’s Cave.
Belle Starr became a legend; yes, that’s a well-known fact,
But she ended up an outlaw with a bullet in her back