J.G. Reagan to Culberson, February 21, 1896

The most talked-about events of the administration of Governor Culberson involved prizefighting. An old political foe of Culberson's, Dan Stuart, set up a heavyweight championship fight in Dallas between "Gentleman Jim" Corbett and his challenger, Bob Fitzsimmons. Many people in Texas and elsewhere considered boxing to be barbaric, and Governor Culberson called a special session of the legislature to outlaw prizefighting. The bout was cancelled.

The next year Stuart and Judge Roy Bean staged an outdoor "championship" fight between Fitzsimmons and Peter Maher, just across the border in Mexico. Known as "the law west of the Pecos," Bean was notorious for his humor, unscrupulousness, and eccentric rulings as justice of the peace in the town of Langtry. The Texas Rangers were unable to stop the fight from taking place. Fitzsimmons won in a knockout after only two minutes of fighting. The national newspaper attention made Bean a legend, and Bean's saloon, the Jersey Lilly, had its best day ever.

This telegram is from Deputy Sheriff J.G. Reagan in Langtry.

"Texas Rising "

J.G. Reagan to Culberson

Received at 1141 a 2/21 1896

Dated Langtry TX

To Gov C.A. Culberson

Austin TX

Prize fight takes place across

river whose jurisdiction are

we under yourself or Judge

Roy Bean await your instructions

J.G. Reagan Depty Sheriff

"Texas Rising "

J.G. Reagan to Culberson, February 21, 1896, Records of Charles Allen Culberson, Texas Office of the Governor, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: March 30, 2011