with Horse and Hound

The Story of Old Drum

Old Drum, a black and tan foxhound whose bronze effigy stands before the courthouse in Warrensburg, Missouri, inspired an attorney’s closing argument that has endured as one of the most well-known and oft-reproduced tributes to the dog.

old drum1Bronze statue of Old Drum in Warrensburg, Missouri

One crisp October night in 1869, the music of the foxhounds was interrupted by the sound of a gunshot. Charles Burden stepped outside to listen. The hound music continued, but one voice was missing—that of his favorite dog, Drum. The next morning he went to the adjoining farm to call on his brother-in-law, Leonidas Hornsby. Hornsby had lost one hundred sheep to stray dogs and had threatened to shoot the next stray that came on his property. In answer to Burden’s questions, Hornsby claimed that his ward, Dick Ferguson, had shot a load of shelled corn at a black looking dog. The next day Burden found Drum lying dead.

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