Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The "Outlaw" Tom Starr 1819 - 1890 Good Guy or Outlaw?

The Son of James Starr and The Grandson of Caleb Starr My 2nd Cousin 4x Removed

 The Civil War Tom Starr served in the Confederate Army in the First Cherokee Mounted Volunteers. He was a scout for General Stand Watie and was acquainted with William Quantrill. After the war some of Quantrill's raiders would visit the area around the Canadian River near Tom's ranch. The visitors included Cole Younger and his brothers. This area became known as Younger Bend.

 Taken from "100 Oklahoma Outlaws, Gangsters, and Lawmen" 1839 Tom Starr, a Cherokee rebel, opposed to the Ross faction, Starr took land between Briartown and Eufala on the Bend of the Canadian River, sired Sam Starr, and reportedly entertained such notable crime figures as Jim Reed, Jack Spaniard, Felix Griffin, Jim French, the James’s and the Younger’s. He reportedly named Younger’s Bend for Cole Younger and occasionally sheltered the James brothers following the Civil War, Starr killed his own brother-in-law, reaping a $2,000 reward after presenting the severed head to the Cherokee chief and treasurer as proof of death.

  This next story is long but well worth the read. It is an amazing story and from everything I have read about Tom, it is true. 


 Organized Band and Started War Against Anti-Treaty Full Bloods to Avenge Murder of His Father

 - On The War Path Many Years Special Correspondence to Phoenix. Vinita, Iud. Ter., October 19.—

 Many people in the Cherokee Nation remember quite well the Tom Starr war and the many incidents that are connected with it. After the removal of the Cherokees west of the Mississippi river the Cherokees divided into two parties known as the Ridge and Ross parties. The Ridge party was known as the treaty party and the Ross party as the anti-treaty party. When the Ridge party came west they settled in the Cherokee Nation under their chief, John Jolly, and the Ross party followed later after the treaty of 1835 having been moved west by the United States troops. As soon as the anti-treaty people landed in the Cherokee Nation they stirred up dissension and strife out of which grew the Tom Starr war. The anti-treaty was very much dissatisfied with the new country and were mad at the Ridge party for making the treaty with the United States and undertook to kill all the members of the Ridge party and bands of full bloods armed themselves and went in bands all over the country to murder any member of the Ridge party that they could find; they deposed Chief John Jolly and elected John Ross as chief of the Cherokees and then followed the declaration of war between the two powerful parties and the anti-treaty people declared that they would kill every man who had signed the treaty with the United States . The anti-treaty people started the blood to flow by killing the leaders of the opposite party. The full bloods rode up to the home of old-man Boudtriot and old man Ridge one morning early, shot him down in cold blood and afterwards tied John West to a tree and stripped him of his clothing and gave him one hundred lashes on the bare back. The man who executed this command of the anti-treaty people tied West to a tree and cut ten young hickory sprouts one year old and would give him ten licks with one switch and throw it down and give him some water and then take another switch and give him ten more licks and then give him water and continued in this way until the hundred stripes were applied. After this, times became very quiet until about a year later when more serious trouble followed. It soon became quite apparent to the followers of the Ridge party that they would not be permitted to live in peace with the anti-treaty Indians and they resolved to give up all their possessions in the Cherokee Nation and go west and find a new location. Accordingly, Ezekiel Starr, one of the prominent leaders of the Ridge people, gathered together a large delegation of the treaty party and secured a sufficient number of pack mules and started west to find a new location for another Cherokee Nation. They found plenty of game and what they thought was a good country. They returned in about six months and held a general council of the treaty party and it was there resolved that a delegations be sent to Washington to take the matter up with the United States and lay before the department their complaint and try to make a treaty.whereby the treaty party of the Cherokees could select their Nation in Colorado. Ezekiel Starr was selected as a delegate to go to Washington and look after their part of the matter. The Cherokees were very poor in those days and they could not afford to send a number of delegates to Washington so they selected Ezekiel Starr and sent him to Washington to confer with the government. Ezekiel Starr went to Washington in January, 1816, and remained until the following May when he took sick and died and was buried in Washington. Negotiations were under way when Ezekiel Starr died, after which the Cherokees were unable to be represented at Washington the National capitol and being without a leader they were left in total darkness. Had Ezekiel Starr lived his efforts to establish a Cherokee Nation for the treaty party in Colorado would no doubt have proved successful and there would have been two nations for' the Cherokees. The Ridge party were without a leader and they soon became disheartened in their attempt to locate in Colorado and finally they abandoned their idea and decided to take the best of a bad bargain with the anti-treaty party they could. While Ezekiel Starr and his crowd were.in the west looking for a new location the rest of the treaty party became refugees and fled to Arkansas for protection. Gen. Arbuckle with United States troops was located on the Arkansas line for the protection of the people and to preserve the peace, but his efforts proved futile One morning early while the homemakers were still in'the west, and James Starr, father of the notorious Tom Starr, was preparing to go to White river' in Arkansas on a hunting trip a band of full bloods rode up to his house and shot him down on his porch arid his son Buck Starr, ran away and; they pursued him and shot him. several: times, but he lived about a month and died. From the Starr home the full bloods, went to the home of Pollie Rider and killed Sewell Rider in his own yard. When Sewell Rider fell to the ground mortally wounded a full blood by the name of Stan jumped over in the yard and plunged his big knife into the wounded mans heart and a few minutes later the full bloods met Wash Starr in the road and opened fire on him, he fled to the woods desperately wounded but made good his escape and afterwards recovered. Wash Starr was a brother, of the notorious Tom Starr. This occurred in Goingsnake District and the women and children of the treaty party fled to the State of Arkansas, where they received rations from Gen. Arbuckle, and the full bloods who were doing this killing fell back to their headquarters at Tahlequah, from which place their.future operations were directed.

