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September 4, 2011

Senator George Graham Vest, "Little Giant", Attorney in "Old Drum" Trial Warrensburg

Bronze casting of Old Drum was made by Mr. Reno J Gastaldi was born on 03/18/1918 and died on 07/24/2007 at the age of 89. Reno Gastaldi is buried in the cemetery:Evangelical St Paul Cemetery, which is located in Columbia, Ilinois. He was a PFC and veteran of World War II.  The Statue was placed on the courthouse square in 1958.

Warrensburg, Missouri
Died 1869

Old Drum, a hound dog, was shot dead in 1869 by Samuel "Dick" Ferguson, nephew and ward of Leonidas Hornsby, an irate neighbor who thought Drum had been killing his sheep.
Drum's owner, Charles Burden, sued Hornsby (who also happened to be his brother-in-law), and the case eventually went to the Missouri Supreme Court where Burden won the case. But it was in the courtroom in Warrensburg that Burden's lawyer, future senator George Graham Vest, delivered his famous tribute: "The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish his dog."
A statue of Old Drum was erected, and still stands, on the current Johnson County Courthouse lawn (the old courthouse where Vest delivered his famous speech still stands elsewhere in town). Burden was awarded fifty dollars.
Dick Ferguson, the reported shooter of Old Drum, later moved to Oklahoma, where he himself died of gunshot wounds in the town of Anadarko.









The carcass of Old Drum is still buried at the corner of Old Drum Rd. and E. 239th St. in Cass County, MO. The more photogenic monument stands in Warrensburg.
Old Drum Memorial 2

George Graham Vest was born in Frankfort, Kentucky, on December 6, 1830.  He graduated from Centre College in 1848 and received a degree from the law department at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1853.  Shortly after graduating, he headed out west by stagecoach. 
En route to the coast, the stagecoach wrecked at Georgetown, Missouri, and Vest suffered a broken arm.  While recuperating, he defended a slave accused of murdering a mother and her children and though acquitted, the slave was lynched. Vest was warned to leave town, but decided to stay in the small Pettis County town and begin his successful legal career.
By 1856, Vest moved to Boonville and became active in Democratic Party politics.  He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1860 and served there until late 1861 when he wrote the resolution calling for the state convention to determine Missouri’s future in the Union.  
As an outspoken advocate for secession, Vest aligned himself with the South.  In 1861, he fought at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and the following year was elected to the Confederate Congress where he served until 1864, when he was appointed to the Confederate Senate.
When the war was over, Vest came back to Missouri and started a law practice in Sedalia.  He chose as his partner John F. Philips, a former Union soldier.  In 1870, Vest represented Charles Burden whose hunting dog had been killed by a neighbor.  Vest’s closing remarks made no reference to the trial details, but instead eulogized a dog’s unconditional love for its master.  The case was won and Vest became famous for his classic speech.
In 1876, Vest ran for governor, but was defeated because of his Confederate record.  After moving to Kansas City, he was elected by the legislature to the U. S. Senate in 1879.  During Vest’s twenty-four years in the Senate, he became known for his skills as a debater and an orator.  He is also credited with saving Yellowstone National Park for the government and fighting to see it protected, along with urging reform in the treatment of Native Americans. 
Because of poor health, Vest retired from public life in 1903 and lived at his home in Sweet Springs, Missouri, until his death on August 9, 1904.

