Missouri State Archives
Man's Best Friend:
The Old Drum Story
Old Drum Remembered
Monument to Old Drum
A monument to Old Drum was erected on December 12, 1947, by Fred Ford of Blue Springs, Missouri. Ford placed the monument on the banks of Big Creek approximately where Old Drum was found after he had been shot.
Ford received donations of money and rocks from all over the world to create the monument. The sixty-seven block base of the monument consisted of small rocks placed in cement blocks labeled with metal donor name plates. Dog lovers sent stones from the Great Wall of China, Mexico, the West Indies, South Africa, Germany, Guatemala, France, the White Cliffs of Dover, Jamaica, and most of the states in the U.S. Unfortunately, due to vandalism in later years, the original base no longer exists.
The part of the original monument that still remains was constructed by the Indianola Memorial Works at Indianola, Iowa, using gray granite stone. The monument is illustrated with a dog treeing a coon in the middle, a fox in one corner, and a deer being chased in the other. It contains the inscription: Killed, Old Drum, 1869. It remains a symbol of all dogs that people have loved and lost.
The Old Drum Memorial
Today a monument to Old Drum stands in Warrensburg, Missouri, along with the words of Vest’s eulogy. On September 23, 1958, through the coordinated efforts of the Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and dog lovers from around the country, Old Drum was immortalized in statue by the sculptor, Reno Gastaldi.
On the southeast corner of the current Johnson County Courthouse lawn, stands a bronze statue of the much beloved black and tan hound, Old Drum. The sculpture is of a hunting dog standing on all fours, with tail lowered and head up. On the front of the trapezoid concrete base on a plaque in raised letters, appear Vest’s well-known words which moved the jury to find in Burden’s favor and originated the saying, “A man’s best friend is his dog.”