Boyd, Belle, 1844-1900, Confederate spy in the Civil War, b. Martinsburg, Va. (now W.Va.). Operating (probably unofficially) in Martinsburg and Front Royal, she provided Gen. T. J. (Stonewall) Jackson with valuable information on Union activities in the Shenandoah Valley in 1862. In 1864, after being twice imprisoned and released, she went to England, supposedly with secret dispatches from Jefferson Davis to Confederate agents there. The first of her three husbands, a Union officer who had been her captor, followed her to England to marry her. After his death she began a career on the English stage (1866) and on her subsequent return to the United States toured widely, especially in the Middle West, giving dramatic talks about herself and sundry episodes of the Civil War. She wrote Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison (1865).

See biography by L. A. Sigaud (1945).

Starr, Belle, 1848?-89, American outlaw, b. near Carthage, Mo. Her original name was Myra Belle (or Maybelle) Shirley. Her family members were Confederate sympathizers, and her father was a farmer who later operated a tavern in Carthage, where she spent her childhood. The Shirleys subsequently (1864) moved to Scyene, near Dallas, Tex. Early in her life Belle met Cole Younger, with whom she was long (and probably falsely) rumored to have had a child. She also became close to Jesse James and his gang, the rest of the Youngers, and other outlaws, many of whom, like her brother, had served with Quantrill's raiders during the Civil War. In 1866 she married the outlaw Jim Reed. After he was killed she wed (1880) Sam Starr, a Cherokee outlaw, and went to live in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Her home there became a retreat for outlaws, for whom she operated mainly as a "fixer" with the legal authorities. In 1883 she and Starr were convicted of horse-stealing and briefly imprisoned. Starr's reputation as a notorious horse thief and murderess was greatly magnified in Richard K. Fox's popular novel Bella Starr, the Bandit Queen; or, the Female Jesse James (1889), written after she was shot to death by an unknown assailant.

See biographies by B. Rascoe (1941), E. P. Hicks (1963), C. W. Breiham (1970), G. Shirley (1982), and P. W. Steele (1989).

Belle is a town in Kanawha County, West Virginia, along the Kanawha River. The population was 1,259 at the 2000 census. Belle was incorporated on December 13, 1958 by the Kanawha County Circuit Court. It is the home of the Belle Bulldogs Elementary School.


Belle is located at (38.233853, -81.541606).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.0 km² (0.8 mi²). 1.8 km² (0.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (8.86%) is water.

The water around Belle is said to be severely polluted by the chemical company DuPont, which operates a chemical plant there. According to Scorecard, a pollution watchdog site, water releases of chemicals from the DuPont Belle facility increased by 385% from 1988 to 2002. Air releases decreased by 94.3% during the same interval. Scorecard


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,259 people, 569 households, and 364 families residing in the town. The population density was 684.7/km² (1,766.2/mi²). There were 647 housing units at an average density of 351.8/km² (907.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.31% White, 0.87% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.87% from other races, and 2.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.

There were 569 households out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $34,118, and the median income for a family was $43,203. Males had a median income of $27,500 versus $22,969 for females. The per capita income for the town was $18,636. About 8.6% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.

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