So, my overactive mind went to work, wondering who first came up with the idea to make jelly beans. This is what I came up with (found here).
The exact origins of the jelly bean are lost in time, and only a part of its history is known. Most experts believe the jell center is a descendent of a Mid-Eastern confection known as Turkish Delight that dates back to Biblical times.
The shell coating is an offspring of a process called panning, first invented in 17th century France to make Jordan Almonds. The panning process, while done primarily by machine today, has remained essentially the same for the last 300 years. The French began by rocking almonds in a bowl filled with sugar and syrup until the almonds were coated with a candy shell. Today, large rotating pans do the heavy work, while master confectioners apply their true art in adding the ingredients to create just the right shell.
Somehow the two processes made their way to America. The earliest known appearance of a jelly bean combining the two techniques is in an 1861 advertisement for William Schrafft of Boston that promoted the sending of jelly beans to soldiers in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Jelly beans quickly earned a place among the many glass jars of "penny candy" in general stores where they were sold by weight and taken home in paper bags. It wasn't until the 1930's, however, that jelly beans became a part of Easter traditions. Over 13.5 billion jellybeans were enjoyed at Eastertime in 1996. If they were lined up end-to-end, they would circle the earth nearly 3 times.
Now, from what I understand, Jelly Belly Jelly Beans came about as just a way to show off.
So now you have the answer to that burning question and we can all sleep a little better at night. And I'm all out of reds AND whites. Damn.