The Most Notorious Female Outlaw of the West Was Once Jailed in Detroit
The three most famous women of the old west are Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley.....and Belle Starr.
Calamity Jane was a notorious partier and girlfriend of Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley was a trick shooter with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.....but as for Belle Starr, she was an outlaw. And she spent some time imprisoned in Detroit for horse stealing.
Belle was born Myra Maybelle Shirley in Missouri on February 5, 1848. Her older brother Bud became a bushwhacker during the Civil War and was killed; it's been widely thought that Belle's outlaw life was influenced by the death of her brother.
According to Frontier Times, when she was sixteen the family moved to Texas. Two years later in 1866, her outlaw future was further influenced when Jesse James and his gang used Belle's parents' home as a hideout. Jesse's gang included the Younger brothers - Bob, Cole, Jim, and John. Belle became close to Cole who was rumored to have been the father to her daughter Rosie Lee. However, Belle ended up marrying another outlaw, Jim Reed, and the two lived in the home of another outlaw buddy, Tom Starr, a Cherokee.
Jim joined the Jesse James gang and went on a spree, killing, robbing, and looting in several states. He was eventually shot to death by a deputy sheriff in 1874. In 1880, Belle married Tom Starr's son, Sam.
It was with Sam Starr that Belle slipped up. In 1886, the two were stealing horses in Arkansas; they were caught, charged, convicted, and sentenced. Belle and Sam were both sent to the House of Corrections in Detroit, where she had to spend twelve months incarcerated. Once she was released, she continued her life as a desperado. She was arrested after she was discovered dressed like a man, robbing a post office. Not long afterward, Sam got into a gunfight with an Indian policeman.....they ended up killing each other.
Belle was not far behind.....after going through a string of lovers, Belle was ambushed by an unknown assailant who killed her with a shotgun on February 3, 1889. She was 40 years old. The killer was never positively identified.
It was during her stay in Detroit that she acquired her nickname, “The Bandit Queen”. This is just a tip of Belle's iceberg. Take a look at the gallery below!
BELLE STARR GALLERY
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