The Old Johnson County Courthouse

On the Old Town Square in Warrensburg remains the only surviving example of one of the most popular nineteenth century courthouse designs in Missouri.  The Old Johnson County Courthouse still stands at its original location on North Main Street and through restoration efforts retains much of its Federal style. 
Only four years after Johnson County was created, in 1838, construction was started on the building.  William N. Wade was awarded the building contract and Harvey Dyer was designated the supervisor of construction.  Martin Warren, for whom the town is named, originally owned the property on which the courthouse sits.  One of the three commissioners who chose the site was Daniel Morgan Boone, son of Daniel Boone.
The initial $2500 appropriation was not enough to execute the original plan.  To begin with, the plan called for a 44-by-36 foot, two-story brick building with three doors and a cupola (dome-like structure placed on the roof top).  Lack of funds required the base to be modified to a 36 foot square and the anticipated cupola was never built. 
After a prolonged construction period, the court accepted the building on July 28, 1842.  Additional funding brought the final cost of the Old Courthouse to $2800.  The entire first story with its brick floor housed the court and the wooden-floored second story contained offices.  The exterior of the building was originally red brick, but was covered with buff-colored stucco in 1867.
The courthouse served as a federal garrison during the Civil War and was the center of Johnson County government activity until the railroad came to Warrensburg in 1864.  Most of the business district slowly moved several blocks east toward the depot and ultimately a new courthouse was built in that neighborhood.  Near the end of its use as a courthouse in 1870, the Old Drum trial took place, during which George Graham Vest delivered his classic speech, Eulogy of the Dog PDF file.
After 1871, the Old Courthouse was used as a school, a church, a courthouse again for a year, and finally a private residence during which time it was repeatedly remodeled.  In 1965, the Johnson County Historical Society purchased the property and began restoration and preservation efforts guided by the original specifications. 
Once again furnished as a courthouse with original items supplemented by period pieces, the building has been restored to its 1870 appearance.  The plaque commemorating Vest’s famous speech remains at the entrance to the Old Courthouse.
The building is now part of the Johnson County Historical Society museum complex and is available for tours.  The Old Johnson County Courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Missouri State Archives
Man's Best Friend:
The Old Drum Story

Lesson Overview

This lesson, developed by the Missouri State Archives for ninth through twelfth grade students, will instill student appreciation for original documents by introducing them to primary sources that teach about the judicial system and describe one of the most unusual cases to go through Missouri courts.  This lesson may also be adapted for eighth grade students.
Students are provided images of George Graham Vest, the Old Johnson County Courthouse, the Monument to Old Drum on Big Creek, The Old Drum Memorial, and Eulogy of the Dog.  Students will also view a set of documents relating to court procedures during each of the trials.  An accompanying synopsis of the Burden v. Hornsby case and narratives about figures involved in the trial will help students in their analysis of the relevant documents.

Instructional Procedures:

  • The Story of Burden v. Hornsby
    • The Death of Old Drum
    • The Burden v. Hornsby Trial
  • Glossary of Terms
  • The Old Johnson County Courthouse
  • Missouri’s Big Four
  • Eulogy of the Dog
  • Old Drum Remembered
    • Monument to Old Drum on Big Creek
    • The Old Drum Memorial
  • Original Documents (may be viewed on-line or via PDF files)
  • Original Document Worksheet 
  • Guided Discussion Questions
  • Suggested Readings and Websites
  • Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Social Studies Frameworks and Social Studies Strands

Learning Goals:

  • To engage students in an age-appropriate discussion of the judicial system by examining a nineteenth century court case as it progresses through the courts of Missouri.
  • To help students understand why some records are deemed to be of “permanent, historical value” to the state.

Learning Objectives:

After this unit, students will be able to:
  • Define basic legal terms related to a court case.
  • Trace the progression of the Burden v. Hornsby case through the judicial system.
  • List important figures involved with the trials and their contributions to Missouri and U. S. History
  • Develop a timeline of significant events in the court case.

Lesson Plan:

