Ranger Historical Preservation Society, Inc.

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Editorial Comments 2


Editorial Comments

The Officers and Directors of RHPS have dedicated themselves to a life time of commitment working to promote Ranger and preserving the rich history of this town. We have taken on some really big projects in the past 26 years and have for the biggest part accomplished our goals.

During this time, RHPS has lost many of our charter members; death and health issues. And yet, we go forward doing the best we can as we continue to promote Ranger and always encouraging others to join our organization to promote Ranger.

In a town as small as Ranger it is very difficult, as most everyone knows, to find individuals who are willing to volunteer and give up personal time. Small towns operate on a shoestring budget which makes so many projects difficult. The failing economy makes our commitment even harder as funds and grant monies have all but disappeared. The criteria for qualification of these grants are stringent and the competition becomes an adversarial process.

Without a doubt, RHPS has had some major setbacks, yet we go forward. RHPS has been chastised and disparaged for our efforts by some, yet we keep going forward.

With this said, RHPS will not be victim to the senseless, petty, games played by a few who have only attempted to bring RHPS down. We have turned the other cheek, for years, doing what we believed was in the best interest of Ranger.

In doing what we believed was the right thing to do, RHPS became a punching bag for those who enjoy drama, turmoil and strife. NO MORE!

The editorial comments below is transparency at its best. The public will now know the FACTS and DETAILS of our struggle with those individuals who have given RHPS no support, but criticism at every turn. RHPS is going forward!



McCleskey Well Site

Much information was written, printed, blogged about and commented on by some not-so happy individuals about the lingering McCleskey Wellsite saga via newspapers and Face Book back in April.  RHPS was encouraged to get our side of the story out to the public to those who were interested. RHPS set out on a mission and we believe we have accomplished that mission with this new RHPS website.

I can assure everyone that NO ONE was as unhappy with the demise of the McCleskey Wellsite as the RHPS members who volunteered their time, their hands and their hearts to bring the site back to life from 70 years of an unsightly overgrowth of weeds, brush and timber.  Local volunteers dozed and constructed a roadway to the site while RHPS members constructed a chain link fence around the 1.507 acre wellsite. There were those who toiled and saw their own blood, sweat and tears while they built TWO wooden replica oil derricks, over the bore, only to be destroyed by the fury of mother-nature, TWICE.

With the persistence of a few dedicated individuals, who contributed hours and hours of research, who made endless phone calls (back when there was a charge for long distance calls) and made countless contacts, Vintage Equipment was DONATED to RHPS. RHPS volunteers moved the equipment with the assistance of friends and some donor employees. RHPS held a fundraiser to raise the funds to get the first authentic wooden derrick over the original well bore.  The Commemorative  Memorial Thurber Bricks were to be used to pave a walkway to the Texas State Historical Marker. 

RHPS had many more hours invested into the research and documentation, required by the Texas Historical Commission, in the application of the historical (Subject) marker of the McCleskey No. 1 Wellsite as well as paying the cost for the marker.  Additional time, research and documentation were required for the McCleskey Wellsite for the acquisition of the State Archeological Landmark (SAL aka “The Medallion”).

NOTE: It must be mentioned, this work was done by local individuals, not inmates, who for the love of Ranger and the history of Ranger unselfishly contributed the ultimate gift; the gift of themselves. Many who are now deceased.

The work being done on the wellsite was stopped in late 2003 OR early 2004 (for lack of an exact date) after the property around the wellsite was sold by Mr. Farrar.  This forced RHPS members to walk to the site for any work to be done for 4 years after the new owner hinder our entry. 

RHPS was shut down, with the force of a freight train, in 2008, when the property went into foreclosure for contamination issues. There was no permission from the land owner for RHPS to re-enter the property even after the contamination cleanup was finished; up to and including the date of re-deeding the wellsite to Ranger College Foundation in August 2013.  Another Five years went by without entry to the wellsite. A total of Nine years without entry to the wellsite. 

Those NINE years took its toll on the McCleskey Well Site. With that the donor, Mr. Farrar, used a reversionary clause in the original deed to RHPS, to retake the well site, the property was deeded to the Ranger College Foundation.

RHPS was not given the opportunity to explain the NINE YEAR dilemma.  Litigation followed. The first mediation between RHPS and Ranger College failed. Two years passed, legal counsel advised RHPS to rethink the matter of the Wellsite. We reminded each other as to the purpose of our organization; That purpose was to protect and preserve history and historical sites in Ranger and surrounding communities.  With that in mind, RHPS began mediation again with Ranger College.

From that mediation, Rule 11 Agreement was signed BEFORE the court trial date. There was no winner or loser-Everyone was a winner!  It was considered a mutual agreement made in the best interest of the McCleskey Wellsite.

