THE DEATH OF DALLAS STROUDENMIER
While Doc Cummings was successfully getting himself killed, Dallas was off marring Miss Isabella Sherrinigton in Columbus, Texas sometime in February of 1882. Nothing, other than her name is known about his bride. Marriage failed to calm down his destructive drinking or his antagonistic temperament. His alcohol consumption and hatred for the Manning’s spiraled out of control.
Always distrustful and antagonist toward the Texas Rangers, he accused them of “untrust worthy and unreliable” he said ” they were more likely to aggravate than preserve the peace” “more likely to side with the lawless than the law abiding” and classified them as “abunch of thirty-dollar a month sons of bitches who would not fight.”
“this infuriated C.L. Hathaway, a red headed young ranger. He was a romantic blood-and-thunder dime novel influenced kid. Hathaway wore two long barreled pistols low on his thighs. the other rangers snikered at him and teased him unmercifully about all his hardware. the good natured kid took it all in stride.
One afternoon he rode into El Paso and spied Dallas Stroudenmire walking down the street. Luckily for Hathaway Dallas happened to be sober at the time. The Kid braced Dallas and declares “I understand you have remarked that no texas Ranger, thirty dollar-a-month son of a bitch would fight. Well I am a ranger, I am not a thirty-a-dollar month son of a bitch. and I wil fight!”
Suppressing a grin Stroundenmire declared, ” the texas Rangers as a body of men are gentlemen.” Sasisfied Hathaway and he rode back to camp as a hero to the other rangers.
However on another occasion Stroudenmire in a foul mood accosted Ranger Frank Beaumont on the street and yelled “Stop right there Beaumont” and proceeded to tell him what he thought of him. And for what seemed like a eternity cursed and abused him before finally turning into the Alamo Saloon.
Frank brooded about the humiliation as long as he could take and went into the Manning Saloon and asked to borrow a shotgun. He positioned himself across the street from the Alamo Saloon and waited for Stroudenmire to come out. He waited and waited but Dallas never came out. finally after dark he cooled down and left.
It was learned later that Dallas had drank him self into a drunken stupor and passed out on the floor and noone would try to awaken him. While his assailant waited out side to kill him he slumbered with his head next to a spittoon dead to the world.
As time marched on Stroudenmire nursed his hatred of the Manning’s. He suspected them of having a hand in several attempts on his life, but could not prove it. The taunted the Manning’s daring them to fight. An several occasions when in his cups , he set targets up on El Paso street where he killed Campbell, Hale and the innocent bystander. For those who missed his first performance he drunkenly reenacted the shootings all over again.
Stroudenmire spiraled out of control and the city fathers became alarmed and tried to settle things down. they even brokered a peace treaty between Dallas and the Manning’s and published it in the local paper. While this cooled the trouble between the parties Dallas became more publicly belligerent. the city counsel passed a ordnance that made it unlawful for a public police official to be drunk on duty. Carried away with this stroke of genius they extended the ordnance to make it “unlawful for a male citizen to carry a gun, fight, drink, gamble, swear, disturb the peace, expose himself indecently, or be seen in the company of a prostitute not his wife of some other relative.”
The editor of the El Paso TIMES, George Washington Carrico wrote a article that hinted that monies due the city from fines and taxes was being used by Stroudenmire to finance these activities by Dallas. Stroudenmire stormed into his office and threatened to run him out of town.
the El Paso lone starthen demanded that the city council do its duty and conduct a investigation, and either remove the Marshall or reinstate his as the situation demanded. In effect Dallas’s days were numbered.
On May 27, 1882 the counsel convened. However rather than sit at the customary table they chose to open all the tall windows and the members sat on the window sills, supposedly to bask in the cool evining breeze. When Stroudenmire appeared he strode from window to window and stared each alderman in the eye. the strolling to the from of the room he declared that not only could he straddle the mayor but any other alderman in the room. He accentuated his remarks by occasionally trilling a six-gun on his finger. The chief alderman Mayor Margoffin adorned the meeting without even broaching the subject.
Sobering up on Monday Stroudenmire came to his senses and wrote a resignation letter and apologised for his conduct at the council meeting. The city fathers applauded his decision, passed sever resoulitions reconsign his “loyal and fateful service”. James B. Gillette, Stroudenmire’s deputy was nominated and appointed Marshall.
common sense should have caused Stroudenmire to leave town but he remained and was appointed a United States Marshall, on July 13, with headquarters in El Paso.
For the next couple months El Paso remained quite then on a Sunday night, Sep. 17, the Southern pacific poured Stroudenmire off the train at the Depot. He staggered down the street to the Acme saloon looking for some female company finding none the wandered down to the Manning Saloon where he peered in the door looking for a man he had a warrant for. Nor seeing him he went to the red light district.
Someone told the Manning’s of Dallas visit to their door and they assumed he was looking for them. awaking the next day with a hangover he was told that the Manning’s were armed and on the prowl for him. The city braced for trouble. Meanwhile emissaries moved between the two fractions. Stroudenmire declared he did not want to fight but would take the Manning’s on one at a time or all at once if they wanted. The Manning’s expressed the same sentiments so a meeting was sceduled for 5:50 that afterjnoon.
When Dallas appeared only Jim and Doc were there. “Where’s Frank?” asked Dallas. Jim said he would go find him.
With only doc and Dallas left with a few bystanders, Stroudenmire said lets have a drind and stepped to the bar. Stroudenmier stated that a lot of people were trying to cause trouble. Doc snapped that Stroudenmire had not kept his part of the peace treaty. Stroudenmier roared ” who ever says that is a liar.”
Both men reached for their guns. A by stander stepped between them and pushed them apart. a brave act on his part but probably caused Dallas death. Off balance he drew last. Doc’s bullet smashed into Dallas’s left arm, causing him to drop his weapon, severing a artery and ricocheting into his chest.
Doc fired again hitting Dallas in the chest where it lodged in some paper and a picture he carried. (one of those papers was the warrant he was carrying that started the trouble.). Although the bullet did not penetrate the skin knocked Stroudenmire through the bat-wing doors and into the street.
Dallas was left handed but he got his short gun with his right as Doc charged out the door and rired striking Doc’s hand and knocking his gun loose. Unarmed Doc charged the wounded ex-marshall and pinned his arms to his sides both men fell into the street.
Jim manning came running up and seeing the two men locked in combat pulled a sawed off colt with a missing trigger. He thumbed the hammer and aimed and fires and hit a barber pole. Aiming again he fired and hit Stroudenmire behind the left ear and it was all over. Doc broke free and began beating Dallad over the top of the head with his own gun.
Both Doc and Jim were tried for murder and aquited in seperate trials.
On April Frank Manning replaced James Gillette as El Paso’s Marshall. His tenure was short. frank tried to shake down a local merchant who resisted and Frank whipped him with a heavy cane, and was dismissed as Marshall. All the Manning’s left El Paso shortly after.
Frank prospected for a number of years and died in the Arizona State home on Nov.14, 1925. Doc Moved to Flagstaff AZ. and lived as a respected physician. His arn that Stroudenmire shot hit was piratically useless the rest of his life. He died in flagstaff March9, 1925.
Jim and his attractive wife settled in Washington state. He died of cancer in 1915. and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, Ca.
Stoudenmire died with the shirt on his back and little else. the El Paso Freemasons bought a suit of clothes to bury him in ($11.25) and coffin expenses ($4.50). The body was buried in the Columbus, Texas Cemetery. and has long been lost.
So ends a era of violence in El Paso , and I for one am glad to leave the town behind.