The Story of Burden v. Hornsby:
  1. Read the background of the case, The Death of Old Drum, aloud to the class.  Discuss the concept of circumstantial evidence and how this led Burden to believe Hornsby should be held responsible for Old Drum’s death.  Refer to the “Guided Discussion Questions.”
  2. Divide students into small groups and distribute copies of the Glossary of Terms. Either have the students read these quietly to themselves, or take turns reading aloud in groups. (You might also send this home the night before as homework).
  3.  Optional Vocabulary Activity: Ask students to mark glossary terms as they find the words in the text. (The first time a vocabulary word appears it will be italicized.  Terms may appear multiple times.)  Within their groups, students may divide up the vocabulary and write each word in a sentence.  Once they have finished, go around the room and ask each group to share sentences.  Lead a discussion of the relevancy of these words to the topic.
  4. Distribute copies of the Burden v. Hornsby Trial and the accompanying original documents (Summons, Leonidas Hornsby PDF file, Amended Statement PDF file, Transcript of Proceedings PDF file, Subpoena for the Court of Common Pleas PDF file, and the Burden v. Hornsby Opinion PDF file) or have groups view them on a computer.  The documents may be easier to see and navigate on the computer if one is available for students.
  5. Ask groups, as they read the case narrative and look through the original documents, to list significant events by date and type of court. (Justice of the Peace, Court of Common Pleas, etc.) 
  6. Have groups coordinate information and place events on a classroom timeline.
  7. Assist students in putting things into historical perspective by using the inflation calculator at the website, and the Transcript of Proceedings PDF file to calculate the dollar amount of the first judgment for Burden and court costs in today’s economy.  Bring students together to share calculations and discuss cost analysis.
  8. Let students take turns reading out loud the Missouri’s Big Four narrative and  the history of The Old Johnson County Courthouse.  Lead students in a discussion of the famous faces in the courtroom and the historical significance of the Old Johnson County Courthouse.  Utilize the “Guided Discussion Questions” to assist with the discussion.
  9. Optional Historic Preservation Activity:
     Have the students identify an older public building in their own community and research its original purpose and its uses over time. Ask them to answer the following questions:
    1. What purpose did this building serve? Is that function still important to the community? Did any important events take place here? If so, why were they important?
    2. Is the building in use or vacant?
    3. If in use, is the building still used for its original purpose or has it been adapted for another?
    4. If the building is vacant, has another building assumed its original purpose?
    5. Should the building be restored? What kinds of adaptive use would be feasible? If possible, have a local preservation expert visit the class to discuss these questions with the students and to explain how decisions are made as to whether or not to preserve such buildings.
  10. Read Eulogy of the Dog PDF file aloud to students.  Have students underline examples of the emotional appeal Vest used in his speech.  Why did he not mention any of the specifics of the trial? Did the emotionalism of the speech influence the outcome of the trial?  What makes a speech memorable?  (Have students brainstorm other well-known speeches)
  11. Have students read the Old Drum Remembered information and view both memorials either online or from a printed copy.  Why does The Old Drum Memorial seem to have a timeless, universal appeal?
  12. Divide students into two teams and re-examine the facts of the case and debate the final outcome of the Burden v. Hornsby case. Was the final verdict fair? Why or why not?
  13. In groups, ask students to complete their “Learning from Primary Sources: Original Document Worksheets,” one for each original document. Teachers may opt to have groups study only one document.  Members from each group should present the original document and the summary explanation.  As this is a standard worksheet that can be adapted for usage with all original documents, some questions may be more relevant to the sources than others.
  14. Bring all groups together in a discussion of what the documents can tell us about the judicial system in Missouri and what can be learned from these historical documents. Why are the documents important? Use the questions from the document worksheets to discuss the specific subject matter of each document.
  15. As a final activity, have students write a response to the statement, “Man’s best friend is his dog.” 

More Logic, Less Feeling: Senator Vest Nixes Woman Suffrage

The struggle for woman suffrage lasted almost a century, beginning with the 1848 Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York, and including the 1890 union of two competing suffrage organizations to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NAWSA and other organizations campaigned diligently for the vote in a variety of ways but did not achieve success until the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. The demand to change the Constitution to grant women the vote (raised by Elizabeth Cady Stanton as early as 1878) was contentious enough; but the pressure for woman suffrage advocates to address other issues often gave the debate over the vote for women a particularly divisive tone. In an 1887 speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Democratic Senator George G. Vest of Missouri put forth traditional arguments that a woman’s proper place was at home, not the ballot box.

