Vol 8, No 214
August 2, 1882
Roy Bean appointed Justice of the Peace
Judge Roy Bean
DEL RIO (1882)
On this date in 1882, Roy Bean was appointed Justice of the Peace for parts of Pecos County just west of the Pecos River (now part of Val Verde County).
Headquartered at a railroad camp at Vinagaroon, Bean began to dispense his unique brand of justice. When the railroad bypassed Vinagaroon, railroad owners wanted no part of Bean, his saloon, or his justice. So they passed a rule that in Langtry (named for a railroad surveyor, not the actress), none of the lots for sale were to be sold to the judge. So Bean parked his tent directly on the right-of-way, and the bar was opened again.
Bean had a local worker buy the lot directly across from the new train depot, and resell it to the Judge. It was then and there that Judge Roy Bean opened the "The Jersey Lilly" named for his favorite theatre actress, Miss Lilly Langtry.
Langtry became a railroad town in every sense, being at the meeting points of the east and west sections of the southern route of the trans-continental railroad. The railroads joined in January 1883, and the town settled down.
Bean's escapades were written into books (Vinagaroon by Ruel McDaniel) and eventually a movie "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean" starring Paul Newman and Victoria Principal. His "Law West of the Pecos" brand of justice made him a legendary figure in the history of Texas. The original saloon is now a museum in Pecos, while a replica of it is a major tourist stop in Langtry.
Lieutenant Jackie Robinson aquitted at Camp Hood
FORT HOOD (1944)
On this date in 1944, ten years before Rosa Parks' arrest in Montgomery for a similar incident, Lieutenant Jackie Robinson was aquitted at Fort Hood (Camp Hood at the time) of insubordination and other charges related to his refusal to move to the back of a US Army bus enroute to an off-base hospital where he needed a check up.
The incident took place on July 6th, just two weeks after the Army began providing non-segregated buses on all military installations in the south. The killing by a bus driver of a black man in South Carolina, that refused to move to the back of a city bus, led to the military providing non-segregated buses in and around military installations throughout the south.
By the time Robinson bordered the bus from Fort Hood to a hospital 30 miles away, integration was the law on military buses.
Robinson's acquittal, and fast track honorable discharge from the army freed him to follow his real passion, baseball, quickly joining the Negro League. The following year, he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers and became the first black player in the major league baseball. He remained with the Dodgers until 1956.
In the post war era, signing any player with a dishonorable discharge from the military would have been unthinkable, so Robinson's acquittal, and subsequent honorable discharge was a major milestone in the integration of baseball, and soon the rest of society. Hats off to Jackie Robinson for standing his ground and helping to end segregation in this country.
Huge Meteorite falls in Marathon
On this date in 1946, a 155 pound meteorite fell into a swimming pool at the headquarters of the Gage Ranch outside Marathon in Brewster Co. 24 people are within a few hundred feet of the fall.