Samuelal Starr was part of the Younger gang, with the James brothers Jes se and Frank as well as other outlaws. He pursued his enemies thereby aven ging the assassination of James Starr, his grandfather. He resided for a p eriod at Younger's Bend in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory nor th of the Canadian River. In 1880, a widow with a small girl named Pearl c ame to Youger's Bend seeking a husband for her illegitimate daughter fathe red by Cole Younger. Samuel was her ultimate choice and he married Myra Be lle Shirley. She later became known as the famous outlaw Belle Starr.
Indian Pioneer History Project for Oklahoma, January 12, 1938, of Mrs. Mol ly Starr Sillers Suky Starr, attended school at Henry Kendell College in Muskogee, and h er first and only lover was Milo Hendricks, a Choctaw Indian, who left sch ool to fight in the Spanish American War, where he was killed. Suky di ed a few years later.
He lived for a period at the Mt. Tabor Indian Community in Rusk County, Te xas before the Civil War. He returned to the Cherokee Nation following t he war and the death of John Ross in 1866. A CHAPTER OF BLOODSHED SURPASSING BELIEF The Tom Starr War - Its Exciting Causes, Results and a Sketch of the Princ ipal Actor in a Realistic Drama. By J. C. Starr, A Second Cousin. Many people in the Cherokee Nation remember quite well the Tom Starr Wa r, and the many incidents that are connected with it. After the remov al of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi River, they were divided in to two parties known as the Ridge and Ross Parties. The Ridge Party was known as the Treaty Party, and the Ross Party as the A nti-Treaty Party. When the Ridge Party came west they settled in the Chero kee Nation under their Chief, John JOLLY, and the Ross Party followed late r, after the treaty of 1835, having been moved west by the United States t roops. As soon as the Anti-Treaty people landed in the Cherokee Nation they stirr ed up dissension and strife, out of which grew the Tom Starr War. The Anti -Treaty people were very much dissatisfied with the new country and with t he Ridge Party for making the treaty, and very soon began to emphasize the ir displeasure by an organized attempt to kill all the leaders who had be en instrumental in making it. The Full Bloods armed themselves and went in bands all over the count ry to murder any leader of the Ridge Party whom they could find. They depo sed Chief John Jolly and elected John Ross Chief of the Cherokees, and th en followed the declaration of war between these two powerful parties. T he Anti-Treaty people went so far as to declare that they would kill eve ry man who had signed the treaty with the United States Government, and st arted blood to flowing by killing the leaders of the opposite party. BOUDINOT AND RIDGE KILLED. Early one morning a party of Full-Bloods rode up to the home of Elias C. B OUDINOT and Major RIDGE and shot them down in cold blood. They afterward t ied John WEST to a tree, stripped him of his clothing and gave him one hun dred lashes on his bare back . The man who executed this command of the An ti-Treaty people tied West to a tree. He then cut ten young hickory sprout s, one year old, and would give him ten licks with one switch, throw it do wn and give him some water and then take another switch and give him ten m ore licks and so on until a hundred stripes were applied. After this, tim es became very quiet until about a year later when more serious trouble fo llowed. REMOVAL DECIDED UPON. It soon became apparent to the followers of the Ridge Party, that they wou ld not be permitted to live in peace with the Anti-Treaty Indians and th ey resolved to give up all their possessions in the Cherokee Nation, a nd go west and try to find a new location. Accordingly, Ezekiel Starr, o ne of the prominent leaders of the Ridge people, gathered together a lar ge delegation of the Treaty Party and secured a sufficient member of pa ck mules and started west. They went to Colorado and found what they thought would be a good locati on for another Cherokee Nation. Game was plentiful and the country, they t hought, was a good one. They returned in about six months and held a gener al council of the Treaty Party, at which it was resolved that a delegati on be sent to Washington to lay before the department their complaint a nd to try to make a treaty whereby they might select their nation in Color ado. The Cherokees were very poor in those days and could not afford to se nd a number of delegates to Washington, so they selected Ezekiel Starr a nd entrusted him with the whole matter. He went in January, 1846, and rema ined until the following May when he died and was buried at Washington whi le negotiations were under way. REMOVAL ABANDONED. The death of Ezekiel Starr left the Ridge or Treaty Party without a leade r, disheartened and they finally abandoned the idea of removal and decid ed to make the best they could of a bad bargain with their opponents. H ad Ezekiel Starr lived, his efforts to establish a Cherokee Nation for t he Treaty Party in Colorado would have no doubt proved successful and the re would have been two nations of Cherokees and a great deal of bloodsh ed would have been averted. While Ezekiel Starr and his crowd were in the west looking for a new locat ion the rest of the Treaty Party became refugees and fled to