 When the killing occurring in Goingsnake District Tom Starr was living about two miles from his father's house and when his father was killed a younger brother named Creek Starr ran as hard as he could to the Tom Starr residence and conveyed the sad news to Tom Starr. Tom Starr, and his older brother fled to the woods and could not go to his father's funeral. Tom Starr had twenty-one brothers and sisters and the younger brothers and sisters attended the funeral but the older brothers dare not attend because they would be killed by the anti-treaty people. Upon hearing of the death of his father Tom Starr a few days later visited the burying ground and over the grave of his dead father he made a solemn vow that he would avenge his father's death and that he would kill every full blood who had anything to do with the death of James Starr, his father. Tom Starr organized a band of followers composed of his brothers and cousins and a white man named Gerring and started out on his career as an outlaw to avenge his father's death. Tom Starr and his band heard of the full blood Stan, who killed Sewell Rider by stabbing him to the heart after he was mortally wounded Stan was located at an Indian dance and Tom Starr took a man by the name of Wheeler Fought, who was friendly to both parties, to the dance. Tom Starr and his band hid out some distance from the place where the dance was and instructed Wheeler Fought to go to the place and give Stan a drink of whiskey and to continue drinking with him until he got well under the influence of whiskey, and then to tell him that there was a jug of whiskey hidden in a certain top of a tree that had fallen and to persuade Stan to go there and get the jug. The scheme worked and later on in the night Stan came up to the tree top in search of the jug of whiskey and met Tom Starr and his band. Stan was shot from his horse by Tom Starr's band and then stabbed to death in the same manner that Sewell Rider was killed by Stan. On the morning following the killing of Stan the full bloods gathered and held a council of war and accused Wheeler Fought of being a member of Tom Starr's band and had him arrested, and they gave him a speedy trial out before their council fire the next night and he was hung the following day. Tom Starr heard of what was going on and tried to get up a band of at least thirty brave men and and make a wild rush into the full blood camp and rescue Wheeler Fought but he could not get enough men together to justify the attempt and Wheeler Fought paid the penalty with his life.

