A Guide to the Roy Bean Scrapbook
Roy Bean, a frontier justice of the peace known as the "Law West of the Pecos," was born in Mason County, Kentucky, the son of Francis and Anna Bean. On October 28, 1866, he married eighteen-year-old Virginia Chávez, who bore him four children. The couple were not happy together, however. Early in 1882 Roy left home, probably at the suggestion of his friend W. N. Monroe, who was building the "Sunset" railroad toward El Paso and had almost reached the Pecos. Moving with the grading camps, Bean arrived at the site of Vinegarroon, just west of the Pecos, in July. Crime was rife at the end of the track; it was often said, "West of the Pecos there is no law; west of El Paso, there is no God." To cope with the lawless element the Texas Rangers were called in, and they needed a resident justice of the peace in order to eliminate the 400-mile round trip to deliver prisoners to the county seat at Fort Stockton. The commissioners of Pecos County officially appointed Roy Bean justice on August 2, 1882. He retained the post, with interruptions in 1886 and 1896, when he was voted out, until he retired voluntarily in 1902.
Scrapbook of Judge Roy Bean.
Roy Bean Scrapbook, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers