Elise Jean Staudenmayer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1909. While living on a farm in Leachville, Arkansas Jean’s love for horses developed and also her skills as a horsewoman. In Leachhville, her father, Martin, was a medical doctor who ran a private practice. Jean became a nursing student but decided it was not for her, so she became a trick rider, winning many competitions with her prize horse named Eagle. It was while in Brownsville while showing Eagle off at a fair, that Walter Adams asked her to come to El Paso to trained horses at the famous Cowboy Rodeo Park on Polo Road in Ysleta. A group called the rough riders was also found there. She stayed in El Paso, and in 1939 she worked as a sign marker and clerk for Kress Department Store. In 1940 she was hired to work for S.D. Myres, a famous saddlemaker. Initially, she was a saleswoman but eventually trained under Myers, becoming a well-accomplished leather carver and saddle maker. Many of the saddles, boots, and other creations she made were used as awards in rodeos and other competitions. Jean also designed a medal for El Mada Shrine.
She lived in North Loop Gardens and had her own workshop. She also ran a phonograph record shop near her ranch. She named her ranch, located at Craddock Avenue off of North Loop, “Record Corral.” At that location, she had a huge collection of hand carved figures of horses, dogs, and other animals. Some were made out of glass, ivory, or wood. Her collections became so big that she sought to donate them places where they would be on public display. The El Paso History Museum has one of her saddles.
Jean also worked at Fort Bliss, heading arts and crafts and worked as an illustrator, providing drawings for books. As part of her work she retouched photos, and she was skilled at cabinet making and crocheting. Jean was a skilled printer, sketching or painting horses or other animals.
Jean was married to the highway patrolman John Tulk until they divorced. As Jean Tulk, she unsuccessfully ran for sheriff in 1950, becoming the first El Paso woman to run for the post. Jean was also active in the reorganization of The Tigua Community Association whose purpose was to improve the quality of life and bring more business to the North Loop area. Jean Staudenmayer died in Houston in 1974.
El Paso Historical Society Volunteer