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Death of Lawman "Mannie" Clements

Updated on December 1, 2011

“Mannie” Clements was born Emanuel Clements Jr. in Gonzales County, Texas, Gonzales in1869.

He got his nickname to distinguish him from his father who was a cattle Baron. He was a 2nd cousin to famed gunfighterJohn Wesley Hardin and a brother-in-law to the well known hard case “Killer Jim” Miller.

In 1891, Mannie signed on as a deputy working for Miller in Pecos, TX. However, Miller was fired a few months later after an altercation with County Sheriff George “Bud” Frazer. Later, in 1894, Clements later wound up in El Paso and took a job as a deputy constable. During the next 14 years he would become the constable and later a deputy sheriff.

In 1908, Clements was accused of robbing a traveling salesman at gunpoint. Although he was cleared of the charge, it spelled the end for his career as a lawman. He found that out when he ran for a position as constable in November the same year. His mudslinging opponent brought the earlier charges of armed robbery up to scrutiny before the voting public, and Clements lost miserably. However, it was just as well, because he was soon to be murdered the following month.

In the interim Mannie began to drink heavily, perhaps due to the sound thrashing he received from his failed bid for public office. He had also come under suspicion as a person of interest in a blackmail attempt to expose Albert B. Fall’s, complicity in a plot to assassinate lawman Pat Garrett. Fall was a United States Senator from New Mexico.

On December 29th 1908, Clements was shot and killed at the Coney Island Saloon in El Paso. It is believed the man who pulled the trigger was a man named Joe Brown, a former constable of El Paso County. However, no one was ever convicted for Clements Murder.

The events of that evening are hazy at best. But as the story goes, at about 6 PM Clements entered the Coney Island Saloon and joined several friends at the bar. After several drinks he and another acquaintance went to the back of the saloon and soon after were heard having an argument.

At about 6:10 PM Clements was leaning against some railings in front of the saloon’s phone booths. Several people he knew were standing close by. Suddenly a shot rang out and Clements slumped to the floor with a bullet hole in his head. Reportedly, no one saw the assassin, although there were 5 to 6 people sitting in a booth next to the railing. And once they saw Clements was dead they quickly vacated the premises.

It took Judge E. A. Howard about 30 minutes to arrive and the police even longer. Those still in the saloon were unable to provide any clues as to who had fired the fatal shot or the reason why. One suspect was arrested several days later, but was subsequently cleared.

After an investigation into the matter it was theorized Mannie Clements may have been involved in an organization which had been smuggling Chinese into the country. However, there was no proof for the allegations. Judge Howard ruled Mannie Clements’ murder was carried out by an unknown assailant. Perhaps, it may never be known who shot Mannie Clements. But, some later claimed the Coney Island Saloon’s owner, Tom Powers, fired the fatal shot.

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    • Ramsa1 profile image

      Ramsa1 5 years ago from A citizen of the World

      I love the stories from the old Wild West and was, in my youth, an avid reader of western novels. I also loved the western movies and the movie stars including John Wayne, Richard Widmark, and of course, Clint Eastwood. Now I read other stuff and Hollywood no longer makes a lot of westerns.

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