Val Verde County Historical Commission

Val Verde County Historical Commission

Roy Bean

P.O. Box 12276, Capitol Station, Austin
February 26, 1965

The Official Texas Historical Marker commemorating the Texas Civil war period for Roy Bean has been contracted for erection by the State Building Commission. This announcement was made by the Texas State Historical Survey Committee, which is jointly responsible for its erection.

These state markers are made of cast aluminum with Swedish steel effect for durability and appearance and are one of four sizes erected by the State Building Commission with research and inscriptions prepared by the Texas State Historical Survey Committee. The Official Texas Historical Medallion appears at the top with the inscription below.

The marker for Roy Bean measures 27 by 42 inches in size and will be erected on the museum grounds in Del Rio.

The following information appears in the inscription:
Roy Bean was born in Kentucky and was a trader in Mexico in 1848. He was mining in New Mexico when the Civil War broke out. As a spy and a scout, he joined Texans in the command of General John R. Baylor during the 1861-1862 Arizona-New Mexico Campaign. He organized an irregular company called the "Free Rovers". In a narrow canyon, he took part in the capture of 800 Federals by 250 Confederates. After 1862 he was a Confederate freighter, hauling cotton to Matamoros from San Antonio and bringing into Texas wartime goods: guns, ammunition, medicines, cloth, shoes, and food.

In 1882, he began following with a tent saloon crews building a railroad along the Rio Grande. Cooperating with Texas Rangers, he was appointed Justice of the Peace--"Law west of the Pecos". He tamed the rough frontier town of Langtry, where he spent the rest of his life. He won fame in unique court decisions, as in the trial and fining of a dead man for carrying a concealed weapon. The most widely celebrated show he staged was the Fitzsimmons-Maher World Championship Boxing Match, on a Rio Grande sand bar near his saloon in 1896.

Court was held in the saloon, where he displayed pictures of "The Jersey Lily"--British actress Lily Langtry, whom he never met. She visited town at his invitation, but only after Judge Bean's death.

The erection of Official Texas Historical Markers is part of the Civil War Centennial commemoration in Texas. The markers are designed to interpret and commemorate the role of prominent Texas Confederates, battles, frontier outposts, coastal fortifications, manufacturing plants and military supply centers.

This marking program is part of a comprehensive five-year plan of the Texas State Historical Survey Committee to record, appreciate, mark, preserve and survey Texas history. "RAMPS", as the plan is called, seeks to place 5,000 historical markers over the state in this period. More than 1300 markers were placed in the first year. These markers are to be sponsored through joint efforts of the state, counties, cities, civic groups, and individuals.

The Civil War in Texas is part of the vast program to mark historical sites in Texas from archeological finds to modern industry and statesmen. Since the beginning of the Centennial marking program, 556 Official Texas Historical Markers have been submitted for erection.