Delete if I've already posted this sketch, please.
Contemporary view of where our next blazing sixgun incident occurred.
A tough hombe:
El Paso. . . April 14, 1881. Grab some Iced Tea and Cornbread, and get ready!
FOUR DEAD IN FIVE SECONDS
Dallas Stoudenmire stood 6' 4" and was both athletic and fast. He was at times a good man and at times a bad man. He was smart. He was always well dressed. But above all he was tough and he had a mean streak. It reared it's head in his all too often drinking bouts (eventually his drunkenness led to his undoing).
Stoudenmire had been born in Alabama in 1845 and had entered the civil war as a 16 year old. Stoudenmire was rumored to have killed at least two men in gunfights during the 1870s. He moved to Texas and even did a stint with The Texas Rangers. He landed in El Paso. . .
In late 1880 a Kentuckian named George Campbell was given the job as El Paso City Marshal. A man noted for bravery and honesty in prior law enforcement work. However, he resigned in January 1881 over a pay dispute. However, he stuck around El Paso as he liked the place. . . On April 11, 1881 Dallas Stoudenmire took over the position of City Marshal. George Campbell would soon wish he left El Paso.
The newest Marshal took over a rowdy town replete with pimps, gamblers gunmen, lots of rustlers, plenty of whiskey and plenty of "soiled doves". He would within a short time make a great ways toward both cleaning it up and slightly contributing to it. Texas was a tough place and El Paso was a darned tough place. But Stoudenmire literally cast a giant shadow and a town full of gunmen, and outlaws watched him very carefully.
A civil war veteran with more than one gunshot wound and having likely three dead men to his credit. Dallas Stoudenmire knew that all eyes were on him from the outset. In three days he would deliver an object lesson.
Bosques, dark and foreboding, lined the Rio Grande and those along with briar encrusted thickets and scruff provided cover for the ever plentiful rustlers mostly but the occasional murderer/robber. Contemporary newspapers have stories of screams echoing from the area. Dead men that originated here were rarely identified. The rustlers were bold here and operated rather openly. Posses if small met with shotgun blasts when they entered this area and if large the outlaws just hid and waited. The biggest outfit of rustlers was run by the Manning brothers, Frank, John, and James. An adjacent ranch, that of John Hale, together with the Manning spread was the center of rustling operations. Hale was a tree tall man of English parentage and evidently also a hard case. The rustling enterprise had numerous gunmen associated with it, it seems George Campbell may have been one of them. An ironic twist. . .
The germ for what was to become known as "Four Dead in Five Seconds" involved two vaqueros. No! Not those kind. But hardworking Mexican cow-hands. To wit, "Sanchez and Juarique". These men had come across the border in search of 30 head of rustled cattle. They had involved the authorities and everyone knew where to begin the search. They had gone almost directly to the Hale ranch and within a short time had located three head of the stolen cattle at which time Hale began a vitriolic defense saying he had purchased the cattle from Don Ynocente Ochoa. A blatant lie. The couple of officers who had accompanied Sanchez and Juarique, eventually turned back since only three of the missing thirty head were located along with Hale's vociferous defense. The two vaqueros stayed to search further. Long story short they were ambushed and slain by two of the Hale/Manning men, Stevenson and Peveler. Shortly a contingent of 80 Mexican cowboys come across to get their friends bodies. The men asked one George Krempkau to accompany them to the ranch where they already knew they were. They located the bodies, loaded them in a buckboard, and drove them back, this was long about daylight on the 14th of April. A private Fitch (lawman of some type) seems to have understood clearly that the vaqueros were ambushed and that Stevenson and Peveler were the culprits, he probably had inside information. Fitch went out straight away and arrested the two and put them in jail and released them under bond.
Now in a two room adobe shack with Krempkau acting as interpreter the men of both races gathered, both inside and outside, for an inquest. . .
Last edited by Gibson66; 12-17-2012 at 01:04 AM.
The Mexicans are riled up and the rustlers are too. It is easy to see why the Mexicans are upset when the bullet riddled bodies of the two vaqueros are viewed. Krempkau is at the Inquest and is vigorously advocating the indictment of Stevenson and Peveler, as it has become clear that they are the most responsible parties. The situation was becoming ugly, quick. Our Marshal turned outlaw, George Campbell sat in on the Inquest watching his friend, Hale vociferously protest that his two men are innocent. This back and forth proceeded until the authorities were made aware of the snarling and cursing going on in the street . The Inquest was unceremoniously adjourned.
