DALLAS STOUDENMIRE, LAW & DEATH ARIVE IN EL PASO
In the previous venture to El Paso we saw that El Paso had existed from 1827 as a goat hearders shack to the 1870’s with no real need of civil goverment or law enforcement. However with the growth brought about by the arrival of the railroad, and the surge of unsavory people the need for a city charter and law enforcment agency became overpoweringly evedent.
In 1873 the city incorporated, a mayor and aldermen were elected and a city marshal apointed. However no records exist of this time. Apparently lack of interest and lazyness led to the dissolvement of the attempt and it floundered out of existment.
With the arrival of the railroad in 1880, and the realization that the town was going to go bigtime, if it wanted to be reconised by the rest of the country steps must be taken.
On July 3, 1880 new elections were held. A man named Solomon Schutz assumed the position of Mayor and was joined by six arlermen. One of the first duties preformed was to apoint a city marshal.
John B. Tays was apointed, he had some stigma attatched to his name as the only Texas Ranger to surrender his entire command during what was called thw El Paso Salt Wars (another story for another time).. He appointed A John Woods as assistant marshal. One of their duties was to keep the streets in good repair. this they did by chaining prisinors together and putting them to work. Often when the jail was empty street repair suffered. On one occasion a hole got o big that a stage was wrecked in it. Tays and Woods remeded the situation by dumping trash into the hole. this was unaceptable and they were dismissed from office.
A.I. Stephens acepted the job and Bill Johnson as his marshal. Stephens also acepted the job as tax assesor and collector. This proved to be a mistake and he was dismissed on November 26. A Kentuckian named George Cambell then asumed the job keeping Bill Johnson as deputy. No one knew much about Cambell other than he hung with a tough crowd.
In those days a marshal did not draw a wage, rather he worked on a commission. He drew a percentage of the fines leved against drunks and other disturbers of the peace. Usually the mayor presided over the court and leved the fines. the garden varity offense usually amounted to three dollars. the mayor kept a dollar, the marshal drew a dollar and a dollar went to the city coffers. As you may well expect few were ever found innocent. If the marshal had to deal with a really hard case murder, robbery or some henious other crime, no fines were leved and the marshal did not get paid for dangerious work. To earn money he had to arrest his friends.
Cambell grumbled against the system and repeadly asked for a regular wage. And was flatly refused, the council claming they did not have funds for such a expendture. They did have funds in the treasuary, They collected fees , for permits for dog fights, fights between bears and bulls, Mountain lions and dogs, all of which were enormiously popular in El Paso. they also collected fees from fourtune tellers, quack doctors, and the list went on and on. The prostitutes were the back bone of city finances at a license of $10 a month..
None the less Cambell did not get his salary. On January 1, 1881 he got some of his hard case friends together and turned them loose on the town. They literally shot up the town shooting holes in the aldermans doors and blasting a huge hole in the door of the mayors house, while Cambell drank the night away in a saloon.
Cambell thought the mayor and city councle would come running to him with a offer of a monthly salary and anythingelse he asked. Instead a rider was dispached to Yaleta to the Texas Range Station. The next day Sergeant James Gillett, Corporal Loyd and four men rode into town. In less than a hour they had restored order. Alderman Joseph Maroffin swore out a warrant out against Marshal Cambell of attempted murder. Cambell fled town.
On January 16 Ed Copeland was sworn as marshal with a wage of $50 a month with $40 for the deptuy. However the city councel wrote a a ordinance requiring the marshal post a $500 performance bond. Ed did not have the money so was out of a job even before he started. The beery eyed Bill Johnson was left in charge and the town was out of control once again.
The city council wanted some one from out of town who had no friends in town and who would use his gun with out emotion, who was ready to kill as fast as you could bite of the end of a cigar.
Over in East Texas Dallas Stoudenmire heard the news and hastened to El Paso. Dallas Stroudenmire stood about six-feet-four, had dark brown hair and green eyes. Born in Macon County,Alabama in 1845, he enlisted in the Confederate Army three times sent home each time because he was too young. He went west after the wars end and in the area of Columbus Texas be built a reputation as a gunman. The city hired Stoudenmire almost as soon as his feet hei the ground from the train.
Dallas had a job, El Paso had a marshal, and a bloody chapter was just around the corner. Law and order, and death had come to town.
next time , four deaths in less than a minute.