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ElDorado's Legend Of Marshal Tucker
The Tucker-Parnell Feud
At the beginning, the rivalry that touched off the feud involved Dearing but not the Parnells. Over the years, garbled versions of the feud's origins told of a red-headed woman and a argument over a sidewalk. Both played important, but secondary, parts in events that October day.
It seems Miss Jessie Stevenson of ElDorado was working for a local photographer by the name of Robert Mullens. Mullens, apparently a hothead inclined to agrument and willing to back up his points with a bit of physical violence, had his heart set on Miss Jessie. But she was engaged to marry William Puckett of Texarkana, a border city about ninety miles to the west.
One September day, Puckett arrived in ElDorado to claim his bride. Photographer Mullens had other ideas, however, and a furious argument broke out in his downtown gallery. Puckett was forced to beat such a hasty retreat that he left his horse and buggy behind. He was resourceful enough, though,to enlist the aid of Marshal Tucker, who accompanied Puckett back to get Miss Jessie.
Quickly enough, the couple was married and planned to travel to Texarkana by train. But word reached Puckett that Mullens intended to intercept the newlyweds on their journey. Once again, Puckett turned to Tucker.
This time, Tucker sought Constable Dearing's assistance, and the lawmen rode with the Pucketts on the train to the McMurrian Station. There, Mullens was waiting on the platform. Tucker arrested him before he could interfere with the couple and returned him to ElDorado.
It turned out that Dearing and Mullens already had been fussing for weeks. The cause of their conflict was nothing more than some disagreements between their children, but that had been enough to set the stage for what was to follow.
Bob Mullens and Tom Parnell
Later, Mat Parnell, one of the partners in the general store, claimed he had been brought into the Dearing-Mullens quarrel by Tucker and his friend, the constable. Shortly before the matter involving Miss Jessie, Mat Parnell and Mullens also had argued over an allegation that Mullens had assualted a tenant in a house owned by Mat Parnell. The two lawmen had tried to convince Mat Parnell to swear out a warrant against Mullens.
Despite Dearing and Tuckers urging, Parnell had declined to press any charges, saying later that he had had no wish "to be a party to any kind of foul play". In fact, Mat Parnell, being a fellow member with Mullens in the Order of Odd fellows, thought it his faternal duty to warn the photographer that Tucker and dearing were plotting against him. Words that passed when Tucker and Dearing asked him to help arrest Mullens had led Parnell to conclude they planned to shoot Mullens is he resisted.
Now just a few days later, Mullens' squabbling and heretofore somewhat comic romantic troubles were fated to take a sudden , tragic turn. Back in ElDorado after the encounter at the Station, Mullens the hothead somehow got himself shot by Dearing. He died a few hours later.
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