 After this a reign of terror followed and Tom Starr and his band were declared outlaws and the anti-treaty Indians chased them from pillar to post and the United States troops were scouring the country in search of them. When the full bloods would come to the conclusion that Tom Starr and his band were driven from the country the wily Tom would steal into the midst of the full blood settlement and in one night kill several of the leading full bloods who took a part in the murder of his father and then make good his escape and this continued for several years. A man would be killed some night and his house burned or some prominent anti-treaty full blood would be killed by the wayside and no one knew who did it. In this way Tom Starr waged his war with the full bloods until he was satisfied that every man who had anything to do with the murder of his father was killed. All efforts to capture him failed and he fought the Indians-in true Indian style

 Tom Starr heard of one of the men who took a leading part in the murder of his father and he rode one hundred miles to get to kill him. He waylaid him at his spring for two days before he got an opportunity to kill him. He could not get the man out so he decided to kill him in his house, so he crept up to the house and had a.man who was with him to hold the horse. Tom Starr stood by the side of the door, and gently knocked on the door. A.voice from the inside said who is there? Tom Stan replied "A Friend." The Indian on the inside shot through the door. Tom Starr seized a fence rail and broke the door in and entered the house with a drawn knife.. The Indian had three other men in the house with him and they ran under the bed for protection. Tom Starr killed the Indian with his knife and then went after the men {under the bed and killed all of them and mounted his horse and escaped.

It appeared to Tom Starr that his end was near at hand and he concluded to visit the Indian medicine man whom he called conjurers. He went to see a woman who was a conjurer to see what she could tell him. This woman advised him not to go north that he would get hurt, to go any course but north and he could escape. The next day he met two of his friends in the road with a jug of whiskey and they gave Tom Starr some whiskey to drink and wanted him to go north with them. Tom tried to beg off but his pleas availed nothing and they called him a coward for being afraid to go north. He became well under the influence of whiskey and concluded if his friends could make the trip he could too, so they set out and came to a narrow pass between a hillside and a fence. Tom Starr wanted his friends to go around that place, but they would not and started to ride through the pass when they were fired on by the Indians in ambush and the friends of Tom Starr were riding ahead and'escaped without injury, but Tom Starr's horse was shot from under him and he was wounded in the foot. His horse fell on his foot, but he extricated himself and climbed up the hill. While on the hillside, it being very dark, he would throw stones down the hill in another direction to mislead the Indians. Every time he would throw a stone down the hill the Indians would fire on the place where the stone would fall and in this way Tom Starr deluded them until he made good his escape in the darkness over the hill. He soon discovered that he was about to bleed to death and he stopped and bound up his wound with his handkerchief but this did not give him much relief so he went away from that place until he came to a place where he would not be discovered and built up a fire, end heated his knife and burned the wound and made it quit bleeding in that way. Tom Starr said that the only thing thing he regretted was having to ruin his knife by heating it and taking all of the temper out of it. The next day Tom Starr was lying sick in the top of a fallen tree and the full bloods rode all around him, searching for him but they did not find him, and afterwards went to a spring and finally escaped and joined his baud. He was not betrayed when he rode into the pass as one of the men with him.was a faithful brother. After this incident Tom Starr had some superstition about the conjurers and he believed in them to some extent.

