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Judge Roy Bean Marriage and Divorce Fees

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Ruel McDaniel wrote:


"As Justice of the Peace and leading saloon keeper [Judge] Roy Bean gradually became a sort of alcalde to the neighborhood, performing wedding ceremonies, christening babies and arbitrating family troubles. Marriages constituted a steady source of revenue. Even Bean himself appreciated the humor of the situation, especially in the days when he was not a legal justice of the peace and thus had no lawful right to perform marriage ceremonies. 'Juan,' he said in a typical ceremony, 'do you take this woman for your lawful wife?' The answer is 'Si, Senor.' Obtaining the befuddled promise from Juan, he turned to the girl. 'Maria, you want to marry this sorry maverick?' With the proper answer extracted from the participating parties, he dismissed them with, 'And Lord have mercy on your pore souls! Five dollars!'

When the young husband did not have the five dollars, as was frequently the case, Justice Bean would permit him to work out the fee. 'Judge,' a downhearted cowboy bemoaned one day, 'that weddin' you give me shore didn't take. I caint get along with that gal atall!' Bean stroked his beard. His face brightened. 'By gobs!' he exclaimed. 'I guarantee all my weddin's. If yores ain't satisfactory, why, I'll just divorce you; but it'll cost you ten dollars.' He reasoned that it was worth twice as much to get out of a bad bargain as to get into it; and he found the cowboy willing enough to pay."


----- Ruel McDaniel, "Vinegarroon: The Saga of Judge Roy Bean," 1936

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 16th February 2020 4:54 pm