This Day in Texas History:
Failed Assassination Attempt in El Paso
April 17, 1881
On this day in 1881, Dallas Stoudenmire survived an assassination attempt by former city marshall Bill Johnston by shooting him down in the city streets.
In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He arrived in Columbus, Texas, about 1867 and reputedly killed several men. For a while in January 1874 he was a second sergeant in J. R. Waller’s Company A of the Texas Rangers. He then lived briefly in the Panhandle before serving a stint as marshal of Socorro, New Mexico.
Stoudenmire reached El Paso in early April 1881 and was appointed town marshal on the eleventh. Three days later he engaged in the incredible “Four Dead in Five Seconds” gunfight in downtown El Paso. Rancher John Hale had killed Constable Gus Krempkau, so Stoudenmire reacted by killing Hale, plus an innocent bystander, plus former city marshal George Campbell. On April 17 former city marshal Bill Johnson was himself shot dead in the failed assassination attempt.
Stoudenmire returned to Columbus in February 1882 to marry Isabella Sherrington, but was soon back in El Paso. He began feuding with the Texas Rangers, the local politicians, and the press. He especially hated the Manning brothers, George Felix (Doc), Frank, and James, the owners of two saloons. James Manning had recently killed Samuel Cummings, Stoudenmire’s brother-in-law. The Stoudenmire-Manning feud ran so deep that local residents prevailed upon both factions to sign a peace treaty that was duly published in the El Paso Herald.
In mid-1882, after resigning, Stoudenmire accepted a position as United States deputy marshal. On September 18, 1882, James and Doc Manning killed him in El Paso. The Mannings were acquitted of murder charges, and Stoudenmire’s body was shipped to Columbus, Texas, for burial in nearby Alleyton.