The hill that Tom Starr had climbed on the memorial night that the full bloods fired on him. from ambush is located near Siloam Springs, Arkansas, near the state line and is known to this day as Tom Starr Hill. After leaving the Tom Starr Hill, Tom made his way to the home of Tom Rider, a friend of the treaty party and a peaceful and good citizen. Mr. Rider gave Tom the best horse he had and told him to make good his escape. The Indians came along in pursuit and some of them saw Tom Starr riding John Rider's horse. They decided to kill John Rider. A friend of Rider's came about midnight one night and told him to make his escape or he would be killed because the Indians knew he had furnished a horse to Tom Starr. Rider got right up out of bed and mounted his horse and set out 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 full blood with a drawn pistol walked into the Rider home and searched for Mr. Rider, but the bird had flown. The full blood stepped out into the yard and gave a yell and the full bloods came up to the house from all directions. They took the trail and followed John Rider horse's tracks until they discovered the course he had taken and then set out towards Fort Gibson. Rider stopped at a blacksmith shop to have his horse shod and while this was going on the Indians located him and got in ahead of him and hid at a narrow pass in the road. Rider made a wild rush to beat them to the pass but to his surprise when he rode into the pass a full blood by the name of Glory stepped out and caught his horse" by the bit and stopped him, and the Indians, soon surrounded him. This pass was in Tahlequah District and the full bloods decided to take Rider back into the Flint District, a distance of about a mile to kill him. They used flint lock guns and it was a very damp day and Rider noticed the Indians commence picking dry powder into the fire pans of their guns and he knew that this meant that they were preparing to do some shooting, .and. while they were all busy at work he drew his big knife and made a stroke at Glory's bands which caused the big Indian to let loose of the horses bridle and then Rider put spurs to his horse and rode rapidly away amid a storm of bullets from the guns behind him. Rider was shot' in the.shoulder but kept going until he arrived at Fort Gibson and was out of danger. Rider at once joined Tom Starr and his band, and afterwards did his share in slaughtering; the full bloods who came so near taking his life.

 The full bloods, in order to carry out their declaration to hang or kill every man who signed the treaty of 1835, or took any active part in the treaty captured Jake West and sentenced him to be hanged by the neck until dead. A guard of five hundred full bloods Cherokees was placed over West until the time set for his execution, and they finally hanged him and those who saw the execution all say that a white dove lit on the gallows just as the trigger was sprung and West launched into eternity.

 Whenever Tom Starr and his band would find an enemy in the possession of slaves they would make a raid on them and take the slaves to Alabama or other places and sell them. When hard pressed Tom Starr and his band would go west and join the wild Indians. They found no trouble in joining the wild Indians but the trouble came when they wanted to leave them and come back to the Cherokee Nation. The wild Indians did not want to give up their friends, the Cherokees and wanted them to remain on the plains, but Tom Starr had not yet avenged his father's death and would occasionally make a dash into the Cherokee anti-treaty camps and kill a few of his enemies and escape to the plains again.

 While out on the plains with their wild Indians, Tom Starr had many ups and downs and he told the writer a few years before he died that on one occasion he and his crowd and a crowd of wild Indians were trying to capture a small buffalo and the the buffalo would run around a hill ahead of them and not leave the hill. Tom Starr hid by the side of the route taken by the buffalo and the rest of the crowd chased the buffalo around the hill. When the buffalo came in range Tom raised from his hiding place and took aim with his rifle, but his gun failed to fire and the buffalo showed fight and Tom ran for his life and some of the wild Indians shot the buffalo and saved Tom's life. The wild Indians made sport of him for having to run from the the buffalo so the next day a large buffalo came feeding along near their camp so Tom called out and the buffalo took after him and he ran for his life and jumped into a swollen creek near by, and the buffalo jumped in after him and while the buffalo was swimming around in the water Tom Starr got on his back and was joined by the wild Indians and they captured their buffalo alive.

 After the buffalo chase Tom Starr and his band, with the permission of the wild Indians, made a dash into the Cherokee Nation and killed some more of the Indians who were his enemies and started back to the plains. The full bloods were following in close pursuit, so close that one night Tom Starr and his men crossed a creek and went into camp, and the full bloods came up to the creek and camped within a half mile of the Tom Starr camp. The Starr men were out early after their horses and they found them mixed with the horses belonging to their pursuers. The Indians were riding good horses while the Starr crowd has poor ponies, so Tom Starr ordered his men to select the best horses that belonged to their pursuers and they did so and set out on their journey to the plains delighted to know that they has exchanged horses with their pursuers.

 Tom Starr's war with the anti-treaty full blood Cherokees over the murder of his father lasted about five years and the full bloods finally concluded that they could not capture him and his band and realized the full bloods would finally all be killed and they made overtures of peace which were accepted by Tom Starr and his men and the condition imposed was that Tom Starr ad his men all be pardoned and allowed to return to their homes and live in peace the rest of their days. This was agreed to and a treaty of peace was accordingly made and signed and a pardon granted to Tom Starr and his men in accordance with the terms of the treaty of peace. As soon as this was done Tom Starr and his men returned to their homes in Goingsnake district.