Dallas Stoudenmire walked out of the Inquest and into legend.
Strangely, shortly after the Inquest was adjourned the Mexicans took their two friends back across the border, Stoudenmire went to lunch and Krempkau was left there with the wrath of the rustlers. Poste haste, George Campbell began too heavily pound down whiskey. Campbell had stated publicly that he would dispatch Marshal Stoudenmire within five days of his taking office. With Stoudenmire leisurely enjoying a meal, Krempkau finally left the Inquest and headed over to where he had left his arms. A rifle, a revolver, and holster and belt. Campbell shouted at Mr. Krempkau with epithets and accusing him of falsely interpreting what had been said by the English speakers to his Spanish interlocutors. He then yells, according to the outstanding El Paso area historian, Leon Metz, "hey, any American who is a friend of Mexicans ought to be hanged." Krempkau, embarrassed asks if he mean him, he replies, "if the shoe fits, wear it!" Thinking his witty reply is the end he turns and walks away. But now an also drunken Hale shows up. He sprints over to where Campbell is is attempting to mount his ride and yells to him that he has Krempkau as he grabs a heavy .45 caliber revolver from George Campbell, one of the two which he had strapped on. At the very same instant he squeezes the trigger hitting Krempkau in the chest near his heart, the big bullet crashed through his lung and out the other side of his body. He fell trying bravely to pull his own .45. Dead. Enter Dallas Stoudenmire. . .
The big Marshal jumps up and sprints through the door, Hale immediately sees him and ducks behind an adobe support pillar. Stoudenmire seeing Hale heading for cover snaps off a shot from one of his .45 revolvers, he is in a dead run and at a range of 90 feet, the bullets just passes over Hale's shoulder. Bad luck for a Mexican bystander as the bag of peanuts he just purchased will be his last action on planet earth. He is hit and killed. Two dead. Stoudenmire is still moving forward and re-cocks his revolver and fires just as Hale has peaked out from his blind. The bullet tears through the rustlers brain pan. He hits the ground dead. Three dead.
Now Mr. Big Talk AKA George Campbell decides its just not his fight and reckons he had better take his leave. As Hale is falling he runs to the middle of the street with his second revolver in hand and wildly proclaims it's not his fight. But Krempkau who lays dying grits his teeth and cuts drive on him hitting him striking him once in the foot and once in the hand tearing up his gun hand. Now old George is in desperate straights, he grabs his revolver in his left hand just as Krempkau's three other rounds go astray. Enter Stoudenmire. He turns from the dead Hale and opens up on Campbell, as all he sees is a man with a gun. The spinning shot hits it mark dead in the breadbox. Campbell hit his knees and yells, “you big son-a-*****, you murdered me." Dies later that evening. Death number four.
This entire event, in actuality, took more or less 30 seconds.
Leon Metz relates a funny story that occurred at the end. Paraphrased:
George Campbell had a partner named Pat Shea. Pat could see George laying there in a river of his own blood, dying. Now ole Pat, being a great friend quickly assesses the situation and because he covets George's sixshooter, cries out, "hey George?"You want your gun?" He is running over toward George when two sixshooters with that fresh smell of burning powder are jammed under his nose by Stoudenmire. LOL! Nevertheless at around 2 am Campbell, dying, requests that his second sixgun be given Shea.
THIS IS THE TRUTH: Dallas Stoudenmire was the real deal. Leon Metz, some years back, published an excellent biography of him. I can guarantee he fought in more gun battles than most all of his famous contemporaries. Truth be told the only way he was defeated was by double teaming. And even then it took his only insurmountable demon, booze to cause his downfall.
Last edited by Gibson66; 12-03-2012 at 05:36 AM.
Dallas continued a feud with the Manning brothers, eventually it was published in the El Paso Herald that the groups (well group of one in the case of Stoudenmire) had signed a peace treaty at the behest of the local citizenry. It did not last. The brothers and Stoudenmire met in a saloon (imagine that) to discuss a second treaty. In a sense it was the three Mannings versus a VERY drunk Stoudenmire. However, "Doc" Manning took the lead. Here is a reasonable facsimile of what occurred:
"'Dallas, you haven’t stuck to the terms of your agreement.” snarled Manning.
