On February 27th, standing only a few feet away from where Old Rip lies in state in a velvet-lined casket in the front window of the Eastland County Courthouse, County Judge David Hullum administered the authentic “Old Rip Oath” to county employees, and those in attendance, including the Siebert Singers.
The Siebert Singers performed several songs for the occasion and the singers each received a small (life-sized for a horned toad), stuffed Old Rip designed by Bette Armstrong.
Eastland County Today editor, H.V. O’Brien spoke during the celebration. Mr. O’Brien administers the Oath at the Eastland Chamber of Commerce Golden Deeds Award banquet each year. He is also the author of the book The Story of Old Rip.
Legend has it that Old Rip was pulled out alive from the Eastland Courthouse cornerstone in 1928 after being sealed away for 31 years in 1897. Old Rip gained national attention and became a celebrity until he died of pneumonia in early 1929.
Old Rip Oath
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of Old Rip Promoter, and will to the best of my ability, promote, protect and defend to death the Truth of the Story of Old Rip.
THIS TRUTH IS THIS:
A Texas horned toad was sealed into the cornerstone of the Eastland County Courthouse when it was built in 1897.
Miraculously, the toad was still alive inside the sealed stone 31 years later when the building was torn down in 1928 to make way for construction of the current courthouse.
The toad, named Old Rip for obvious reasons, toured the nation as a celebrity, was welcomed by President Calvin Coolidge, but unfortunately contracted pneumonia and died in 1929.
Old Rip now lies in state in a velvet casket and may be viewed at any time in the lobby of the Eastland Courthouse.
With the continued assistance of the people of Eastland County who also hold these Truths, I do solemnly swear that I will do all in my power to help perpetuate the Truth of Old Rip.
So help me, God.