Arkansas f or protection. General Arbuckle with the United States troops was locat ed on the Arkansas line for the protection of the people and to preserve t he peace but his efforts proved futile. CAUSE OF THE WAR. One day while the home seekers were still in the west and James Starr, fat her of the notorious Tom Starr, was preparing to go to White River, in Ark ansas, on a hunting trip, a band of Full-Bloods rode up to his house and s hot him down on his porch. His son, Buck Starr, ran away, was pursued a nd shot several times and died a month later. From the Starr home the Full-Bloods went to the home of Polly Rider (Ma ry Pauline Starr) and killed Sewell Rider in his own yard. When Rider fe ll to the ground, mortally wounded, a Full-Blood named Stan jumped over in to the yard and plunged a big knife into the wounded man's heart. A few mi nutes later the Full-Bloods met Wash Starr in the road and opened fi re on him. He fled to the brush desperately wounded but made good his esca pe and afterwards recovered. Wash Starr was a brother of the notorious T om Starr. This occurred in Going Snake District, near the line of Arkansas and the w omen children of the Treaty Party fled to that state where they received r ations from General Arbuckle. The Full-Bloods who were doing this killi ng fell back to their headquarters at Tahlequah from which place their fut ure operations were directed. When the killing occurred in Going Snake District, Tom Starr was living ab out two miles from his father's home. When his father was killed, a young er brother, named Creek Starr ran as hard as he could to the Tom Starr res idence and conveyed the sad news to Tom, who with his elder brothers fl ed to the woods, and could not attend their father's funeral. Tom Starr h ad twenty-one bothers and sisters. The younger children attended the funer al, but the older brothers dared not do so. A VOW OF VENGEANCE A few days later Tom Starr visited the burying ground and over the new ma de grave of his dead father made a solemn vow that he would avenge his dea th, and that he would kill every Full-Blood who had had anything to do wi th the death of his father, James Starr. He at once organized a band of fo llowers, composed of his brothers and cousins and a white man named Mack G ERRING, and started out on his career of vengeance. THE FIRST VICTIM. Upon hearing that the Full-Blood, Stan, who killed Sewell Rider, by stabbi ng him to the heart after he was wounded, was at an Indian dance, Tom a nd his comrades took a man named Wheeler FOUGHT, who was friendly to bo th parties, there. Tom Starr and his band hid out at some distance from t he place where the dance was being held and instructed Wheeler Foug ht to go to the dance and give Stan a drink of whiskey and to continue dri nking with him until he got well under the influence of the liquor. He was then to tell him that there was a jug of whiskey hidden in a certa in top of a tree that had fallen and to persuade Stan to go there and g et it. The excuse worked and later on in the night Stan came up to the tr ee top and met Tom Starr and his band. Stan was shot from his horse and th en stabbed to death in the same manner that he had killed Sewell Rider. FOUGHT AS ACCESSORY. On the morning following the killing of Stan, the Full-Bloods gathered tog ether and held a council of war and accused Wheeler Fought of being a memb er of Tom Starr's band and had him arrested and gave him a speedy trial be fore their council fire the next night and he was hung the following da y. Tom Starr heard of what was going on and tried to get up a band of at l east thirty brave men to make a wild rush into the Full-Bloods camp and re scue Fought but could not get enough men together to justify the attempt a nd Wheeler Fought paid the penalty with his life. ONE OF STARR'S EXPLOITS. Tom Starr once heard of one of the men who had taken a leading part in t he murder of his father and rode a hundred miles to kill him. He laid in a mbush at his spring for two days, but could not get the man out, so he dec ided to kill him in his own home. He crept up to the house, taking a man w ith him to hold the horses, and standing beside the door, gently knocke d. A voice from the inside said, "Who's there?", The answer was give n, "A friend." The Indian on the inside shot through the door and Tom seiz ing a fence rail broke the door down and entered the house with a drawn kn ife. The Indian had three other men in the house with him, and they ran un der the bed for protection. Tom Starr killed the Indian with his knife a nd then dragged the other man from under the bed and killed them. MANIFESTED SUPERSTITION When it appeared to Tom Starr that his end was near at hand he conclud ed to visit the Indian Medicine Man. He went to see a woman who was a conj urer and was advised not to go north, that he would get hurt, to go any co urse but north and he would escape. The next day he met two of his frien ds in the road with a jug of whiskey and they gave him some and wanted h im to go north with them. He tried to beg off but his pleas availed him no thing and they called him a coward. After he became well under the influen ce of whiskey, he concluded that if his friends could make the trip he cou ld. They set out and came to a narrow pass between a hillside and a fenc e. Starr wanted his friends to go around the place but they would