Dallas Stoudenmire (CSA) [lawman and gunfighter]

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Dallas Stoudenmire

Birthdate: (36)
Birthplace: Aberfoil, Bullock County, Alabama, USA
Death: September 18, 1882 (36)
El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, United States
Place of Burial: Alleyton Cemetery, Alleyton, Colorado County, Texas, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Lewis Stoudenmire and Elizabeth Stoudenmire
Husband of Isabella Stoudenmire

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dallas Stoudenmire (CSA) [lawman and gunfighter]


Dallas Stoudenmire (December 11, 1845 – September 18, 1882) was an American Old West gunman and lawman, who gained fame for a brief gunfight that was later dubbed the "Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight". Although lesser known than many others from the Old West called gunfighters, his name is becoming more prominent. Hollywood briefly considered a movie of him, but it has yet to materialize. Stoudenmire had a deadly reputation in his day and was involved in more gunfights than most of his better known contemporaries, such as John Selman, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Elfego Baca, Luke Short, and Doc Holliday.

Early life

Dallas Stoudenmire was born in Aberfoil, Bullock County, Alabama, one of the nine children of Lewis and Elizabeth Stoudenmire. Shortly after the American Civil War began, Dallas enlisted in the Army of the Confederacy, even though he was only 15 years old. He was six feet tall, but his officers soon discovered his age and discharged him. He reenlisted twice more {the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors system reports a Pvt D. Stoudenmire Co F of the 17th Alabama Infantry and a Pvt D. Stowdemire Co C, 6th Alabama Cavalry} and eventually was allowed to serve as a private in Company F, 45th Alabama Infantry Regiment. According to surviving records, he stood 6'4" (1.94 m) tall by the war's end and was wounded numerous times. He carried two bullets in his body for the remainder of his life.

Following the war, Stoudenmire drifted west and served for at least three years with the Texas Rangers. He had a reputation for being handsome, a sharp dresser and a gentleman around ladies. But when intoxicated, he could be extremely dangerous and had a quick temper. He was known for his habit of wearing two guns and being equally accurate with either hand. He disappeared from the records between 1874 and 1878, possibly residing in Mexico for a time. He was able to speak Spanish fairly well, and is known to have worked during the years immediately after the war as a sheep farmer, wheelwright, proprietor, merchandiser and carpenter.

Career as a lawman

He resurfaced when he served as a town marshal for Socorro, New Mexico. While employed there, his brother-in-law and El Paso, Texas resident, Stanley "Doc" Cummings, convinced him to take up a job as town marshal in El Paso. The city was seeking to hire an outsider with a "rough reputation". At that time, El Paso was a remote, lawless boomtown. Stoudenmire traveled to El Paso by stagecoach and was soon hired. This was the beginning of the end of a wild and violent El Paso and the beginning of his fame.

Marshal Stoudenmire started his tenure in El Paso on Monday, April 11, 1881. He was the sixth town marshal in eight months. The City Council asked him to take the city jail keys from deputy marshal and town drunkard Bill Johnson. Witnesses alleged that Stoudenmire approached an intoxicated Johnson asking for the jail keys. Johnson mumbled that he would go home and figure out which keys were his and which were the city's. Stoudenmire became impatient and demanded he hand over the keys right away. When Johnson demurred, the marshal physically turned Johnson upside down, grabbed the keys, then threw him to the ground. Johnson was publicly humiliated.

On Thursday, April 14, 1881, only three days into his new job, Stoudenmire became involved in one of the most famous gunfights in Old West history, called the "Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight". This gunfight was well publicized in newspapers in cities as far away as San Francisco and New York City. The events began a mile (1.6 km) south, at the Rio Grande which divided the U.S. and Mexico. Roughly 75 heavily-armed Mexican cowboys galloped into El Paso, looking for two missing young Mexican cowboys, Sanchez and Juarique, plus thirty cattle stolen from a ranch just across the river. The missing animals belonged to a wealthy Mexican who hired an armed posse to recover them. El Paso County Constable Gus Krempkau was asked by the Mexican leader to lead them to a possible location. Krempkau agreed. The bodies of the two missing Mexicans were discovered near Johnny Hale's ranch about 13 miles (21 km) northwest of El Paso. Hale was a ranch owner and cattle rustler.

The bodies were taken back to town. Records indicated that the young Mexican cowboys were trying to find the stolen cattle. Two American cattle rustlers, Pervey and Fredericks, were accused of the murders after they were overheard bragging about killing the two cowboys when they found them trailing the herd to Hale's ranch.

A large crowd gathered in El Paso, including John Hale and his friend, former town marshal George Campbell. There was animosity and worries among Americans about the Mexicans being heavily armed within the city limits. At the same time, angry Mexicans demanded justice for the slain men. Constable Krempkau was fluent in Spanish and was required to interpret for the judge. An inquest was held in court. The two Americans were formally charged with the murders and immediately arrested. They were scheduled for trial at a later date. The court was adjourned and the crowd dispersed. The armed Mexicans, now calm, took the two corpses back to Mexico for burial.

Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight


On April 14, 1881 Constable Krempkau went into a saloon to retrieve his rifle and pistol. A confrontation erupted with George Campbell over comments allegedly made by Campbell about Krempkau. A heavily intoxicated John Hale, who was allegedly unarmed and upset by Krempkau's role in the investigation, pulled one of Campbell's two pistols and shot Krempkau. Marshal Stoudenmire was eating dinner across the street. He ran out and started shooting, killing first an innocent Mexican bystander, then Hale. When Campbell saw Hale go down, he tried to stop the fight, but Krempkau, thinking Campbell had shot him, fired at him before losing consciousness. Campbell screamed and scooped up his gun. Stoudenmire then fired and killed him.

[edit] After the gunfight

This gunfight made Stoudenmire a legend, but it eventually had deadly consequences. Although his reputation as a gunman would continue to grow with later gunfights, he had few friends in El Paso, whereas both Campbell and Hale had many. Eventually, Stoudenmire would stand alone in his own defense of his actions. As often was the case, a shooting being justified meant very little in towns of the Old West, and vendettas were common.

Three days after the gunfight, on April 17, 1881, James Manning (he and his brothers were friends to Hale and Campbell) convinced former Deputy Marshal Bill Johnson to assassinate Stoudenmire. Johnson was known to have a profound grudge against Stoudenmire for publicly humiliating him. That same night, Johnson, heavily intoxicated, squatted behind a large pillar of bricks with a loaded double-barreled shotgun and waited. When he heard the voices of Stoudenmire and Stoudenmire's brother-in-law, Stanley "Doc" Cummings, his legs started to wobble and he fell backward, accidentally firing both shells into the air. Stoudenmire quickly pulled out his pistols and fired at Johnson eight times, severing his testicles. Johnson died shortly thereafter.

This started a feud between Stoudenmire and the Mannings. Within six days of his having started his job as town marshal, Stoudenmire had killed four men, one accidentally. Between the killing of Johnson and the following February, Stoudenmire killed another six men in shootouts during arrests and the city's crime rate dropped dramatically. His reputation as both a lawman and a gunman increased his legendary status.

On February 14, 1882, James Manning killed "Doc" Cummings, supposedly while acting in self-defense after an earlier argument that evening had escalated. Manning claimed that Cummings had pulled his pistol and verbally threatened to kill him outside the saloon when an innocent bystander walked by. Cummings whirled and growled, "Now, are you not one of his friends?" The bystander squealed his innocence. Cummings allowed him to go provided that he walked with his arms up in the air. Cummings then turned and realized that Manning had gone back inside the saloon. Cummings entered and again verbally threatened to kill him. Manning left the bar briefly and appeared in the hallway. Armed with his pistols, Manning snapped, "We will settle this for now and all." In an instant, gunfire erupted from both sides. Hit, Cummings staggered out across a wooden sidewalk until he fell backward onto the street.

Manning was acquitted in a trial attended by a large number of local residents who were friends of the Mannings. This enraged Stoudenmire. Unfortunately for El Paso, Cummings had been the only man able to control Stoudenmire's temper. He began to publicly confront those responsible for James Manning's acquittal and caused many to avoid coming into town or visiting saloons for fear of running into an enraged Stoudenmire.

Despite his prowess and expertise with handguns, and his effectiveness as a lawman, Stoudenmire was still an outsider. He was well respected by the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Marshals. However, locally, he had several things against him. He was not from El Paso, had no family there other than his own family and his now deceased brother-in-law; the Mannings had been in El Paso longer and had many friends in the general population as well as in high places in the city government. Stoudenmire had only two things in his favor; he had lowered El Paso's violent crime rate more than any who came before him, and people feared him.

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. They attempted to calm him by telling him he could keep his job. However, after sobering up, he resigned on his own on May 29, 1882 and became a proprietor of the Globe Restaurant, which had formerly belonged to Cummings. He was then appointed Deputy U.S. Marshal for Western Texas and New Mexico Territory.

U.S. marshal and death in shoot-out

For a few short months, Stoudenmire served well as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. However, the feud was far from over. The Mannings, mainly "Doc" Manning (d.1925), James Manning (d.1915), and Frank Manning (d.1925), were careful to never confront Stoudenmire alone. Despite their hatred of him, he had shown his skill with a gun on several occasions and this made them wary. On one instance, while standing out in the street, a drunken Stoudenmire mocked them, 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 tired, called the Mannings cowards, and left.

