Legislature Could Name Loyal Hound, Psychic Setter Missouri's State Dogs

Categories: Animals, Politics

auteur on flickr
"Can I be the state wonder dog? Can I?"
Missouri has a lot of state things: a state bird (bluebird,) a state instrument (the fiddle,) a state fossil (Crinoidea) and even a state dessert (the ice cream cone.)

Now, Missouri legislators want to add two state dogs, one historical dog and one wonder dog.

A bill before the Missouri Legislature would name Old Drum, a dog that died in the 1800s, as the historical dog of Missouri and Jim the Wonder Dog as Missouri's state wonder dog.

So gather 'round, Daily RFT readers, and let us tell you the story of two historic Missouri dogs.

Old Drum

Old Drum, a black and tan hound, became famous in Missouri only after its murder.

Missouri Secretary of State
Boys remember Old Drum at the memorial marking the place where he was found dead.
On the night of October 28, 1869, just when families were getting back to the routine of raising crops and livestock after years of plundering and raids during the Civil War, rancher Leonidas Hornsby asked his nephew to shoot a dog on his property.

Old Drum's memorial.
Dogs and wolves had been decimating his sheep, and Hornsby vowed to kill the next hound on his property, according to Missouri state archives.

That hound was Old Drum, the beloved hunting dog of his brother-in-law Charles Burden. Burden was devastated to find his dog dead, full of lead with its head in a nearby creek, and he vowed revenge, telling Hornsby, "I'll have satisfaction at the cost of my life."

Burden took Hornsby to trial, but he wasn't very successful. There just wasn't enough evidence for an easy conviction, especially since Hornsby didn't pull the trigger.

At the fourth trial in Warrensburg, Burden's lawyer George G. Vest won the case with an epic, heart-wrenching eulogy not just for Old Drum but for man's best friend. The speech wasn't written down until after the trial, so only a small portion remains:

Gentleman of the Jury, a man's 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 may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer, he will lick the wounds and the sores that come in encounters 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. (Read the entire remaining speech on the third page of this story.)

Jurors ruled in favor of Old Drum's owner Burden, who received $50.

Want to read about Missouri's proposed official state wonder dog, Jim the Wonder Dog? Continue to the next page.

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