not a nd so all started to ride through and were fired upon by the Indians in am bush. The friends of Tom Starr were riding ahead and escaped without injur y, but his horse was shot from under him and he was wounded in the foot. T he animal also fell upon him but he extricated himself and climbed up t he hill and while on the hillside, it being very hard, he would throw ston es down in another direction to mislead the Indians. Every time he would t hrow a stone down the Indians would fire on the place where it fell a nd in this way he misled them until he made good his escape. Tom soon discovered that he was about to bleed to death and he stopped a nd bound up his wound with his handkerchief, but this did not give him mu ch relief. After making his way to a place where he knew he would not be d iscovered, he built up a fire, heated his knife and burned the wound a nd in this way made it quit bleeding. He said the only thing he regrett ed was having to ruin his knife by heating it. Next day Tom was lying sick in the top of a fallen tree when the Full-Bloo ds rode all around searching for him, but without success. He afterward ma de his way to a spring and finally escaped and joined his band. He had n ot been betrayed when he rode into the path as one of the men with him w as a faithful brother. After this incident Tom Starr entertained considerable superstition in ref erence to conjurers. The hill that Tom Starr had to climb, on the night described above, is loc ated near Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and is known to this day as "Tom Starr 's Hill". A COUSIN GETS INTO TROUBLE. After leaving the hill, at the time in question, Tom made his way to the h ome of John R. Rider, who was his cousin, and also a friend to the Trea ty Party, but was a peaceable and good citizen. Mr. Rider gave Tom the be st horse he had and told him to make good his escape. The Indians coming a long in pursuit saw Tom Starr riding Rider's horse, so they decided to ki ll him. A friend of Rider's came about midnight and told him to make his e scape or he would be killed as the Indians knew he had furnished Starr a h orse. Rider immediately got up out of bed, and mounting his horse set o ut for Fort Gibson to place himself under the protection of the soldiers. At daylight the house was surrounded by a band of about three hundred Full -Bloods and one of the number with a drawn pistol walked into Rider's ho me and made a search for him, but he was gone. The man then stepped into t he yard, gave a yell and Full-Bloods came from all directions. They at on ce took the trail and followed the horse's tracks until they discovered t he course taken and then set out toward Fort Gibson. Rider stopped at a blacksmith shop to have his horse shod and while the re the Indians located him and got in ahead and hid at a narrow pass in t he road. Rider made a rush to beat them to the pass but to his surprise wh en he entered it a Full-Blood named Glory stepped out and caught his hor se by the bits and he was quickly surrounded. This pass is in the Tahlequah district and the Full-Bloods decided to ta ke Rider back to Flint, a distance of about a mile, to kill him. They us ed flintlock guns and as it was a very damp day the Indians begin packi ng dry powder into the fire pans. Rider knew that meant they were prepari ng to do some shooting and while they were all busy he suddenly drew his b ig knife and made a stroke at Glory's hand which caused the big Indi an to let go of the horse's bits. Rider then put spurs to his horse and ro de rapidly away, amid a storm of bullets from the guns behind him. He w as shot in the shoulder but kept going until he arrived at Fort Gibson a nd was out of danger. Rider at once joined Tom Starr and his band and afterward did his sha re in slaughtering the Full-Bloods who had come so near to taking his life . A WHITE DOVE STORY. The Full-Bloods, in order to carry out their declaration to hang or kill e very man who signed the treaty of 1835 or took any active part in the trea ty, captured Jake West and sentenced him to be hanged by the neck, until d ead. A guard of five-hundred Cherokees was placed over West until the ti me set for his execution. He was finally hanged and those who saw the exec ution all say that a white dove alighted upon the gallows just as the trig ger was sprung and West was launched into eternity. Whenever Tom Starr and his band would find an enemy in possession of slav es they would make a raid on them and take the slaves to Alabama, or to ot her places, and sell them. TOM STARR TAKES TO PLAINS When hard pressed, Starr and his band would go west and join the wild Indi ans. This they could do without trouble but the trouble came when they wan ted to leave. The Western Indians did not want to give up their friends, t he Cherokees, but wanted them to remain on the plains, but Starr had not f ully avenged his father's death and would occasionally make a dash into t he Cherokee Anti-Treaty camps, kill a few of his enemies and then esca pe to the plains again. While out on the plains with the wild Indians, Tom Starr had many ups a nd downs. He told the writer a few years before his death, that on one occ asion he and his band and a hand of wild Indians were trying to captu re a small buffalo. The buffalo would run around the hill ahead of them a nd would not leave it. Tom hid by the