Tuesday, April 9, 2013

**judge roy bean**

.....Roy Bean....
..........................dec 31 1933....

Among the names of all the colorful men whose deeds made
the dramatic history of the State of Texas, none excites more
interest than that of Roy Bean, later known as Justice of the
Peace at Langtry. The life history and character of Bean are more
familiar to the average Texan than are the epoch-making actions
of such history makers as Houston, Milam, Travis, Bowie, Fannin,
Crockett, Hays and others of similar fame and achievement.

Roy Bean lived 38 of his 78 years on earth in Texas.
Seventeen of these, which is not generally known, were spent in
San Antonio. It must not be inferred, however, that he was
unknown while residing in the city. As a matter of fact a
considerable part of his uniqueness became common knowledge here
long before he left to open the saloon on the Southern Pacific
and acquire fame and notoriety as the long arm of the "Law West
of the Pecos."

Bean told his friends in San Antonio that he was born in
Canada, in 1825. Later, he said, he was engaged in driving slaves
of another party from Kentucky to New Orleans. The negroes could
be purchased at such a low figure in the Bluegrass State that
when placed on the auction block in New Orleans they returned a
nice profit for the traders in this transaction. He then followed
the gold rush to California, in 1850, and while there killed a
Mexican in a duel. For this Bean was hanged by the friends of the
dead man, but was cut down and helped to escape by one of his own
Mexican friends. He then went to Santa Fe and in 1864, came to
San Antonio and was employed as a teamster by his brother,
George, who was in the freighting business in the Alamo City.

His brother died shortly after this and Roy took over as
much of the business as he could handle with his three teams and
wagons. For while he ran a freighting outfit over the trail to
Chihuahua City, Mexico. One of these trips Bean had the
misfortune to kill Mexican in a brawl at a dance in that city,
and never dared go back again. He then went to trading, livestock
and just anything in general.

On October 27, 1866, he married the 16 year old daughter,
Virginia, of Leandro Chavez, a large land owner, who lived in the
old Chavez homestead on the old Corpus Christi Road, almost a
mile south of what then was the town. Bean took up his residence
with his father-in-law, and the city directory for 1878 shows
that Roy Bean, ranchman, again lived at the same place. His first
child was born in the Chavez homestead. Long before this, though,
Bean had established a sort of general merchandize trading yard
near the present junction of South Flores and Mitchell streets.
Records show too, that he lived, at various time in that same
locality. It seems that when old Roy found a vacant house that
suited his requirements he probably moved in, and remained till
forced to evacuate, or until he found another better adapted to
his needs.

He made a sort of an agreement with George Holmgreen &
Sons, iron works, corner Montana and Santa Clara streets to
deliver enough wood to keep their furnaces going. As all the land
in the vicinity of the city belonged to people who were rather
jealous of their wood rights. Bean experienced some difficulty in
filling his contract. At this point Roy displayed his
progressiveness. On the San Pedro and Alazan creeks, southwest of
San Antonio, Mexican wood cutters had built up a rather lucrative
business burning charcoal from the liveoak cut from lands along
the creeks. Being far out in the country, they were seldom
visited by the land owners and no checkup was ever made to see
that they stayed on the territory they had leased.

Bean discovered this state of the charcoal industry in the
chaparral and promptly interested himself on the side of the law
and order. Periodically, just seldom enough not to discourage the
Mexicans engaged in the work, he visited them with an ox-wagon,
confiscated the cut wood and delivered it to Holmgreen & Sons.
When this source of supply got low old Roy cut some of it for
himself. This business was too slow for the progressive spirit of
Roy Bean and he decided to operate a dairy. Some time previously
he had purchase two lots opposite the west end of Mitchell
Street, on South Flores, at that time the Corpus Christi Road,
and on one of them erected a small box shanty. To the north and
west of his building he enclosed an acre or so of ground and went
out to hunt dairy cows.

He found a farmer in Atascosa County who was willing to
trade 30 good milk cows for Bean's shanty and the two lots. The
deal was made, with the understanding that Bean was first to try
out the cows in order to ascertain their milk-giving qualities.
With the animals penned in his yard Roy undertook to make a
profit in the dairy business while feeding his milk cows next to
nothing. As they yielded less and less milk Bean decided they
should get less and less feed. In fact, as winter was coming on
and no corn or hay had been produced in the country, due to a
severe drought, he quit feeding them altogether, and most of them
died. The owner, coming in to claim his house and lots, was
astounded when Bean told him the deal was not completed, that he
had only taken the cows on trial and as they proved to be
worthless as milkers, the trade was off. The contract like all
agreements in Texas at the time, was a verbal one.
The cow-owner, after consulting an attorney,

abandoned his claim to Bean's property.

As stated, Bean did considerable livestock trading. He had
a standing offer of $5 to any boy who would bring to his corral a
stray horse, mule or a fat cow. With money rather scare around,
San Antonio it can be seen that such a course would inevitably
result in divesting his terrain of all loose animals not under
the watchful eye of their owners. Many times the stock so
impounded would be claimed and, over Bean's protest, be driven
home. Most of the time, however, after a reasonable wait, it
would be sold. Branded animals he had no use for.

Long before Bean moved out on the Corpus Christi Road there
was a settlement there. Before the Civil War the Mexican families
of Terrazas, Saens, Salazar, Galbans, and others had built houses
and shacks in the vicinity. Cowboys riding in from the ranches on
the Atascosa, called the place Dogtown, from the limitless number
of poor canines sleeping in front of the doorways. After, T. T.
Teal moved to the locality, with Tom E. Conner, who opened a
general merchandize store just south of the present Mitchell
Street and South Flores. Conner also operated a farm of some 12
acres across the San Antonio on the east, while Teal ran a
blacksmith shop. By the end of the 1880s, "Beanville," as it came
to be known, had a population of 25 to 30 families. T. E. Conner
was elected alderman of the First Ward, which included Beanville,
in 1885. Conner is listed in the directory of 1878 as a grocer
and lightning rod agent. Teal had been alderman before him. In
that same directory Ward 1 is described as having 47 public
streets, three public squares, 186 building blocks, and 106
buildings and shacks.

Bean, with the Frenchman Grandjean, opened a small saloon
on the south bank of the Medina at the Garza Crossing in the late
1880's. It failed to pay, however, and he sold out to Grandjean
and opened one of his own in his house at the end of at present
Mitchell Street. This place was on the west side of Flores
Street, almost directly opposite the end of Mitchell, and joining
the old Breslin house, which is still standing, on the north. The
shack was torn down several years ago to make way for

At times Bean would find business dull. During many such
times he would take his adopted son, John, hitch a horse to his
one-horse hack, go to the outskirts of Beanville and killed a fat
cow. After cutting the animal up into beef he would deliver it
from door to door among the poor families of the settlement. The
cattle belonged to people of San Antonio, but Roy would say: "No
use for poor people to starve as long as rich people have fat
cows running on Beanville pastures." 

On one particular occasion
he killed a fat yearling on the land belonging to a certain
wealthy citizen of San Antonio 

and proceeded to cook part of the slain animal on the spot.
The owner happened by and Bean invited
him to partake of dinner with the outfit. This the man did,
calling attention to the fact that Bean was then on the citizen's
ranch. Nearby was the hide of the yearling, staked with the hair
up, the brand in plain view. The owner never indicated that he
noticed it. He stated afterward that he felt that Bean had some
trick up his sleeve and he was afraid to call his hand.

Roy Bean had five children by Virginia Chavez, three boys
and two girls. Besides these he reared the adopted boy, John, and
two girls, Katharina and Isabel, daughters of an Irish father and
one of the Chavez's relatives. This father went to Mexico and was
never heard of again. The two adopted girls are now dead. His
wife having divorced him old Roy decided in 1881, to go out west
and grow with the country. Accordingly, the following years he
loaded all his possessions in wagons, left his daughter, Sulema
and Lala, in care of Simon Fest, Jr., and started for the Pecos.

