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The Epitaph of Belle Starr

The Epitaph of Belle Starr

Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr (February 5, 1848 – February 3, 1889), better known as Belle Starr, was a notorious American outlaw.

Belle associated with the James–Younger Gang and other outlaws. She was convicted of horse theft in 1883. She was fatally shot in 1889 in a case that is still officially unsolved. Her story was popularized by Richard K. Fox—editor and publisher of the National Police Gazette—and she later became a popular character in television and movies.

Somewhere near Hooker in Eastern Oklahoma, the grave lies past a plum thicket, beyond an alfalfa patch, through a grassy field fringed with sycamores and blackberry vines, to a forgotten and scrub-tangled knoll above a river. The inscription was written by her daughter, Pearl, and 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

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