Did Cole Younger have any children? I ask because a doctor in town comes into my barbershop and claims to be his great-grandson.

Did Cole Younger have any children? I ask because a doctor in town comes into my barbershop and claims to be his great-grandson.

Phil Thomas
Downers Grove, Illinois

The genealogy listed in Marley Brant’s book on the Youngers notes that Cole, Jim, Bob and John sired no children. If the doctor’s lineage traces back to one of the other Younger siblings (Henry and Bersheba Younger had nine other children), Cole would not be the doctor’s great-grandfather, but rather his great-granduncle.

One persistent myth, denied by Cole until his dying day, is that he fathered a child with Belle Starr. Cole met Starr when she was married to Jim Reed and was already four months pregnant. Reed and Cole were friends and had been fellow guerrilla fighters during the Civil War. Upon learning Starr had a teenage crush on him, Cole avoided her. Starr named her daughter Pearl and often claimed Cole was the father. Probably wishful thinking. Ironically, after Reed was killed, Starr married Cole’s uncle, Bruce Younger.


Marshall Trimble
is Arizona’s official historian. His books include

The Arizona Trilogy

and Law of the Gun.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall,

PO Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.