Historical site rescued by Eagle Scout

Kathryn SwanJ-C Correspondent
Historical site rescued by Eagle Scout

Russell Drummond, a 17-year old Boy Scout, recently completed the restoration of a legendary Osage County historical site. The project was part of Drummond’s Eagle Scout requirements and was sponsored by the Osage County Historical Society.

Drummond spent months planning how he would execute his community service project that involved rescuing the grave site of Johnny Clare, a young cowboy who became a local legend following his untimely death more than a century ago. Clare was immortalized by the poetry of the late Larry McWhorter. His grave is located on the Drummond Ranch about 14 miles west of Pawhuska and 50 yards south of Highway 60.

“Johnny Clare died at the age of twenty,” noted Drummond. “He was born in May of 1890 and died in May 1910. His was not a quiet death, as he was thrown from his horse. Johnny was buried on the spot where he was found.” At the time of his death, Clare was working as a cowboy for Dr. Hall on ranch land my family now owns.

“The grave had fallen into disrepair over the century. In fact, cleaning up the grave had been my father’s Eagle Scout project when he was my age. By the time I had learned about the grave, it was in a sorry status again. Paint was peeling from the fence. Weeds had overgrown the grave and there were assorted holes created by wildlife varmints.

“I set out to fix the grave site with three things in mind. First, I decided to repaint the fence and then added much-needed cover for the dirt. I also wanted to find a permanent solution to the weeds.“

Enlisting the help of family members, Drummond pulled out the weeds by hand and smoothed the dirt over the grave. His sisters, Virginia and Margaret, painted the fence surrounding the grave while Drummond and his dad, Ford, collected limestone rocks to cover the grave and prevent weeds from growing back. “After positioning the rocks over the grave and adding a weed resistant cover underneath the rocks, we planted some daffodils to the front of the grave and a horse skull was placed on top of the rocks,” explained Drummond.

The Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). A Scout who attains this rank is called an Eagle Scout or Eagle. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men. Drummond joins a prestigious list of Eagle recipients that includes astronauts, business leaders and U.S. Presidents. He is a third generation Eagle Scout, following the lead of his father, F. Ford Drummond II, and grandfathers Frederick F. Drummond and G. Deane Shank. His Eagle Scout Court of Honor will be held Sunday, Aug. 16.

Russell Drummond is the son of Ford and Vanessa Drummond of Bartlesville and grandson of Frederick and Janet Drummond of Pawhuska. He will be a junior this fall at Bartlesville High School. His Eagle Scout project was sponsored by the Osage County Historical Society.