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.
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 world...is 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.
George Graham Vest
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 .
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 OverviewThis 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.
- 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
- 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:
- 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.”
- 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).
- 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.
- Distribute copies of the Burden v. Hornsby Trial and the accompanying original documents (Summons, Leonidas Hornsby , Amended Statement , Transcript of Proceedings , Subpoena for the Court of Common Pleas , and the Burden v. Hornsby Opinion ) 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.
- 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.)
- Have groups coordinate information and place events on a classroom timeline.
- Assist students in putting things into historical perspective by using the inflation calculator at the website, www.westegg.com/inflation and the Transcript of Proceedings 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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?
- Is the building in use or vacant?
- If in use, is the building still used for its original purpose or has it been adapted for another?
- If the building is vacant, has another building assumed its original purpose?
- 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.
- Read Eulogy of the Dog 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)
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- As a final activity, have students write a response to the statement, “Man’s best friend is his dog.”