Mr. VEST. . . . If this Government, which is based on the intelligence of the people, shall ever be destroyed it will be by injudicious, immature, or corrupt suffrage. If the ship of state launched by our fathers shall ever be destroyed, it will be by striking the rock of universal, unprepared suffrage. . . .
The Senator who last spoke on this question refers to the successful experiment in regard to woman suffrage in the Territories of Wyoming and Washington. Mr. President, it is not upon the plains of the sparsely settled Territories of the West that woman suffrage can be tested. Suffrage in the rural districts and sparsely settled regions of this country must from the very nature of things remain pure when corrupt everywhere else. The danger of corrupt suffrage is in the cities, and those masses of population to which civilization tends everywhere in all history. Whilst the country has been pure and patriotic, cities have been the first cancers to appear upon the body-politic in all ages of the world.
Wyoming Territory! Washington Territory! Where are their large cities? Where are the localities in those Territories where the strain upon popular government must come? The Senator from New Hampshire [Henry W. Blair—Ed.],who is so conspicuous in this movement, appalled the country some months since by his ghastly array of illiteracy in the Southern States. . . . That Senator proposes now to double, and more than double, that illiteracy. He proposes now to give the negro women of the South this right of suffrage, utterly unprepared as they are for it.
In a convention some two years and a half ago in the city of Louisville an intelligent negro from the South said the negro men could not vote the Democratic ticket because the women would not live with them if they did. The negro men go out in the hotels and upon the railroad cars. They go to the cities and by attrition they wear away the prejudice of race; but the women remain at home, and their emotional natures aggregate and compound the race-prejudice, and when suffrage is given them what must be the result? . . .
I pity the man who can consider any question affecting the influence of woman with the cold, dry logic of business. What man can, without aversion, turn from the blessed memory of that dear old grandmother, or the gentle words and caressing hand of that dear blessed mother gone to the unknown world, to face in its stead the idea of a female justice of the peace or township constable? For my part I want when I go to my home—when I turn from the arena where man contends with man for what we call the prizes of this paltry world—I want to go back, not to be received in the masculine embrace of some female ward politician, but to the earnest, loving look and touch of a true woman. I want to go back to the jurisdiction of the wife, the mother; and instead of a lecture upon finance or the tariff, or upon the construction of the Constitution, I want those blessed, loving details of domestic life and domestic love. . . .
I speak now respecting women as a sex. I believe that they are better than men, but I do not believe they are adapted to the political work of this world. I do not believe that the Great Intelligence ever intended them to invade the sphere of work given to men, tearing down and destroying all the best influences for which God has intended them.
The great evil in this country to-day is in emotional suffrage. The great danger to-day is in excitable suffrage. If the voters of this country could think always coolly, and if they could deliberate, if they could go by judgment and not by passion, our institutions would survive forever, eternal as the foundations of the continent itself; but massed together, subject to the excitements of mobs and of these terrible political contests that come upon us from year to year under the autonomy of our Government, what would be the result if suffrage were given to the women of the United States?
Women are essentially emotional. It is no disparagement to them they are so. It is no more insulting to say that women are emotional than to say that they are delicately constructed physically and unfitted to become soldiers or workmen under the sterner, harder pursuits of life.
What we want in this country is to avoid emotional suffrage, and what we need is to put more logic into public affairs and less feeling. There are spheres in which feeling should be paramount. There are kingdoms in which the heart should reign supreme. That kingdom belongs to woman. The realm of sentiment, the realm of love, the realm of the gentler and the holier and kindlier attributes that make the name of wife, mother, and sister next to that of God himself.
I would not, and I say it deliberately, degrade woman by giving her the right of suffrage. I mean the word in its full signification, because I believe that woman as she is to-day, the queen of the home and of hearts, is above the political collisions of this world, and should always be kept above them. . . .
It is said that the suffrage is to be given to enlarge the sphere of woman’s influence. Mr. President, it would destroy her influence. It would take her down from that pedestal where she is today, influencing as a mother the minds of her offspring, influencing by her gentle and kindly caress the action of her husband toward the good and pure.
Source: Senator George G. Vest (Democrat, Missouri), Congressional Record, 48th Congress, 2d Session (25 January 1887): 986. Reprinted in Aileen S. Kraditor, ed., Up From the Pedestal: Selected Writings in the History of American Feminism (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1968), 194–196.

(Scrlpps News Association.)

