Notes for Samuel STARR

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.
Return to Samuel STARR

Notes for Samuel C. STARR

Questionable parentage
Return to Samuel C. STARR

Notes for Susie 'Sukey' 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
Return to Susie 'Sukey' STARR

Notes for Thomas STARR

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.
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.

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.

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

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

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 .

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.

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

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.

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.

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

'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.


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.
Return to Thomas STARR

Notes for Warren STARR

Per: Patsy Choate 
Married to a full blood Choctaw woman.
Return to Warren STARR

Notes for William Henry STARR

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.
Return to William Henry STARR