After the Rule 11 Agreement, signed on August 24 2015, RHPS reconciled and moved on to other projects with the understanding the McCleskey Wellsite would be taken care of and preserved into perpetuity by the new and legal owners, Ranger College Foundation. RHPS also had legal access to the well site and was allowed to promote the well site.  With that consolation, RHPS had a vision of what could be with our 38 acre tract of land, originally part of the McCleskey No. 1 location during Ranger’s oil boom.

As per the Rule 11 Agreement, RHPS removed items belonging to the organization; the Vintage Equipment, memorial bricks and the Historical (Subject) Marker, belonging to RHPS AND specifically identified as RHPS personal property in the Rule 11 Agreement. Dr. Campion suggested, to the Ranger College Board of Regents at the March 21, 2016 meeting, to let the site “go back to nature.”

RHPS members fail to understand, after Dr. William Campion and RHPS signed the Rule 11 Agreement, which became a Legal Court Order, why he wants to let McCleskey No. 1 go back to nature.

Mrs. McCullough wrote a short narrative, in her local library newspaper article and took great pains and avoided mentioning a name, so as to avoid legal repercussions. In a town this small, when the McCleskey No. 1 is mentioned, it is synonymously tied to the Ranger Historical Preservation Society and has been for at least 20 plus years. 

For those who are truly interested in the FACTS behind the demise of the McCleskey No. 1 Well Site…..Follow the narrative, beginning with a paragraph in a weekly column and ending with documented evidence.

¨ April 7, 2016

Diana McCullough, Ranger City Librarian and who also writes a weekly column, @ the Ranger Library ...and More! included a short paragraph concerning the McCleskey Well Site in the March 17,  2016 issue of Eastland County Today. Below is that paragraph (extracted from the article).

B2 | Thursday, March 17, 2016

¨ After careful consideration, I took it upon myself, as a private citizen, to file a formal complaint with the city of Ranger. I filed this complaint on March 22 2016 (5 days after her article was published in the Eastland County Today newspaper). I filed the complaint with Mayor Pilgrim and explained this was not the first time that Diana had thrown barbs at the historical society. My complaint was accepted by Elaine Fox who works at the front desk.

Below is the typed version of the complaint that I filed with the City of Ranger on March 22, 2016:





@ the Ranger Library...& More!


Friends, Ranger was once famous for McCleskey No. 1, an oil well gusher credited for “WINNING World War 1” and it’s a crying shame how it’s been desecrated. Somebody should “Plead the Fifth”, be held accountable, and face justice. Thank you, Dr. Campion and Ranger College for doing everything possible to preserve and maintain this historical well site. Too bad that a few evil-doers work overtime destroying… GOOD.

May God bless America, and may God bless you and me. Please take care, and as always…ENJOY READING!  ——————————>

¨ On March 17th  2016, in the Eastland County Today (Page B 2) Mrs. McCullough, who writes a weekly column, @ the Ranger Library…& More!,  stepped over the line when she ended the column with a short paragraph referencing the McCleskey No. 1.

I have attached a copy of the article to this complaint. Mrs. McCullough took great pains and avoided mentioning a name so as to avoid legal repercussions. In a town this small, when the McCleskey No. 1 is mentioned, it is synonymously tied to the Ranger Historical Preservation Society and has been for at least 20 plus years. Only until recently, August 2015, has the McCleskey No. 1 been associated with anyone but RHPS.

Therefore, I contend the paragraph published in her column does everything BUT have in written context, Ranger Historical Preservation Society. The fact that Mrs. McCullough did not publish a name does not absolve her from legal liabilities.

Mrs. McCullough pointed the finger AGAIN and fired a shot at the Ranger Historical Society and used her position as a RANGER CITY Employee, who writes a RANGER CITY Column for the Eastland County Today, and voiced her personal opinion.

In my opinion, Mrs. McCullough continues to abuse her position as a RANGER CITY Employee and the newspaper column @ the Ranger City Library… & More! with malice and defame the Ranger Historical Preservation Society.

I am respectfully requesting the Ranger City Council to:

Ask Mrs. McCullough who the “evildoers” are that she referred to in her column.

Reprimand Mrs. McCullough for her calculated malicious, insinuendoes and negative remarks pointed toward RHPS.

A written public apology to RHPS.

A retraction of her highly unprofessional and unethical statements.

Should Mrs. McCullough refuse these requests, I would like to ask the City Council to consider discharging Diana from writing the weekly column, @ the Ranger Library…& More!

I have serious doubts this request will be granted and I am prepared to take this complaint to the next level.

Donna Thackerson


¨ I allowed 2 weeks for any signs of apologies or remorse.  I saw no written public apology or no retraction for the statements made in the March 17, 2016 article @ the Ranger Library…& More!

I was prepared to take the complaint to the next level. I have extracted the article from the Eastland County Today which was sent to: Eastland County Today, Microplex News and the Waggin’ Tongue. All three news media sources printed my letter to the editor BELOW.