 They were not allowed to live in peace, however, because some of the half blood Cherokees took the matter up and in violation of the treaty of peace commenced a new war on Tom Starr and his men and made desperate efforts to kill them. Early one morning soon after the treaty of peace was concluded a number of half blood Cherokees went to the home of Mat Gerrings who had been with Tom Starr through his war, and killed him. The next day they came to the place where Ellis Starr was staying and called him out in the yard and killed him and from this place they went to Sallisaw and captured Washington Starr and took him out of his sick bed and returned to the very spot where they had killed Ellis Starr and there killed him. They then went to the Choctaw Nation to capture Creek Starr and Ike Gerring and when they captured these men Ike Gerring was killed and Creek Starr made a prisoner. They started to take Creek Starr back to Goingsnake district to kill him and while en route they stopped to feed their horses when Creek Starr mounted a fine horse and made a dash for liberty and escaped unharmed amid a shower of bullets and was afterwards killed in a duel with a Creek Indian. Afterwards the Cherokees made a disparate attempt to kill Tom Starr but all efforts failed and Tom Starr had enough of the war and he concluded not to make war on the half bloods if he could possibly avoid it. The half bloods found out that it would not pay them to try any more to take the life of Tom Starr so they finally gave up the idea and in order to avoid further trouble with these people who so flagrantly violated the terms of the treaty of peace, he moved west to the Canadian Rived in Canadian district on the west side of the Arkansas river where he spent the remainder of his days in peace and became wealthy. Tom Starr could slaughter an enemy with ease and did not think anything about it, but at home his only aim in life seemed to be to please his wife to whom he was thoroughly devoted and for whom he would do anything in the world he thought would afford her any pleasure. Tom Starr raised a large family on the quiet banks of the Canadian river, but his sons are all dead now and only two daughters are yet living. Sam Starr, a younger son, became noted because he married Belle Shirley who is it said to have at one time been the wife of Cole Younger. This woman was very desperate and soon got Sam Starr into trouble and he got killed and she was later assassinated near the Canadian river. Tom Starr lived few years longer than his wife and became a peaceable and good citizen During the last years of his life he lived with his younger son whose name was Thomas Starr Jr. and always slept with two six shooters under his head and every gun about the place was always in shooting order. Tom Starr took great pleasure in entertaining his friends in his olds days and recounting to them his daring exploits and hair-breath escapes. It has been only a few years ago since he passed over the river of death and now sleeps in the green cemetery on the beautiful banks of the Canadian river, where peace, and quiet, law and order reign supreme. J. C .Starr Good Guy or Bad Guy - Tom Starr? Blood revenge The blood revenge custom, an ancient Ah-ni-ku-ta-ni belief, was usually carried out by an older male of the victim's clan if it could not be taken by his oldest brother. The Cherokees believed that balance had to be restored in order to preserve the balance of forces between the two worlds, the spirit world, and the world of physical reality. Blood revenge was to free the soul of the victim and to let it pass from this world to the next. (It was the practice to avenge the victim by taking the life of the murderer himself, however, a close relative of the murderer would satisfy the revenge.) The Ancient Law of Blood Revenge was abolished by the Cherokee National Government on September 11, 1808. This act of abolishment was seen to have advanced the Cherokees in civilization, and it was universally accepted by the Cherokee People. When James Starr was assassinated, son Tom swore vengeance and carried out his oath with 20-plus murders. He was later pardoned because of a unique quirk in a federal peace treaty.


On 15 September 1937, John Henry West (born 1866) was interviewed by a Historical-Indian Research Worker, Mr. James S. Buchanan. The interview covered many topics, including West's boyhood recollections of his infamous neighbor, Tom Starr.  Pertinent excerpts from that interview are as follows:

I, John H. West, was born July 31, 1866 two miles west of the present site of Briartown, on the Canadian River.