Sweet Springs. Mo., Aug. 9.—
George Graham Vest, ex-senator from Missouri, died at 5 o'clock this morning of general debility, aged 74. His final critical illness began three weeks ago. The entire family was at his bedside. The funeral services will occur at home tomorrow afternoon, followed by the departure of the funeral party for St. Louis. Interment will be In Belle Fontaine cemetery. The passing of former United States Senator Geo. Graham Vest, diminishes by one the small coterie of famous courteous, old-time statesmen, all giants of intellect. The term "old-time southern gentle man" is so abused, these days, that one hesitates to use it. Still, if it ever fitted any man, it fitted the "Little Giant." Vest was born at Frankfort. Ky., Dec. 6. 1830, and graduated from Center College, Kentucky, in 1848. He completed his law course at the Transylvania university in 1853 and moved to Missouri the same year. He was in the Missouri senate when the war broke out. He went with the south and became a confederate senator. He was elected to the Tinted State
senate in 1871 and served until December 1903, when, on account of failing health, he retired to his daughter's home at St. Louis. He made the same gallant tight for life that always marked his battles in public, but the odds were against him. Vest was small in stature, slow and deliberate in movement, and never lost his temper. In the senate, he was regarded with veneration and when ever he arose to speak every member hurried to his place to listen. He had as many republican friends as democrats, for all recognized that Vest was of the type of statesman who would rather die than do the slightest dishonorable act. Vest was old-fashioned in his ideas and dress. He lived simply and died a poor man. During the last year he had been sinking, rapidly. All day long he sat in his great leather chair, his pallid face on his breast, his ashen hands laid in his lap, Once in a while his great mind—once titanic in its power—flashed up again for a moment, only to fade.
tentative of this news association called upon him. "I should like to giant yon an interview." he said, "but I'm too ill. I
always trusted newspaper men and I never was betrayed. I will trust you to write an interview for me. but do not make me talk politics. I am an old man—out of politics—nearly out of the world." Then the aged senator's eyes closed,
his head dropped and he dozed a minute. All at once he started nervously and exclaimed: "Eh? What? Yes, I'm tired, very tired." In Washington, as in his home slate, he will always be remembered as the "Little Giant," a term given him by loving friends who admired his prowess To the old-time southern element in Missouri, to which Vest always looked for support, he is as dear as ever. The ties that bind them together when the suffered for the "lost cause." have never been broken. During the past 20 years he has been so much away from his state that he was out of touch with the element now dominating the state. He belonged to the old-timers, he cared little for the others and he viewed with complacency the angry battles fought by unworthy men anxious to succeed him. Regarding the recent funeral of one of his friends in St. Louis. Vest wrote those pitiful words while lying helpless on what be thought to be his death bed: "For 20 years I have watched as my old friends, one by one paid the debt of nature. The years have robbed of health and strength, until I realize my turn to go is not far hence. And the thought docs not distress me. When most of a man's dear associates are on the other side, and when time has robbed him of all his appetites and passions, life holds but few charms to claim his thoughts and death possesses few terrors. It promises rest and reunion." Vest was the most brilliant member of the famous "Big Four" that has been such a powerful political factor in Missouri for over 30 years. The others are Senator F. M. Cockrell. United Slates District Judge John F 
Philips and ex-Gov. Thos. T. Crittendon. Vest and Cockrell were confederates. Philips and Crittenden federal officers during the war. When the war was over the famous Drake constitution of Missouri disfranchised confederates, and Vest and Cockrell, both good lawyers, were unable to practice. Cockrell became a "silent" partner with Crittenden at Warrensburg and Vest took a "silent" place in Philip' office at Sedalia, and the earned a living until the Drake constitution was knocked out, During the years of association they became great friends, and about 1870 they began to plan for getting for themselves out of politics. Indicative of their success, it may be stated that since then Vest had 24 years as senator. Cockrell will have had 30 when his term expires. Philips has been six years in congress, two years supreme court commissioner, four year on the appelate court, and 14 years federal judge on a life appointment; Crittenden had four years as governor, four years in congress, four years as consul in Mexico and now holds a life appointment in Judge Philips' court. Vest and Cockrell had Philips made judge, and Philips appointed Crittenden, so the "Big Four., is still operative. Vest was the first to retire. Their office holding combined aggregates nearly 100 years, and the combined salaries drawn amount to more than 500,000.

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