(with beard next to cyclist)
- Roy Bean
married 15 year-old Virginia Chavez in San
Antonio on 10-28-1866. Their union brought forth four Beanitos:
Roy Jr., Sam, Laura and Zulema. They also adopted a son named
John. It was Roy's first and last marriage. They divorced around
1880 and Roy left her in San
Antonio while he went South.
- In the pre-Langtry
days in San Antonio,
Roy Bean used to haul and sell milk. In order to increase profits,
he added creek water to the milk. When the buyers started noticing
minnows in the milk, Roy seemed as surprised as the buyers. "By
Gobs," he said, "I'll have to stop them cows from drinking out
of the creek."
- In 1882
Roy Bean was appointed Justice of the Peace for Precinct 6, (then
Pecos - now Val
Verde County). Roy Bean may have been a heavy drinker and
a shady character, but he came highly recommended by Texas Rangers,
who felt he "had what it would take" to bring the law "West of
- Bean enjoyed
his tough reputation and he kept his kindness hidden. Throughout
the years, he took some of the fines and much of the collected
goods and gave them to the poor and destitute of the area, doing
so without it being known. He even took monies collected in the
Jersey Lilly, - his own trackside saloon and used them to buy
medicine for the sick and poor in and around Langtry.
why he had helped so many people, Roy Bean explained it this way
to his friend: "Well Dodd, I haven't been any gol-dang angel
myself and there might be a lot charged up to me on Judgment Day;
and I figure what good I can do-the Lord will give me credit when
the time comes." He was very sincere in this belief and it
was the sum and total of any religious statement from Roy Bean.
- An owner
of a Langtry
restaurant owed Bean money and when he didn't pay, Bean waited
until the restaurant was full, he then took his place by the door
and had each customer pay him for their meal. The last few customers
paid the interest.
- Bean has
often been confused with "hanging judge" Parker of Ft. Smith -
(perhaps because their slightly unorthodox or creative sentencing).
Bean never actually hanged anyone, although he occasionally "staged"
hangings to scare criminals. Bean would prepare a script with
his "staff" - if they were sober enough - which allowed for the
prisoner to escape. Given this "second-chance" - the culprits
never appeared before the court again.
- Bean never
sentenced anyone to the penitentiary. If ANYTHING needing doing
- the prisoner would do it. If there was nothing to be done, the
prisoner could take it easy by simply being staked out in the
- Nearly everyone
has heard the story of Bean fining a dead man $40 - the exact
amount that in the corpse's pocket. Less known is the fact that
the $40 bought a casket, headstone and paid the gravedigger's
labor. He did, however, keep the man's gun for use as a gavel.
- Roy Bean
died at 10:03pm March 19, 1903 after a heavy drinking spree in
Del Rio. He
returned home at 10 a.m. and died that night at 10 p.m. The real
reason he died, was he simply lost the will to live. Bean could
not adjust to modern times. The thing that sent him on his binge
was the start of construction on a power plant on the Pecos
River. He used to say that times were changing and he was
being left behind.
© John Troesser
"They shoe horses, don't
they?" May 16, 2004 Column