|The Jersey Lilly
Photo courtesy Bryan D Reynolds, 2007
- When business
was slow at The Jersey Lilly - Bean's
courthouse/ saloon, Roy
would stand on the porch and "attract" customers at gunpoint.
- There was
no jail, so people awaiting trial or serving time were chained
each to the only tree in Langtry.
- A district
attorney from Del
Rio (in the later years) came to Langtry
to inform Roy
Bean it was not legal for him to grant divorces. Bean
said that if he could marry them, then he could "fix his mistakes."
The DA wouldn't let the matter drop so Bean
got the DA in a poker game. When the DA was $230 in the hole -
forgave the debt on the condition that the subject never came
up again. It didn't.
- The Governor
of Texas had received complaints that no funds ever came to Austin
court - so the Governor wrote to Langtry.
The reply from Bean
was: "Governor, you run things there in Austin
and I'll run things here. My court never cost the State any money."
Nothing more was heard from the Governor.
Bean never gave change in his courtroom. If he fined a person
$16.00 and the person pulled out a $20 gold piece, he amended
his decision. "Make that $20, by Gobs, that's my rulin'!
- Often for
minor offenses, the "fine" would be that the offender would have
to buy a round of drinks for the judge, jury and everyone else
that could make it to the bar.
- On Mondays,
Bean did a "wholesale" clearing of his docket. A sample case:
"It is the judgment of this court that you are hereby tried
and convicted of illegally and unlawfully committing certain grave
offenses against the peace and dignity of the State of Texas,
particularly in my bailiwick, to-wit: drunk and disorderly, and
being the Law West of the Pecos, I fine you $2.00 - now get the
hell out of here and never show yourself in this court again.
- A valuable
lesson for today: Roy
Bean's court NEVER cost the county or state one cent. Bean
paid all salaries and operational costs out of fines and court
- His son
was killed in a gunfight in Del
- Both Roy
and son Sam are buried in Del
Rio - their graves are now something of a tourist attraction.
© John Troesser
"They shoe horses, don't
they?" May 22, 2004 Column
|The Jersey Lilly
Saloon and Judge
Roy Bean's courtroom
- built on the railroad right of way.
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/