Good Jim Key (7 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
24 May 2024

The planet is inhabited not only by people, but also by thousands of other amazing creatures that can amaze the most educated and erudite person.

Of course, sometimes the stories about the talents of our smaller brothers are somewhat embellished, but they definitely make us, who consider ourselves the crowns of creation, think.

Handsome Jim Key

This character claims to be the smartest horse in the world.

Handsome Jim Key was a famous horse who wowed audiences with his talents at the turn of the twentieth century. Jim could read and write, change money, count “numbers under thirty,” and quote passages from the Bible “where a horse is mentioned.”

The horse was owned and trained by Dr. William Key, a former slave, self-taught veterinarian and drug salesman. Although Handsome Jim was wildly popular wherever he was known, he became a celebrity largely due to the promotion of manager Albert Rogers.

With the owner

President William McKinley saw Handsome Jim Key perform at the Tennessee Exposition and declared, “This is the most amazing and exciting performance I have ever seen.” The President also noted that this is an example of what can be achieved with “kindness and patience.” After all, the owner had never hit the horse in his life to achieve the desired result from him.

Jim Key Memorial outside Shelbyville, Tennessee.

For nine years, Handsome Jim Key not only performed throughout the country to large audiences at exhibitions, world fairs, schools and other venues, but also became a very successful animal advocate.

Becoming the nation's number one box office star, Jim Key galvanized the global animal welfare movement by making the phrase "be kind to animals" an ideal for everyone, inspiring 2 million children to pledge never to be cruel to their pets. This was a huge achievement and a tremendous boost to the nascent humanist movement.

Dr. Key died in 1909 at the age of 76. Handsome Jim retired in 1907 and died in 1912.

His grave is in a field directly behind a private home, where his remains were moved in 1967 from William Key's property in nearby Shelbyville, Tennessee. There is also a monument in honor of Key and Albert Rogers, the promoter of Handsome Jim Key, who has become a symbol of kindness towards animals.

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