side of the route taken by the buffa lo and the rest chased it on around the hill. When the buffalo came with in range, Tom raised up from his hiding place, took aim with his rifle b ut the gun failed to fire, and the animal showed fight. Tom ran and so me of the wild Indians shot the buffalo and saved their friend's life b ut made a good deal of sport at his expense. Next day a large buffalo came feeding along very near their camp. Tom star ted out to get him but when the beast took after him, Tom ran for his li fe and jumped into a swollen creek nearby. The Buffalo jumped in after h im and while it was swimming around in the water Tom got on its back and b eing joined by his comrades they captured the buffalo alive. After one of Starr's raids on his old enemies, the latter got together, a nd followed in close pursuit, so close that one night while Starr was camp ed on a creek, the pursuers came to the creek and camped within half mi le of him. The Starr men were out early after their horses and finding th em mixed with the better ones, belonging to their pursuers, selected the b est of the bunch and escaped with them. TREATY MADE AND VIOLATED. Tom Starr's war with the Anti-Treaty Cherokees over the murder of his fath er lasted about five years. The Full-Bloods finally concluded that they co uld not capture him and his band and realizing that they would finally a ll be killed, if the struggle went on, made overtures of peace which we re accepted. The conditions insisted upon were that Tom Starr and his men all wou ld be pardoned and allowed to return to their homes and live in peace t he rest of their days. This was agreed to and a treaty of peace was accordingly made and signe d, and a pardon granted to Tom Starr and his men in accordance with the te rms of the treaty. As soon as this was done Starr and his men return ed to their homes in Going Snake District. They were not allowed to li ve in peace, however. HALF-BLOODS ENTER THE LISTS. Early one morning soon after the treaty of peace was concluded a numb er of Half Blood Cherokees went to the home of Mat GERRING who had been wi th Tom Starr through his war and killed [him]. The next day they went to t he place where Ellis Starr was staying and called him out in the yard a nd killed him. From this place they went to Sallisaw, took Washington Sta rr out of his sick bed and returned to the very spot where they had kill ed Ellis Starr, and there killed Washington Starr. They went to the Choctaw Nation to capture Creek Starr and Ike Gerring. Wh en they captured these men Ike Gerring was killed and Creek Starr made a p risoner. 'They started back to Going Snake District, with Creek Starr, to kill hi m, and while en route stopped to feed their horses. Watching his opportuni ty, Creek Starr mounted a fine horse, made a dash for liberty and escap ed unharmed amid a shower of bullets. He was afterwards killed in a duel w ith a Creek Indian. THE CONFLICT ABANDONED. Repeated attempts to kill Tom Starr failed and also failed to provoke h im to hostilities, if he could avoid them. On the other hand, the Half-Blo ods tired of the struggle and finally gave it up. In order to avoid furth er trouble with these people, who so flagrantly violated these terms of t he treaty of peace, Starr moved to Canadian District where he spent the re mainder of his days in peace and became very wealthy. Tom Starr could slaughter an enemy with ease and think nothing about it b ut at home his only aim in life seemed to be to please his wife to wh om he was thoroughly devoted and for her he would do anything in the wor ld which he thought would afford her any pleasure. Starr raised a large fa mily on the quiet banks of the Canadian but his sons are all dead now a nd only two of his daughters are yet living. Sam Starr, a younger son, became noted because he married Belle SHIRLY, w ho is said to have been at one time the wife of Cole YOUNGER. This woman w as a desperate character and soon got Sam Starr into trouble and he was ki lled. Later Belle Starr was assassinated near the Canadian River. Tom Sta rr lived a few years longer than his wife and became a peaceable and go od citizen. During the last years of his life he lived with his younger son, whose na me was Thomas Starr, Jr. and always slept with two good six shooters und er his head with every gun about the place always in shooting order. Tom S tarr took great pleasure in entertaining his friends in his old days a nd in recounting to them his daring exploits and hair breath escape s. He is buried on the bank of the Canadian River. This is the first Interview with Clarence Starr.
Per: Patsy Choate
Married to a full blood Choctaw woman.
Large flat monument on ground bearing this inscription:"Erected by J.A. Kn owles in 1936 in memory of his grandfather, Wm Henry Starr, born March 2 8, 1801, died July 28, 1864. Married first to Mahala Bird, of which uni on there were born thirteen children which included Sarah B. Starr, moth er of J.A. Knowles. After death of Mahala Bird-Starr, Wm Henry Starr marr ied Mrs. Mary Hawkins, of which union three children were born. While possibly related to the Cherokee Starrs of Rusk County, William do es not appear to have been of Cherokee ancestry himself. His wife Mahala B ird was believed to have been a full blood Cherokee. However, his second w ife was non-Indian. William was a Methodist minister.