Dudley, Richard M. (1862–1925)

By: Arthur H. Leibson

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Richard M. Dudley, engineer and El Paso mayor, was born near Waco, Kentucky, on January 1, 1862, the son of a Baptist clergyman. He helped build the New York harbor and later directed construction of the Chihuahua and Pacific Railway and the Mexico and Northwestern Railway, while in a Mexican partnership. In New York he built up his own contracting business and in 1896 married Fannie Moore of Tarrytown, New York; the couple had no children. In 1912 Dudley permanently settled in El Paso, Texas, where he organized the Texas Bank and Trust Company, which was later merged into the First National Bank. He was twice elected as a Democrat to the state legislature and was in his second term when he became embroiled in a bitter city campaign. The Ku Klux Klan was making a strong resurgence in Texas and controlled the school board in El Paso. As the anti-Klan mayoral candidate, Dudley was elected with his entire aldermanic slate in an electoral setback from which the Klan never recovered. Dudley's administration was noteworthy for the construction of public buildings and recreational facilities, and he became the only mayor of El Paso to be elected without opposition when he ran for a second term. He was sworn in on April 16, 1925, but died in an El Paso hospital on May 1 of that year after undergoing ulcer surgery.

Norman D. Brown, Hood, Bonnet, and Little Brown Jug: Texas Politics, 1921–1928 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1984). Richard M. Dudley Papers, El Paso Public Library.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Arthur H. Leibson, “Dudley, Richard M.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 01, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dudley-richard-m.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994