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Old Drum Memorial in Warrensburg,
Old Drum was a hound dog.
Old Drum hailed from
Charles Burden was Old Drum's master,
who cared very much for his hound.
On October 28, 1869, the dog was shot dead and it might or might not
have been the neighbor or the neighbor's nephew who done it.
Long story short, the entire affair
went before the courts as Burden vs
Hornsby. Charles Burden, as mentioned, was Old Drum's
master and Leonidas Hornsby was his neighbor and brother-in-law.
On September 23, 1870, one of Burden's
attorneys, George Graham Vest,
gave his closing remarks, the famous
Eulogy of the Dog at Warrensburg, Missouri.
This oration is also known as his
Tribute to the Dog.
Vest won his case.
Here is the Eulogy of
Gentlemen of the jury,
The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and
become his enemy. His son or daughter whom he has reared with loving
care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us,
those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become
traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It
flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it the most.
A manís reputation may be sacrificed
in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to
fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be
the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its
cloud upon our heads. The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man
can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and
the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog.
Gentlemen of the jury, a manís dog stands by him in prosperity and
in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold
ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if
only he can be near his masterís side. He will kiss the hand that
has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and sores that come in
encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of
his pauper master as if he were a prince.
When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings
and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the
sun in its journey through the heavens. If fortune drives the master
forth an outcast into the world, friendless and homeless, the
faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him,
to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when
the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its
embrace and his body is laid in the cold ground, no matter if all
other friends pursue their way, there by his graveside will the
noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but
open, in alert watchfulness, faithful and true, even unto death.
Old Drum's Place in
Old Drum's death triggered a public
declaration of love that man has for his only real friend in this
sorry world, his dog.
The good citizens of Missouri were
deeply touched and followed Old Drum's case with great interest all
the way to the Missouri Supreme Court.
And the fans didn't die out.
In 1947, Fred Ford placed a monument
to Old Drum on the banks of Big Creek, approximately where Old Drum
was found after he had been shot.
Here is the good piece:
Old Drum Monument at
Big Creek, Missouri
Missouri State Archives
In 1958, Old Drum was immortalized by
Reno Gastaldi, who crafted the bronze statue that you can see at the
top of this page. On the plaque at the front side of the statue's
base you can read Vest's Eulogy to the Dog.
Appropriately, the entire work was
placed in front of the Johnson County Courthouse in Warrensburg,