Tuesday, February 19, 2013


2/18/1921 - On a cold morning of sleet and rain, the long and storied outlaw career of Henry Starr comes to a violent end at the People's State Bank of Harrison, Arkansas.


Born in 1873 in the Indian Territory, Starr's destiny as a badman seemingly is in his DNA ... his grandfather is the outlaw, Tom Starr, and his uncle is the notorious Sam Starr, the mate of the woman known as the "Outlaw Queen," Belle Starr.  He begins following in their footsteps at the age of sixteen when he is arrested for carrying whiskey into the Indian Territory for distribution.


In the thirty-two years that follow, Starr will steal horses, rob stores, trains, and banks, engage in numerous shootouts with authorities, kill Deputy Marshal Floyd Wilson, have a hanging sentence overturned by the United States Supreme Court, receive a pardon for breaking up the jailbreak of Cherokee Bill, work in his mother's restaurant, study for a law degree, write his autobiography, "Thrill Events - Life of Henry Starr," while serving time in the Colorado State Prison, father a son, transition from escaping on horses to fleeing in cars, star in a silent movie about his life called "A Debtor to the Law," and marry three times.

                                                                   Movie Star

Too much wild flowing through his veins, in 1921, after a brief attempt at going straight, he is a real life bandit once more.


Seeking an easy score, Starr and two companions (gunman Rufus Rowlans and getaway driver Dave Lockhart) hit the Harrison bank, but the bank hits back.  In charge, holding a rifle, Starr orders Manager William J. Myers into the bank's vault as a prelude to removing the several thousand dollars it contains, but sadly for the outlaw, it also contains a .38-caliber Winchester on a rack that has been waiting twelve years for just such an emergency.  Grabbing the weapon, Myers fires on Starr just as the bandit is about to enter the vault and scores a hit that drops the outlaw to the floor.  Leader down, the other two outlaws immediately run outside and jump in their Nash, with Myers in close pursuit.  Firing as he runs and accurate again, the banker knocks out the car's windshield and holes a tire of the bandit's escape vehicle as it limps out of town across Crooked Creek Bridge.  The robbery, such that it was, is over.


In the same building two-story brick building as the bank, Starr is taken upstairs to the office  of Dr. T. P. Fowler and placed on a cot for examination ... an examination that reveals the bandit is not long for the world as a result of the slug that hit him, severing his spine and destroying his right kidney.  After being patched up as much as is possible, the outlaw is taken to the city jail to await his end.  Before it comes however, Starr, ever the showman, gives a speech about crime not paying and conducts an interview with a reporter from the Harrison Daily News.  On the 22nd of the month, four days after the attempted robbery, he passes in the presence of his mother, Mary, his wife, Hulda, and his seventeen-year-old son, Theodore Roosevelt Starr.

                                                             Finally at rest

His last words are, "I am satisfied to die.  I have found peace with God."  Starr is forty-seven-years-old ... and with his death, the Wild West era of American History comes to an end.


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