My father was John C. West, the son of John W. West, an Irishman who came with the Cherokees from Tennessee to the Indian Territory in 1832. His wife was a Cherokee by the name of Ruth Fields.

My grandfather, John C. West was considered the most powerful man in the Cherokee tribe. During the prime of his life the Cherokee Council passed a law forbidding him to hit a man with his fists for they were considered deadly weapons.

My mother was Margurette Elizabeth Hickey West. She was part Cherokee, the daughter of J. H. Hickey, a white man who married a Cherokee woman and came to the Territory with the Indians in 1832. ...

... When I was about three years of age, father established a new claim at the foot of the mountain, three-quarters of a mile southwest of where the town of Porum was later established. It was at this place that I, my brothers and sisters were reared. The old settlers of that community and neighbors were Tom Starr and his family, Sam Campbell and his family, Charley Lowery and his family, and the John Robertson family.

It has been written by misinformed writers that Tom Starr, during his early life, was a common outlaw and guilty of many crimes, which is untrue. Tom Starr was not guilty of anything except what he was driven to in the defense of his people or himself. I never knew a better man nor had a better neighbor. I knew Tom Starr from my earliest recollections until his death, which occurred when I was about twenty-three years of age.

All of the old settlers in this part of the country in those days were good people because they had to be good if they were able to stay here long enough to be Old Settlers.

In the early part of my life this was a wonderful country. It was sparsely settled, open range for stock, and the prairies covered with blue stem grass as high as a horse’s back. All kinds of game such as deer, turkey, prairie chicken, etc. were here. Wild fruit and nuts grew in abundance and the Indians and early settlers put forth every effort to protect those natural resources ...



The Grant Foreman Collection contains a 1937 interview with a certain Dr. George Washington Culledge who practiced medicine in Briartown in 1894. He graduated in medicine from Vanderbilt University in 1885 and served as a intern assisting his brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Niddly at Silcam Springs, Arkansas, until June, 1886.  He had this to say about his practice at Briertown in Indian Territory and his acquaintance with Tom Starr:

I decided to embark on my own career in Indian territory, I rode horseback from Washington County, Arkansas, via Tahlequah, over the old stage road through Ft, Gibson to Muskogee, crossing the Arkansas River on a ferry at the mouth of Grand River,. Leaving Muskogee, I started south with Briartown as my intended destination. When I had ridden a distance over the open country which I thought should be near my destination, I saw a cabin near the trail so I decided to inquire as to the distance to Briartown. I rode up to the house and saw a man lying on a pallet by the door of the cabin. I asked him to tell me the distance to Briartown. He raised up and looked at me in amazement and said, "Mister you are right in the middle of Briartown."

To my surprise I learned that Briartown was a community, instead of a village as I had visualized it. This man, Lacy Crane, was my first acquaintance at Briartown. The Briartown post office at that time was in the home of Isaac Mooney, the postmaster. His place was situated about three quarters of a mile northeast of the present site of Briartown. I was fortunate on my arrival to finding lodging and board in the home of Jim McClure, about two and one half miles east of the present site of Briartown.

The country at that time was very sparsely settled and I was the only practicing physician in the territory between Texanna, Muskogee and Webber Falls. The few roads through the country were nothing more than trails. Many of my calls were several miles over which there was not even a trail. I practiced medicine there for two years, then I returned to Arkansas to marry Martha Williams.

Immediately after our marriage we started back to Indian Territory in a two-horse wagon. We were thirteen days making the trip of two hundred miles, which we enjoyed as our honeymoon. On my return to Briartown we boarded in the home of a Cherokee Indian by the name of Bill Phillips a short time, then moved to the home of Jeff Surratte where we boarded for three years. I continued my practice here until 1894.
I then returned to Vanderbilt where I studied for one year. I returned to Indian Territory, this time stopping at Whitefield, across the river from Briartown. I stayed one year in this community, then moved to the little town of Starvilla about three miles east of where Porum now stands. I lived and practiced Medicine there until 1901, then moved back to Briartown and continued my practice there until 1919.

