Eastland in Eastland County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Most noted early local people were Comanches, who resisted occupation of area by white settlers. The last recorded Indian raid in county was in 1874.
Eastland was named county seat in an election on Aug. 2, 1875. With 250 people it was incorporated on June 6, 1891, and W.Q. Connellee was elected mayor.
After a discovery in 1917, one of the fabled oil booms of Texas occurred nearby, with Eastland center for legal matters. With oil priced $2.60 a barrel, many wells flowed at 10,000 barrels a day. The city quickly grew to 25,000 people; 5 banks prospered.
Coming here to seek "black gold" were celebrities, including evangelist Billy Sunday, circus owner John Ringling, sports figures Jess Willard, Tex Rickard.
An international wonder-story happened here: the old courthouse cornerstone was opened (on this site) in 1928 to reveal survival of "Old Rip", a horned toad placed there with other
Erected 1968 by the State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 1370.)
Location. 32° 24.07′ N, 98° 49.097′ W. Marker is in Eastland, Texas, in Eastland County. Marker is at the intersection of South Seaman Street (Texas Route 6) and West Commerce Street, on the right when traveling south on South Seaman Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 West Main Street, Eastland TX 76448, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Eastland County Courthouse (here, next to this marker); Early Banking in Eastland (a few steps from this marker); The Bankhead Highway (a few steps from this marker); Eastland County World War I Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Camp Salmon / Texas Civil War Frontier Defense (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Settlers of Eastland County (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Christian Church (about 400 feet away); Connellee - Majestic Theatre (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Eastland.
1. Old Rip
A window exhibit on the north side
In 1897 when the cornerstone of the new Courthouse was dedicated, Earnest Wood, Justice of the Peace, who was a member of the Band, noticed his son, Will Wood, playing with a horned toad. The idea came to him to place the toad in the cornerstone. They named him 'Old Rip' and he lived peacefully in this cornerstone until February 28, 1928, when the courthouse was demolished to make way for a new one. Three thousand persons were on hand to watch the opening of the cornerstone to see how 'Old Rip' had fared. Judge Ed S. Pritchard removed the Bible and other objects, and at the bottom was the toad. Eugene Day, an oil man, thrust his hand into the cavity and lifted up the flat dust-covered toad. He handed it to Frank S. Singleton, pastor of the First Methodist Church, who passed the critter on to Judge Pritchard. Judge Pritchard held him up by his tail for all to see. Suddenly 'Old Rip' awoke from his 31 year slumber. "Old Rip" was exhibited in various parts of the United States, including a visit to President Coolidge in Washington. "Old Rip" died of pneumonia on Saturday, January 19, 1929. His body was embalmed and can be seen today in its plush-lined casket, as it is displayed in the lobby of Eastland County's beautiful courthouse.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans • Political Subdivisions • War, Texas Independence •
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Credits. This page was last revised on March 15, 2018. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 158 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2017, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. 4, 5. submitted on March 15, 2018, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.