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John Allison "Bud" Shirley
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Birth: 1842
Missouri, USA
Death: Jun. 20, 1863
Jasper County
Missouri, USA

Carthage, Missouri


How Belle Starr Once Attended a Dance
-The Killing of Bud Shirley

The following is sent the PRESS by its Sarcoxie correspondent:

The little item in Tuesday evenings' PRESS concerning Bud Shirley, after being real and commented on in Sarcoxie, prompted an old soldier who was standing near to relate the following little episode which occurred during the war and in which he was a participant:

The 3rd Wisconsin regiment was stationed about Carthage during the war and did a good deal of scouting over the country, often running into Carthage. Whenever the opportunity presented for any information in regard to the movements of the federal soldiers to be of any benefit to the bushwhackers who were often encamped in out-of-the-way corners, the notorious Belle Starr, or Myra Shirley as she was then known, would mount her horse and go like the wind till the message was delivered. Then she would come back through the lines ready to seek more information.

Being a woman it was hard to follow her movements. Two of the members of Company I of the regiment being Jasper county boys, from the vicinity of Sarcoxie, they knew whom they were dealing with.

On one occasion when the regiment ran into Carthage on a scout, as was often the case with the boys, they arranged to have a dance at night. One of the boys above spoken of and another soldier by the name of Coulson decided that they would go after Miss Shirley and her chum Miss Eliza Loving and escort them to the dance which was to come off somewhere on the public square.

The two ladies were found at the residence of Judge Chenault, who lived somewhere on the public square. The two ladies were found at the residence of Judge Chenault, who lived somewhere near what is now the junction of Grant street and Howard Avenue.

Mrs. Chenault strenuously objected to the girls going, and not wishing to go contrary to her wishes the girls entered into an agreement with the boys that they were to leave and were to return with an officer with orders for their arrest, which they did, being accompanied by Lieut. Calvert, then in command of the company, now a resident of Independence, Kansas. The girls were promptly placed under arrest and escorted to the dance, after which they were returned home and released.

The Bud Shirley spoken of was killed in Sarcoxie during the war having slipped in to visit a family by the name of Stewart. He was accompanied by a man by the name of Morris. Word was given to federal soldiers in camp at Cave Springs, six miles east of Sarcoxie, that the notorious bushwhacker Bud Shirley was in Sarcoxie.

A squad under command of Lieut. Brice Henry, went out and under cover of darkness surrounded the house he was in, which stood at a northwest corner of the square near the lumber yard. A signal was given by one of the boys calling out "here they are boys" and firing at the same time. Shirley ran the other way running into a squad of soldiers when he fell, being instantly killed and riding the country of one of the most desperate outlaws Southwest Missouri ever produced. bio by NJBrewer

* * * *

He was the son of John Shirley and the grandson of Samuel Shirley (d. 1842).


The Daughter of an Ohio Emigrant and the Avenger of a Brother's Murder.
FORT SMITH, Ark., Feb. 10 - According to a lawyer of this city who knew Belle Starr from her infancy and defended her in each of her trials here, her father, John Shirley, removed to Carthage, Mo., from Ohio, twenty years before the war and kept a hotel known as the Carthage House, where Myra Shirley was born.
Her early days were spent at home and nothing occurred to break the family circle until her eldest brother, Allison Shirley, was killed towards the end of the war by Kansas Jayhawkers. The day after the murder Myra was in the saddle in hot pursuit of her brother's murderers. The prevalence of border warfare and the great number of struggling troops then in Southwestern Missouri gave the young daredevil ample opportunity to show her prowess, and the wayward girl never again went home to stay, but linked her fortunes with the famous band of guerillas head by Quantrell.
After Quantrell's gang disbanded Myra fell in with the James and Younger brothers, and married with Cole Younger. Thereafter the daughter was the famous beauty and desperado Pearl Younger.
While on a visit to her aged father in Texas she met and married a desperado named Reed. This son was one of the first to reach her dead body last Monday. Reed was shot and killed by United States officers at Paris, Texas, and in 1869, and it was just before his death that the woman, then known as Belle Reed, stole $32,000 from Walt Grayson, a Cherokee Indian, forcing him to deliver the money at the muzzle of a six-shooter. She claimed to be an Indian, and was tried in an Indian court. To find her guilty would have been like assaulting the entire neighborhood, and the court acquitted her.
As soon as Reed was buried Belle married a full-blooded Creek Indian, named Sam Star, and thenceforth she was known as Belle Starr. Their honeymoon was spent in this city, in the United States Court, where both were tried and found guilty of horse stealing and sent to the Detroit jail. Upon her return to the Indian country she was arrested for larceny and acquitted.
Sam Starr was killed in a brawl about four years ago, and Belle then married Jim Starr, alias Bill July, her late husband's brother.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Dated: Feb. 11, 1889

*** Many thanks to Bob Weaver (#47904532) for article


Name: Allison Shirley
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1860
Event Place: Town Carthage Marion Township, Jasper, Missouri, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 18
Race: White
Birth Year (Estimated): 1842
Birthplace: Missouri
Page: 65
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: M653
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
John Shirley M 66 Virginia
Eliza Shirley F 45 Virginia
Allison Shirley M 18 Missouri
Myra Shirley F 12 Missouri
Edwin Shirley M 11 Missouri
Mansfield Shirley M 8 Missouri
Cravens Shirley M 2 Missouri

* * * *

Name: John A M Shirley
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1850
Event Place: Jasper county, part of, Jasper, Missouri, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 8
Race: White
Birth Year (Estimated): 1842
Birthplace: Missouri
House Number: 518
Affiliate Film Number: 402

* * * *

*** Many thanks to Freda Cruse Phillips (#47329145) for additional info and to NJBrewer (#47097113) who writes:

Below is an article that I found in the Carthage Evening Press newspaper about when Bud Shirley was shot and killed. It will support my edit about him dying in Sarcoxie, Jasper county, Missouri ...I would almost bet that Bud Shirley is buried in a nearby Jasper county cemetery, possibly in an unmarked grave.

Family links: 
  John Shirley (1794 - 1876)
  Elizabeth Pennington Hatfield Shirley (1816 - 1894)
  Preston Shirley (1826 - ____)**
  Charlotte Amanda Shirley Thompson (1828 - ____)**
  John Allison Shirley (1842 - 1863)
  Belle Starr (1848 - 1889)*
  Edwin Benton Shirley (1850 - 1896)*
  Mansfield Shirley (1852 - ____)*
  Cravens Shirley (1858 - ____)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: b
Non-Cemetery Burial
Specifically: Texas
Created by: Lanie
Record added: Nov 11, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 80241079

"For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity." ~ William Penn
- NJBrewer
 Added: May. 1, 2017

- Lanie
 Added: Apr. 29, 2017

- Ernest Sharpe Jr
 Added: Aug. 14, 2015
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