In 1882 the lawlessness was so bad that the railroad ask for help from the Texas Rangers. The closest legal authority was in Fort Stockton over 100 miles away. With the blessing of the Rangers and the railroad. A proprietor of a store housed in a tent inVenagaroon was appointed as the first Justice of the Peace in Pecos County (now Val Verde County) August 2, 1882. Roy Bean never one to stand on ceremony tried his first case the week before the appointment.
In 1883 the judge moved his business and his court to Langtry, Texas. There he built the Jersey Lilly Saloon, Court Room and Pool Hall.
Some legends cite Bean as being a "hanging" judge, but there is no record that he ever sentenced a man to be hanged.
The "Judge" had great admiration and fascination for the famous English actress Lillie Langtry. She was internationally know as the "The Jersey Lily so he named his establishment after her. A sign painter commissioned (for food and drink) to letter the sign misspelled "Lily".
The only law book the Judge ever owned was the 1879 Revised Statues of Texas. Occasionally he actually used it.
One of the most colorful stories about the Judge is true. He successfully promoted the Maher - Fitzsimmons prize fight in February 1896. It was staged in defiance of U.S. and Mexico law on a sand bar in the middle of the Rio Grande River.
In 1972 another movie about Judge Roy Bean was released, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean staring Paul Newman as the judge.
I went to see the movie when it was first released and was fascinated by the character "Bad Bob, the original Bad Bob from New Mexico" as played by Stacy Keach.
That was when I decided to take on the moniker of "Texas Bob" and I have had it for over 35 years.
Now you know.
Update: 10 April 2020