The Madera Ballroom of the Quail Creek Clubhouse received a visit from notorious stagecoach robber Pearl Hart (aka Shirley Pinkerton) during the January meeting of The Women of Quail Creek. Often referred to as “The Lady Bandit,” Ms. Hart told the captivated audience of her background and her life of crime, resulting in her imprisonment at the Yuma Territorial Prison in 1899.
Born in Canada and raised by a religious and affluent family, Pearl Taylor Hart became enamored with the West while in the company of her husband at the Chicago Exhibition in 1893. She saw Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and, leaving her abusive husband, she set out independently to experience the little known Arizona territory. Hard times, varying relationships and bad influences plagued Pearl. Seeking companionship and wealth, Pearl traveled throughout the Arizona territory and fell in with Joe Boot. It was this association that would lead Pearl to rob a stagecoach in Cane Springs Canyon. After being arrested near Benson, she was imprisoned in Florence and caused so much turmoil with reporters the warden had her transferred to Tucson. While awaiting trial in Tucson she befriended a trustee of the jail who helped her escape. After her eventual recapture Pearl was sent to the Yuma Territorial Prison. Always in search of the limelight, she held many interviews while at the territorial prison and became the subject of plays and novels. Long after her death, Ms. Hart was the subject of television dramas and even pop music.
Shirley Pinkerton has been portraying Pearl Taylor Hart and other notable figures through historical reenactment for many years. As a historian, speaker and reenactor, Ms. Pinkerton loves sharing The Story of Pearl Hart. Ms. Pinkerton is the current President of the Docent Council of the Arizona Historical Council Southern Division.
The Women of Quail Creek hold monthly programs on a variety of wide ranging topics. People wanting further information about TWOQC should consult the club’s website womenqc.com or contact President Carol Mutter at firstname.lastname@example.org.