Judge Roy Bean was born in 1825 in Mason County, Kentucky, the youngest of five (four sons and a daughter) of Phantly Roy Bean, Sr., and the former Anna Henderson Gore. The family was extremely poor, and at age sixteen Bean left home to ride a flatboat to New Orleans and possible work. After getting into trouble there, Bean fled to San Antonio, Texas to join his older brother Sam.
During the War of 1861, the Confederate Army successfully invaded New Mexico. During the Battle of Glorieta Pass in March 1862, however, the Confederates lost their supply wagons and were forced to retreat to San Antonio. Bean joined the retreating army. For the remainder of the war, he ran the blockade by hauling cotton from San Antonio to British ships off the coast at Matamoros.
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