Bean first established his saloon in a tent at Vinegaroon,
the end of rails on the Southern Pacific. After a short time he
removed to Sanderson and finally to the west bank of the Pecos
later to become Langtry. Here Simon Fest Jr., put up a saloon for
Bean which was shortly to become famous through its unique signs,
"Roy Bean, Justice of the Peace. The Law West of the Pecos." On
Jan. 12, 1883, the two ends of the Southern Pacific were
connected near his place of business and the settlement named
Langtry, in honor of a contractor on the road who bore that name
and not for Lily Langtry as commonly reported. Bean's saloon was
doing a fine liquor trade.

With the passing of the railroad camps, however, his
business fell away to nothing and old Roy looked about for other
ways to augment his meager income. He was not long in finding it.
Roy Bean was elected justice of the peace in 1885, a position he
held till December 1895, when he was defeated by the Mexican
element. He was re-elected however, in 1900, and held the office
till 1902, when he relinquished it voluntarily to his close
friend, W. H. Dodd. Dodd served 17 years and held inquest over
the bodies of a score or more men, all of whom had either been
shot or stabbed to death. Langtry was a tough town.

As soon as Bean established himself in his saloon at
Langtry his daughters went to live with him. They became
beautiful women and married railroad men. Sam Bean was stabbed to
death in a saloon in Del Rio, and Roy Bean, Jr., died several
years before his father, who died at Langtry, March 19, 1903.
John, Bean's adopted son, still lives and operates a sheep ranch
near Dryden, Texas. Bean's wife, Virginia Chavez, married the
second time Emanuel Charles of San Antonio. She died Nov. 29,
1932. The two daughters live in New Orleans.

Roy Bean was a real character. His fame is not confined to
Texas alone. In 1904 passengers on the Southern Pacific were
told, when about to pass Langtry, that the place was famous due
to the unique rulings of a certain justice of the peace named
Bean, who owned a saloon in the village. This was only a year
after Bean's death and shows that he had acquired considerable
notoriety even then. The tales told of his rulings and decisions
at the bar in Langtry are too voluminous to more than mention
here. Perhaps one though will illustrate his court procedure to
those who have not had the privilege of reading his history as
set down in newspapers and in at least one book.

Bean's saloon was used for the double purpose of dispensing
drinks and holding court. This court usually took the form of an
inquest, but sometimes he really heard evidence and decided
serious cases. We have record that Bean, more than once,
sentenced offenders to death by hanging. And they were hanged!
His rulings have been quoted in some of the important courts of
the country. Roy Bean ruled the land west of the Pecos with an
iron hand.

On one occasion when the Southern Pacific passenger train
stopped at the tank for water a negro porter got off and came
into Bean's saloon for a drink. It was served him. Bean then
pocketed the $10 gold piece the negro gave him, walked out from
behind his bar and took a seat at one of the tables in the room.
In a few moments the train signaled to start. The porter asked
for his change. Old Bean shouted, "Silence in the court." In a
few moments the negro asked again for the money. Bean replied,
"You are fined $9.75 for disturbance. If you say a word I'll lock
you up." The porter dashed for his train. This is characteristic
of the stories told on Bean. This particular one is true.

Bean was 40 years old when he came to San Antonio. He was
about five feet 10 inches tall, and weighed 190 pounds. He wore a
beard to keep covered the bad scar on his throat made by the rope
when he was hanged in California. He kept his hair and beard
neatly trimmed, and was of a serious disposition, but possessed a
natural wit and humor. He was a big-hearted man and always gave a
ready ear to the needy. He helped make Texas. Nobody else has
filled his shoes. Maybe nobody wants to, but we will have to
admit that he would hate to lose the reputation he so ably
established as the "Law West of the Pecos.

"There has been only one Roy Bean”
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.. http://hannibalpianta.blogspot.com/ ..

..this blog is moremud.blogspot.. 
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