I discontinued my medical practice and farmed in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas until 1931, when I returned to Briartown and resumed my medical practice until the present time (1937).
Tom Starr was one of my closest friends and I made professional calls to the home of "Uncle Tom" as he was familiarly known. Dr. Lindsey, who was a physician at Texanna for many years was Uncle Tom's family doctor. During the time I was located in Whitefield, I made many calls to his home.
There have been many exaggerated stories about the early life of Tom Starr. I would like to brand as false any story that gives the impression that Tom Starr was an outlaw at heart or that he had any criminal or cruel characteristics. I knew Tom Starr well, I never knew him to make a false statement. He told me of his early life and troubles after they moved to Indian Territory from the old nation in Georgia. The murder of his father, James Starr and his little brother, the burning of his mothers home etc. (The story Dr, Culledge told was much the same as told in the book, Belle Starr, so I won't repeat it here.) But Dr Culledge emphasized, "I am confidant that what he related was true."
Dr, Culledge went on to tell more about Tom Starr. He said Tom Starr was a very clever character, he also had a great sense of humor. He seamed to have a great influence over the superstitions of the Indians. On one occasion one of Uncle Tom's fat hogs that he was intending to kill for meat, suddenly disappeared. He waited three or four days, in his characteristic way of silently figuring things out, and yet the hog did not show up.
Finally Uncle Tom strolled over to the cabin of an Indian, who lived a short distance away. When he came in view of the cabin, where he was sure to be seen, he stopped and stood erect in the trail, looking toward the sky, taking long drafts from his pipe and blowing the smoke in the direction of the cabin. He repeated this several times before he reached the door of the cabin. The Indian had been watching and wondered what he was doing.
The Indian asked him in, Tom entered the cabin in a slow and mysterious way, took a seat near the cellar door in the floor of the cabin. He continued to take an occasional draw at his pipe. Finally he broke the silence by saying "The medicine I make through my smoke say to me my hog is in the cellar"
The Indian, in a state of superstitious fear confessed to killing the hog and begged to be permitted to pay for it. Uncle Tom at that time was fencing some land. He let the Indian make one thousand fence rails at $1.00 per hundred and every thing would be forgiven. Tom never lost any more hogs.
One trait I admired in Tom was that he would never speak ill or slander any woman, nor would he engage in conversation with anyone who was doing so. If he was talking to his closest friend and the friend happened to make an ill remark about some woman, Tom would immediately walk away from him. I remember one day when a bunch of men had been standing around in idle conversation, and some one made remark about a woman, Tom turned to me and said, "No man should speak evil of any woman, our mothers were women."
"Dying is but going home." is written on Tom's tombstone. He married twice. He married Caty Mouse. Caty was the daughter of Lacy Mouse and Caty. He married Catherine Reese about 1840 in Canadian District, Indian Territory, Cherokee Nation.. Catherine died 4 JUL 1884 at age 65. Her body was interred after 4 JUL 1884 at Starr Cemetery in Brairtown, Muskogee, OK.(2423). Thomas Starr II and Caty Mouse had two children and Catherine Reese and Tom Starr had 11 children. From all accounts "Old Tom" was a devoted husband. 


  1. Wow excellent history I also am a Starr who presently lives in Cleveland Missouri by way of California and Hawaii my father Richard Starr, Grandfather Jack Orr Starr, I came from Henry starr and sam/Belle Starr back to Dr Comfort Starr of England would love to learn more about my lineage please FB page is Shannon Star-Terry

    1. It certainly is an impressive history , I too am a biological Starr ; my father was adopted after his mother remarried. I didn't know my real grandfather , and didn't know I was a Starr until I turned 15.

  2. As always very informative. I so enjoy this blog.. Email me cousin the dna stuff just keeps coming.

  3. Look up Henry Starr the Cherokee Bandit he was Tom Starr's Grandson by Sam Starr and Belle Starr he was a historical outlaw who was the first person to rob a bank by Car! He also seemed destined to live a life of termoil and injustice while only wanting peace and an honest life. There is said to be treasure hidden by him