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Langtry in Val Verde County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Law West of the Pecos

 
 
Law West of the Pecos Marker image. Click for full size.
By Julie Szabo, February 7, 2008
1. Law West of the Pecos Marker
Inscription. Judge Roy Bean lived a life in which fiction became so intermingled with fact that he became a legend within his lifetime. Basis for his renown were the decisions which he reached in this building as the Law West of the Pecos. Court was held as frequently on the porch, spectators grouped about on horseback, as within the building. Nor was Bean above breaking off proceedings long enough to serve customers seeking services dispensed by the other businesses carried on in his courtroom-home.

The Judge's "Law Library" consisted of a single volume, an 1879 copy of the revised statutes of Texas. He seldom consulted it, however, calling instead on his own ideas about the brand of justice which should apply. This he effectively dispensed together with liberal quantities of bluff and bluster. Since Langtry had no jail, all offenses were deemed finable with Bean pocketing the fines. Drunken prisoners often were chained to mesquite trees in front of the building until they sobered up enough to stand trial.

Bean reached a peak of notoriety when, on February 21, 1896, he staged the banned Fitzsimmons-Maher heavyweight title fight on a sand bar in the Rio Grande River, a stone's throw from his front porch. By holding it on Mexican territory he outwitted Texas Rangers sent to stop the match--and turned a handsome profit for his shrewdness.

This
Law West of the Pecos Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans
2. Law West of the Pecos Marker
building was named the "Jersey Lilly" for the famous English actress Lillie Langtry whom Bean admired and for whom he claimed to have named the town. His lamp frequently burned into the night as he composed letters to her, but he never saw her since her only visit to Langtry occurred in 1904, less than a year after Bean died.
 
Erected 1963 by Texas Historical Department. (Marker Number 3052.)
 
Location. 29° 48.556′ N, 101° 33.624′ W. Marker is in Langtry, Texas, in Val Verde County. Marker can be reached from Torres Avenue near Loop Texas Route 25. Click for map. The Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center contains some of Bean's personal items and more information. Marker is in this post office area: Langtry TX 78871, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jersey Lily Saloon - - 1882 - 1903 (a few steps from this marker); Langtry (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); William H. Dodd (about 400 feet away); The Torres Family (about 500 feet away); Fitzsimmons-Maher Prizefight (approx. 0.3 miles away); Robert Thomas Hill
"Jersey Lilly" and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Julie Szabo, February 7, 2008
3. "Jersey Lilly" and Marker
(approx. 0.4 miles away); Eagle’s Nest (approx. 0.4 miles away); Railroad Bridges Over the Pecos (approx. 10.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Langtry.
 
Also see . . .  Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center. (Submitted on March 2, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Notable PersonsPoliticsSettlements & Settlers
 
Inside the saloon image. Click for full size.
By Julie Szabo, February 7, 2008
4. Inside the saloon
Inside the saloon image. Click for full size.
By Julie Szabo, February 7, 2008
5. Inside the saloon
The stove inside the saloon image. Click for full size.
By Julie Szabo, February 7, 2008
6. The stove inside the saloon
Law West of the Pecos Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans
7. Law West of the Pecos Marker
Jersey Lilly Saloon.
Entrance sign image. Click for full size.
By Julie Szabo, February 7, 2008
8. Entrance sign
Law West of the Pecos image. Click for full size.
E.P. Public Library; R.E.M. Archives
9. Law West of the Pecos
Postcard Description:
Known as "The Law West of the Pecos," Judge Bean tries a gang of horse thieves in front of the courthouse saloon in Langtry, Texas. The saloonkeeper Judge would often recess trials to sell liquor to the courtroom. Among his unorthodox exploits making him a legend were fining a dead man and staging a heavyweight boxing match in the middle of the Rio Grande.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Julie Szabo of Oldsmar, Florida. This page has been viewed 1,452 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Julie Szabo of Oldsmar, Florida.   2. submitted on , by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Julie Szabo of Oldsmar, Florida.   7. submitted on , by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas.   8. submitted on , by Julie Szabo of Oldsmar, Florida.   9. submitted on . • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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