“Who ever says I have not tells a damn lie!”
Walt Jones jumped between Doc Manning and Dallas Stoudenmire in an attempt to separate them. Nice idea, but too little too late. Doc Manning fired over Jones’ shoulder. Off balance, Stoudenmire was slow in getting his pistol out. Doc’s bullet passed through his arm and into the ribs, knocking his half-drawn pistol out of his hand. Stoudenmire staggered backwards, slumping against the doorframe. Doc closed in and fired again. Fortunately for Dallas the round was a squib load. The bullet struck Stoudenmire in the chest, punching through the wad of papers in his pocket, and a photograph. The impact knocked the tall man out the doors of the saloon and onto the sidewalk.
As Doc bounded out the door and closed in, Stoudenmire got his second pistol clear and fired. Doc Manning’s right arm was shattered, his pistol flying into the street. In agony, losing blood, Stoudenmire was slow to react. Manning rushed Stoudenmire, grappling with him and pinning his gun arm to his side. Cursing and swearing, Manning and Stoudenmire twisted and staggered on the sidewalk in a macabre “dance of death”. Stoudenmire was doing his damnedest to kill the little Doctor. Doc Manning was doing his damnedest to stay alive. Jim Manning came out of the saloon, a cutdown .45 in hand. He snapped off a shot, missing Stoudenmire and splintering the barber pole up the street. He took better aim and fired at the range of about eight feet. The bullet hit Stoudenmire just behind the right ear. Stoudenmire collapsed onto the sidewalk. The Dance of Death was over.
Texas Rangers J. M. Deavers and Ed Scotten were the first on the scene, Jim Gillett was close behind. They had to drag Doc Manning off Stoudenmire’s body. He had been beating the dead man’s head with his own pistol."
The way I figure it, both men were hit once and the smaller man, Doc, was NOT going to win the grappling match that was going on. I once surmised that the death shot was behind the left ear, but either way, it would be very difficult to be standing and shooting at a man on his back and hit him behind the ear. It seems reasonable that Dallas was on top wailing the guy when his brother killed him.
Another one who lived life wide open and by the gun. He died the same way.
From Metz's book to show how bad his drinking was this is near the end of his days:
Adios, for today. . .
Edit to add: Additional miscellany
A few more bits. . . Yeah, I have certain admiration for him. His mortal enemies, the Manning brothers actually convinced the prior town marshal, Bill Johnson, who already hated Stoudenmire, to ambush him! Yep. Hiding with a double barreled scattergun. The guy panic fired. Dallas pulled two sixguns and blew Johnson's testicles off! Bled to death in mutes. . . Gotta admit Stoudenmire had PANACHE
**The following is a quotation, no offense intended.
"On May 27, 1882, the town council announced the firing of Stoudenmire. He walked into the council hall, drunk, and dared them to take his guns or his job. He pulled and twirled his guns and threatened, "'I can straddle every God-damned alderman on this council!"' The council reversed itself and decided against firing Dallas. He shortly resigned and also shortly was appointed United States Deputy Marshal for Western Texas and New Mexico Territory.
Another instance of the Stoudenmire panache: "while standing out in the street, a drunken Stoudenmire mocked them [his mortal enemies, the three Manning brothers], daring them to come outside and fight him. They remained inside a saloon while other residents attempted to convince Stoudenmire to go away and sleep off his intoxication. Eventually he grew tired, called the Mannings cowards, and left." Not long afterwards, two of them killed Stoudenmire.
Last edited by Gibson66; 12-16-2012 at 07:17 PM.
One tuff Law Man.
Thanks for another fine sketch from the old days...some of these men sure walked bigger than life in their own time. I wonder, if it was their life experiences that led to their excess drinking, or just boredom between the exciting moments.
I think only Unforgiven makes it a central theme, the alcohol-fueled mayhem that created these legends.
Another good one.
I just spent some time reading that letter...seems like Mr Grange (?) Look purchased both S&W's from the estate for the sum of $40.
I like that cut down Navy cartridge conversion too. I bet it saw some action along the way.
Hard times and tough men. Thanks for the write up Mr Gibson...
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