Lawmen & Outlaws
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The McAlester Capital
May 23, 1895

On Sunday morning, May 12, 1895, W. W. Wallis, Esq., and the editor left Enterprise and drove to Hoyt and stopped with the hospitable family of W. W. Casey. We took him in and visited H. H. Hyden, who is dangerously sick.
After dinner Mr. and Mrs. Casey, Mr. and Mrs. John I. Cates, and Mrs. John Porter, Mr. Wallis and ourself went to Younger's Bend to visit the grave of Belle Starr, and the scene of the exploits that gave her unenviable notoriety, her unsavory fame.
The grave has been well taken care of and, is in the front yard of her residence, not more than 25 feet from the door, which is now occupied by W. H. Potter and father. It is walled up with stone and the wall filled with broken stone. The roof of the vault is of two stones set like the roof of a house. A marble slab adorns the front of the tomb that has a horse chiseled on it that is said to be modeled from a favorite horse that she had buried when he died; on a level with the feet and at the head is a hand bell, at back above is a star, the design supposed to be the name. Below are the words: "Belle Starr, Born, Carthage, M., Feb. 5th, 1848, Died Feb.3, 1889."
"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."
The house is built of cedar logs, and has a puncheon floor. It has two rooms now, but had only one then. The yard is full of choice fruit trees
Mr. and Mrs. Cates were present at her funeral. Mr. Cates made the coffin.
She was assassinated about a mile and a half from home, the assassin being hid in a fence corner. After the funeral a man named Watson was suspected of the killing and a man called Charley Afton threw a gun o him and ordered him to throw up his hands Watson took hold of Cates and pushed him between himself and the fun. After a minute or so Cates said throw up your hands and don't get us both killed. He then gave up. Mr. Cates thinks that they both were in great danger. This man was in great danger of being killed, as a single shot would have been the signal for a desperate fight. As the crowd was breaking up, Watson asked not to be left alone with the desperadoes, and Be Statham and wife, Jack Rowe and Mrs. Watson remained. July and Ed Reed took Watson to Ft. Smith, Jack Rowe going along to keep them from killing him. He stood trial was acquitted. July went to the Chickasaw country and was shot and died in jail at Ft. Smith, Watson was sent to the Arkansas penitentiary for stealing horses.
The members of our party were here during the days of the gang and knew them. Upon out return they became reminiscent and told numerous incidents, many of which have never been published, and which are very interesting.
The home and resort of the Starr gang is called Younger Bend of the South Canadian River, and some say it was the resort of the Manes and Youngers, but this is exceedingly doubtful. It was then an ideal place to hide, but now is a peaceful hamlet, occupied by enterprising farmers.
Near the house is a school house, and as we passed the swains and lasses had gathered to spend an hour in singing.
In a field about a quarter of a mile from the house is a lofty cedar timed to the top, only a small tuft of limbs being left at the top. This is called "The Marshal's Pole,' and the local legend, given by the desperadoes themselves, Is that when a luckless Deputy Marshal feel into the clutches, he was taken to this pole and forced to climb it; then, for the delectation, they shot him out of it like a squirrel.

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Updated: Wednesday, 06-Aug-2008 06:47:19 CDT

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