Press Releases

Labor Day Celebration to be Held at Coon Dog Cemetery


F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E

CONTACT: Janice M. Williams, President
Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery, Inc.
PHONE: 256.412.5970
EMAIL: coondogcemetery@comcast.net

Labor Day Celebration to be Held at Coon Dog Cemetery

Tuscumbia, Ala. (August 18, 2015) – On a ridge in the Freedom Hills of Northwest Alabama, in a clearing among century-old oaks and “piney” woods, one may visit the graves of more than 300 coon hounds, all tried and true. For most of the year one hears only the peaceful sounds of nature. On Labor Day, however, the quiet is broken when folks gather for the annual Coon Dog Cemetery Labor Day Celebration. They come to have a good time and to pay tribute to the dogs and to those who loved them, especially the cemetery’s founder, Mr. Key Underwood, and the first dog buried here.

It was Labor Day, 1937, when Underwood lost his beloved canine hunting companion, Troop. Remembering the special times and the special place where Underwood had gathered with friends and other dogs to enjoy the night-time sport and its accompanying camaraderie, he decided that it was the perfect place to lay Troop to rest. The grave was dug by Key, Raymond Wheeler and Wilburn Prater. The dog, wrapped in an old cotton pick sack, was buried. Underwood chiseled his name and the date on a sandstone chimney rock. Today, this grave and its marker remain as a tribute to one man’s love of his dog. Surrounded now by others (many with colorful epitaphs) and with not one, but two, memorial monuments depicting treeing coonhounds, the site rivals human cemeteries in history and in love. The Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery is the only one of its kind in the world.

The 2015 Labor Day Celebration, set for Monday, September 7, 2015, will begin at 10 a.m. and will close at 4 p.m. No admission is charged.

According to Janice Williams, president of the Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery, Inc., “This year’s celebration should prove to be bigger and better than ever. We welcome back the Southern Strangers to play their old-time Bluegrass music and as an added attraction this year, we will have Muscle Shoals Music Legend, Travis Wammack, and the Snake Man Band.”

L.O. Bishop will be on hand to dish up his famous barbeque. Newly designed Coon Dog Cemetery caps, tee shirts, coffee mugs and cap/lapel pins will be for sale and selected arts and crafts vendors have been invited to this year’s celebration.

“Attendance is free, but sales that day will benefit the Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery’s fund for the preservation of the site, which is part of the Freedom Hills Wildlife Management area, protected by the State of Alabama,” stated David Isom, treasurer of Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery, Inc. FCDC Board Member Mitchell Marks stated that the group hosts the annual Coon Dog Labor Day Celebration and serves as caretaker of the cemetery, providing grounds keeping and decorating it once a year for the celebration and burials, which require meeting certain guidelines.

The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Cemetery is located at 4945 Coon Dog Cemetery Road in Cherokee, Ala. Driving Directions from Muscle Shoals / Tuscumbia follow Hwy. 72 West and turn left (south) onto AL Hwy. 247. Drive 12.8 miles and turn right (west) on Coon Dog Cemetery Road. Drive another 5 miles and the cemetery will be on the left. Parking areas will be marked and shuttle service by golf carts will be available for those needing assistance.

For additional information, call256-412-5970, email coondogcemetery@comcast.net or visit http://www.coondogcemetery.com or http://www.facebook.com/friendsofthecoondogcemetery.

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Photos available upon request by sending an email to janicem.williams@comcast.net.

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