Dallas Stoudenmire was born in Aberfoil, Alabama on December 11, 1845, one of nine
children born to Lewis and Elizabeth Stoudenmire. In 1862, he joined the
Confederate Army serving in the 45th Alabama Infantry, during which he was
wounded a number of times and carried two bullets with him for the rest of his
When the war was over he moved on to Columbus,
1867, where he was said to have killed a number of men. Though definitely
dangerous, the 6’4” man was said to have been quite a gentleman around the
ladies, who found his handsome face and sharp dress quite attractive. However,
Dallas had an extremely bad temper, especially when intoxicated. Continuing to
hone his shooting skills, he became equally accurate with both hands and always
wore two guns. During these years he worked variously as a sheep farmer, a
carpenter, wheelwright and merchandiser.
Some time later Dallas joined
and in 1874 was serving as a second sergeant in J. R. Waller's company.
Afterwards, he lived briefly in the
Panhandle, in Mexico during the days of Maximillan, and served a short stint as
a marshal in Socorro,
Dallas Stoudenmire is credited with taming the lawless town of El Paso,
Texas. This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
While he was in Socorro, his brother-in-law, "Doc" Cummings, who lived in El
convinced him that he should come there and take up the marshal’s position. At
the time, El Paso had a reputation as a violent town and the city hoped to bring
in someone from the "outside” who had a reputation that was as "tough” as the
town. Stoudenmire fit the bill. In early April, 1881, Stoudenmire traveled to El
Paso and was hired almost immediately, starting his new position on April 11th.
He was the sixth town marshal in just eight months.
His first task was to get the
city jail keys from a deputy marshal who also just happened to be the town
drunk. When Stoudenmire approached the drunken deputy, Bill Johnson, to get the
keys, Johnson mumbled that he would go home and figure out which ones they were.
However, Stoudenmire became impatient, demanding the keys immediately. When
Johnson continued to delay, Dallas physically turned the man upside down, took
the keys, and threw him to the ground. Stoudenmire wasted no time living up to
his tough reputation, along with humiliating Johnson.
Just three days later he was
involved in one of the most famous
referred to as the "Four
Dead in Five Seconds"
On April 14th, while Constable Krempkau was in Keating’s
Saloon, one of
the worst pestholes in El Paso,
Texas, he got into an argument with ex-City Marshal,