The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard is a cemetery located
in rural Colbert County,
Alabama reserved specifically for the burial
of coon dogs. Key Underwood established the cemetery on September 4,
1937 when he buried his famous coon dog, Troop. Underwood chose the
spot as it was previously a popular hunting camp. As of 2014 more
than 300 coon dogs are buried at the cemetery.
Headstones in the cemetery range from the homemade wooden and metal monuments to the more elaborate marble engraved stones found at many human cemeteries. The dead include many famous dogs such as Hunter's Famous Amos, Ralston Purina's 1984 Dog of the Year.
Every Labor Day the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunter's Association sponsors a gathering at the cemetery in a tribute to the inauguration of the cemetery on Labor Day in 1937. The celebration includes music, dancing, food and a liar's contest. The gathering is often attended by local politicians.
The cemetery is really out in the woods (if you will pardon the expression). I began to think that maybe I had made a wrong turn, but finally I saw the cemetery sign. Go west on Highway 72 from Tuscumbia about 7 miles. Turn south onto Alabama 247 and go about 12 miles to Colbert County Route 21 (across the road from mile marker 12), Turn right and follow the signs to the cemetery for approximately 5 miles. If you get to a dead end, you have gone to far.
Dogs must meet three requirements to qualify for burial at the cemetery:
1. the owner must claim that their pet is an authentic coon dog,
2. a witness must declare that the deceased is a coon dog, and
3. a member of the local coon hunters' organization must be allowed to view the coonhound and declare it as such.
I grew up on a farm. My daddy was a big hunter so we always had dogs hanging around the house. So, I can see where you would want to do something special for that special friend.
The first video gives a guided tour of this graveyard. And if you get excited about coon hunters telling their stories you may want to see the second video also.
Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard
Coon Dog Cemetery Road (CR 21)