Bean, Roy

views updated May 29 2018


Roy Bean achieved prominence for his unconventional law enforcement procedures. His methods for enforcing the law were questionable and unorthodox.

Bean was born circa 1825, in Mason County, Kentucky. His career included many undertakings, not always legal. In 1847, he was in charge of a trading post in Mexico. Accused of cattle rustling in 1849, he was forced back to the United States. He was a member of a group of vigilantes who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Bean was a saloonkeeper and a gambler in the postwar years. In 1882 Bean settled in Texas.

He changed the name of the Texas camp where he lived from Vinegaroon to Langtry and established himself as justice of the peace. His saloon was the courthouse where Bean presided as judge, using a law book, a gun, his sense of humor, and practical thinking as his guides to making judicial decisions.

"That'smy rulin'."
Roy Bean

Bean died March 16, 1903, in Langtry.