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ElDorado's Legend Of Marshal Tucker
The Tucker-Parnell Feud
Shortly afterward, Tucker resigned as city marshal and moved to the small neighboring community of Champagnolle, where he became the proprietor of the Mink Eye Saloon. But now trouble stalked him. Two of his partisans, neither of whom played a role in the original gunfight, already had been shot from ambush by unknown parties. Both men were killed. Then, Tucker himself was set upon by bushwhackers during a ride along the Ouachita River. Once again, Tucker found himself wounded by gunfire. This time, his arm had to be amputated.
But the former marshal lived through the ordeal and, once recovered, moved away from Union County to the state capital of Little Rock. There, he apparently was safe from the reach of any who might want to harm him. Tucker became involved in state politics and served in a variety of positions in the coming years. He was a Democratic national committeeman when he escorted candidate William-Jennings Bryan on a tour of central Arkansas.
Tucker ,also went on to serve a pair of terms as state commissioner of mines, minerals,and agriculture. He was a member of the Arkansas Highway commission and was chief deputy auditor for the state when he died in 1924.
It would fall to his grandson and namesake to climb to the highest rung of the political ladder in Arkansas. In 1992, after Governor Bill Clinton resigned his office to prepare for his inauguration as president, Lieutenant Governor Jim Guy Tucker, already a well-known office holder in his own right, was sworn in as the Governor. In the end, however, the new governor's career came crashing down around him. He was indicted, tried and convicted on federal fraud charges in what came to be known as the" Whitewater "investigation of dealings involving the Clintons and their associates in 1980's.Upon his conviction, Jim Guy Tucker resigned and left office in disgrace.
The Parnell family did not fare well either. The Parnells' father nearing his 80th birthday, wrote an impassioned account of the injustices he believed his sons had suffered at the hands of Tucker and his backers. The book was published, but the copies were snatched up by Tucker supporters, it was said- and all but disappeared.
Descendants of the banished Parnells scattered across Arkansas, Oklahoma,Texas and points beyond. They took their story with them though and passed it down to their decendants. so, the tale of the ElDorado showdown of 1902 remails alive to this day.
This article was originally published in True West Magazine in March 1994.
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