BEAN, Judge Roy (1825-1903), Western lawman. Autograph document signed (''Roy Bean J.P.'' [Justice of the Peace]), Valverde County, Texas, 5 March 1889. 1 page, 4to, lined paper.
BEAN, Judge Roy (1825-1903), Western lawman. Autograph document signed ("Roy Bean J.P." [Justice of the Peace]), Valverde County, Texas, 5 March 1889. 1 page, 4to, lined paper.
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE AND GRAVE DIGGER: JUDGE ROY BEAN AND THE DEATH OF JAMES BARCLOW "BY A GUN SHOT WOUND"
Judge Roy Bean details his actions following a killing in Cape Valverde County Texas: "Inquest held over the body of James Barclow killed on the 4th day of March 1889. One mile and one half from Tandy's Ranch. After examining the body of deceased and hearing the evidence of the cause of his death I find the deceased came to his death by a gun shot wound or two gun shot wounds fired from a gun in the hands of Ed Ramsey. The Deceased had two wounds one in each leg in the uper [sic] part of the thigh. The one of the right leg cut the main artery wich [sic] caused his death. Mr. Wilkins and myself buried Him. And I bound Ed Ramsey over for his appearance before the District Court, in the sum of two hundred dollars."
Bean was seven years into his unorthodox career as a jurist when he wrote this document. Crime was endemic in west Texas in the 1880s, where people indulged in gallows humor about the anarchy of their region: "West of the Pecos there is no law; west of El Paso there is no God." Appointed justice of the peace by the commissioners of Pecos County in 1882, Bean characterized himself as "the Law West of the Pecos," and served with only two brief interruptions, until 1902.