On September 18, 1882, the Mannings and Stoudenmire met in a local saloon, to make what they would call a "peace treaty" to end the feud. James Manning, believing things were settled, left. Stoudenmire started off saying,"Doc, someone or somebody has been going about telling lies...". Doc replied, "Dallas, you have not kept your word." "Who ever says I have not tells a damn lie," Stoudenmire roared. Manning and Stoudenmire drew their pistols and fired. Stoudenmire's friend tried to push both men, causing Stoudenmire to lose his balance and Doc's bullet hit Stoundenmire in his left arm. A second round barely penetrated Stoudenmire's skin because of papers folded heavily in his shirt pocket. Nonetheless, the second shot knocked Stoudenmire down. As he fell outside the doorway, he pulled one of his pistols with his right hand and shot "Doc" Manning in the arm. As Stoudenmire was firing, James Manning came from behind Stoudenmire and fired two rounds, one hitting a barber's pole, and the other hitting Stoudenmire behind the left ear, killing him. "Doc" Manning then commenced beating the dead man over the head with his own gun, before being restrained by James Manning.

A funeral ceremony for Stoudenmire was held at El Paso's Masonic Lodge #130. His wife Isabella then had his body shipped to Columbus, Texas for burial. All funeral expenses were paid for by the Masonic Lodge. According to the website Find A Grave, Stoudenmire is buried in the Alleyton Cemetery in Colorado County, Texas.

The Mannings stood trial for the murder, but were acquitted, again with a jury made up mostly of their friends. They continued to live in El Paso, and soon the killing of Dallas Stoudenmire was all but forgotten. When Assistant City Marshal Thomas Moad was killed while investigating a disturbance at a local brothel on July 11, 1883, Frank Manning was appointed to replace him. However, he only kept the job temporarily, as he often failed to arrest friends and acquaintances.

Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire has been credited for successfully taming a wild and violent town. The El Paso Police Department acknowledges and honors Marshal Stoudenmire for his accomplishments.



Frontier peace officer and Old West gunfighter. Dallas Stoudenmire served as a Confederate soldier during the Civil War. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1874 and later became the town marshal of Socorro, New Mexico. He had reportedly killed several men and his reputation caused the city council in El Paso, Texas to recruit him as their city marshal.

On April 11, 1881, he was appointed marshal of El Paso. Three days later he was involved in the famous "Four Dead in Five Seconds" gunfight. Following a dispute over a coroner's inquest, John Hale and George Campbell shot Constable Gus Krempkau. Hearing gunfire, Stoudenmire drew his pistols as he ran to the scene. Seeing Krempkau down with Hale and Campbell standing over him with guns drawn, Stoudenmire fired. An unfortunate Mexican bystander, trying to get out of the line of fire, crossed between Stoudenmire and the other two men and fell dead from the marshal's first shot. Undeterred, Stoudenmire shot Hale and Campbell dead. News of the gunfight appeared in newspapers as far away as New York and San Francisco. The Manning brothers, local saloon owners and friends of Hale and Campbell, recruited Bill Johnson to kill Stoudenmire. Three days after the gunfight, Johnson tried to assasinate the marshal by firing a shotgun from ambush. His shot missed its mark and Stoudenmire shot Johnson dead. Over the next ten months, Stoudenmire killed another six men who resisted arrest. Not surprisingly, the crime rate in El Paso dropped off rapidly.

After resigning as city marshal in May 1882, Stoudenmire received a commission as a deputy U.S. marshal and served with distinction. However, his trouble with the Manning brothers - Jim, Doc, Frank and John - escalated as a result of the attempt on his life by Johnson. At one point,Stoudenmire called the Mannings out in front of their saloon. Alone, he dared them to fight. The brothers had a healthy respect for Stoudenmire's prowess with a gun and refused to accept his challenge. Disgusted, Stoudenmire called them cowards and stalked off. At the insistence of a group of citizens, Stoudenmire met with the Mannings on September 18, 1882 in an effort to end the feud peaceably. Doc Manning began arguing with Stoudenmire, who started to turn away to leave. Doc Manning drew his pistol and shot Stoudenmire in the left arm. A second shot knocked the marshal down. As he fell through the door into the street, Stoudenmire pulled his pistol and shot Doc Manning in the arm. As he fired, Jim Manning ran up behind him and shot Stoudenmire in the head, instantly killing him. The Mannings were tried for murder, but a jury packed with their friends acquitted them.

Stoudenmire's exploits as a gunfighter and lawman made him legendary in his own time. However, even though he was involved in far more gunfights during his brief career than others like Wyatt Earp or Bat Masterson, his name is not as well recognized today. Eugene Cunningham devoted a chapter to Stoudenmire in "Triggernometry: A Gallery of Gunfighters," his now classic 1934 book on Western gunmen. Stoudenmire is also the subject of a biography, "Dallas Stoudenmire: El Paso Marshal," by Leon Metz (University of Oklahoma Press, 1993). (bio by: George Bacon)


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Dallas Stoudenmire (CSA) [lawman and gunfighter]'s Timeline

December 11, 1845
Aberfoil, Bullock County, Alabama, USA
September 18, 1882
Age 36
El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, United States
Alleyton Cemetery, Alleyton, Colorado County, Texas, USA