Letter to the Editor

 “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”         Albert Einstein

For those of you who read Eastland County Today and read @ the Ranger Library…and More! in the March 17 2016 edition, you will know exactly what I am making reference to. For those who don’t, I will briefly explain the reason for this Letter to the Editor. Mrs. McCullough, a city employee, writes this column and is published each week. From time to time, Mrs. McCullough oversteps her bounds and makes her personal opinions known on issues that are NOT library news. In doing this, Mrs. McCullough’s statements cause the City of Ranger to be at risk for legal liability as she is not authorized to make personal or political statements in a city column.

Mrs. McCullough concluded her article with a paragraph about an issue she had no direct knowledge of. Whoever provided Mrs. McCullough the information she wrote about ‘stirred the pot’ as many would say and pointed fingers. I believe I know EXACTLY who provided that information to Mrs. McCullough. Mrs. McCullough was careful not to mention a name but referred only to “someone” as “evildoers.” Everyone in Eastland County knows, Mrs. McCullough, who you were referring to. The Ranger Historical Preservation Society is not “evildoers” and we DO NOT “work overtime to destroy…good” and we did not “desecrate” the J.H. McCleskey Well site. For RHPS to “plead the fifth” and to “face justice,” a crime must have been committed. There was no crime committed, no desecration and no evildoing, or at least not on the part of RHPS. Property removed from the McCleskey Well Site belonged to RHPS. On August 24, 2015, RHPS signed a Rule 11 Settlement Agreement with Ranger College Foundation and I quote from that legal document: 2. The parties agree that all personal property of whatever nature located at or on the McCleskey No. 1 well site, is owned by the Central Texas Historical and Genealogical Preservation, Inc. (Ranger Historical Preservation Society) and may be removed by them at their own expense from the site within one hundred and eight days (180) of the entry of the Rule 11 Agreement. The removal and relocation of Texas Historical Marker number 5133004817

(Continued page B 2)

Letter to Editor From Page B 1 .....

shall be removed and relocated to the adjacent land owned by the Central Texas Historical and Genealogical Preservation, Inc. (Ranger Historical Preservation Society) at their sole cost and expense. The fence, well bore, and medallion, currently situated on the premises shall remain and the original site shall continue to retain its designation

as a State Archaeological Landmark, into perpetuity.

This LEGAL DOCUMENT is filed in 91st District Court, signed by the authorized agent for RHPS, Jeane Pruett, and  authorized agent for Ranger College Foundation, William Campion. Surely Dr. Campion knew what he was signing when he signed the document on August 24, 2015? Or could he possibly have forgotten in 7 months that he even signed the legal document? A document that LEGALLY gave RHPS the right to remove PERSONAL PROPERTY; equipment, memory bricks and subject marker.

Prior to the signing of the Rule 11 Settlement Agreement, the RHPS Committee decision was to relinquish ownership of the McCleskey Wellsite (land only) to the Ranger College Foundation. The Rule 11 Settlement Agreement guaranteed protection of the McCleskey Wellsite, into perpetuity. James Farrar, legal owner of the McClesley wellsite, notified RHPS by email of his intent to deed the McCleskey Wellsite to Ranger College Foundation, 3 days prior to deeding the wellsite on August 5, 2013. There was prior knowledge of a conspiracy, of at least 5 individuals, who acted in concert to take over the McCleskey wellsite. If this had been a business, I am of the opinion, this would have been considered a hostile takeover and there would have most certainly been an actual desecration of the McCleskey Well Site. It has recently come to my attention that Dr. Campion announced , to the Board of Regents at their meeting on Monday, March 21st, that since the equipment was no longer at the well site, he thought it would be best to just let the site go back to nature. I remind Dr. Campion and the Ranger College Foundation, just in case he has forgotten again, there is an exception to the conveyance: “so long as the herein described premises are used and maintained by Grantee as a historical site, for the benefit of the public, to commemorate the McCleskey No. 1 well…” and providing that should be above stipulations cease, the conveyance would be null and void and the land and premises would revert to the Grantor without any necessity for suit or reentry.” Also, “The fence, well bore, and medallion, currently situated on the premises shall remain and the original site shall continue to retain its designation as a State Archaeological Landmark, into perpetuity.” In the Agreed Final Judgment, dated August 25, 2015, Paragraph 3.2 states, “IT IS ORDERED that the parties shall fully comply with the Settlement Agreement.” Ranger College Foundation agreed to accept the deed and site from James Farrar, now Dr. Campion has the audacity to let the site return to nature? Where is Dr. Campion’s great desire of preserving HISTORY now that his plans fell through? In closing, let me restate one of favorite quotes:

 “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Albert Einstein




Individually-Not on behalf of any entity or organization





Thursday, April 7 2016 | B1

The following Letter to the Editor DOES NOT reflect the opinions of this newspaper nor its staff. M. Hetrick