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 Roy Bean

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Roy Bean Famous memorial

Original Name
Phantly Roy Bean, Jr.
Birth
Mason County, Kentucky, USA
Death
16 Mar 1903 (aged 78)
Langtry, Val Verde County, Texas, USA
Burial
Del Rio, Val Verde County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID
1339 View Source

Western Law Figure. During the Civil War, he ran a blockade by hauling cotton from San Antonio, Texas, to British ships off the coast. After the war, he established a small saloon near the Pecos River in a tent city he named Vinegaroon. With the nearest court being 200 miles away in Fort Stockton, the Texas Rangers requested that a local law jurisdiction be set up in Vinegaroon and on August 2, 1882, Bean was appointed Justice of the Peace for the new Precinct 6 in Pecos Country. He held court in his saloon calling himself the "Law West of the Pecos", not allowing hung juries or appeals. By December 1882, railroad construction had moved further westward, so Bean moved his courtroom and saloon 70 miles to Strawbridge in a location he named Langtry. There he continued to be the soul judge of law and relied on a single lawbook, the 1879 edition of the "Revised Statutes of Texas". Langtry did not have a jail, so all cases were settled by fines for the exact amount in the accused pockets. He is known to have sentenced only two men to hang, one of whom escaped. Horse thieves, who were often sentenced to death in other jurisdictions, were always let go if the horses were returned. Although only district courts were legally allowed to grant divorces, he did so to anyone with $10. He charged $5 for a wedding and ended all wedding ceremonies with "and may God have mercy on your souls". He refused to send the state any part of the fines or fees but instead kept all of the money. He won re-election to his post in 1884, was defeated in 1886 and in 1887, when the commissioner's court created a new precinct in the county, he was appointed judge serving until 1896.

Western Law Figure. During the Civil War, he ran a blockade by hauling cotton from San Antonio, Texas, to British ships off the coast. After the war, he established a small saloon near the Pecos River in a tent city he named Vinegaroon. With the nearest court being 200 miles away in Fort Stockton, the Texas Rangers requested that a local law jurisdiction be set up in Vinegaroon and on August 2, 1882, Bean was appointed Justice of the Peace for the new Precinct 6 in Pecos Country. He held court in his saloon calling himself the "Law West of the Pecos", not allowing hung juries or appeals. By December 1882, railroad construction had moved further westward, so Bean moved his courtroom and saloon 70 miles to Strawbridge in a location he named Langtry. There he continued to be the soul judge of law and relied on a single lawbook, the 1879 edition of the "Revised Statutes of Texas". Langtry did not have a jail, so all cases were settled by fines for the exact amount in the accused pockets. He is known to have sentenced only two men to hang, one of whom escaped. Horse thieves, who were often sentenced to death in other jurisdictions, were always let go if the horses were returned. Although only district courts were legally allowed to grant divorces, he did so to anyone with $10. He charged $5 for a wedding and ended all wedding ceremonies with "and may God have mercy on your souls". He refused to send the state any part of the fines or fees but instead kept all of the money. He won re-election to his post in 1884, was defeated in 1886 and in 1887, when the commissioner's court created a new precinct in the county, he was appointed judge serving until 1896.

Bio by: John "J-Cat" Griffith


Inscription

Justice of the Peace
Law west of the Pecos


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 1339
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1339/roy-bean: accessed ), memorial page for Roy Bean (10 Mar 1825–16 Mar 1903), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1339, citing Whitehead Memorial Museum Grounds, Del Rio, Val Verde County, Texas, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave.