Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jack the Monkey

I was going to hold off for a while in posting something on Jack the Monkey, but he seems to have found a following. I have had a few emailed questions relating to my previous post so, I figured that it was probably timely to write something about Jack.

Jack was a monkey who was probably of South American or Caribbean origin. His presence in Annapolis Royal is a testament to this community's role as a shipping port. From the beginning of the Golden Age of Sail in the 1850s to the beginning of the First World War, Annapolis Royal had a very active waterfront. From shipbuilding and rigging to loading and unloading merchandise, there was always something going on on the waterfront. Vessels leaving this port literally spread across the globe. Returning vessels brought with them a wide variety of goods from exotic ports. Jack would have come to Annapolis on one of these returning vessels. An image of Jack that I did not know about until today can be seen on the Nova Scotia Archives website http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/tourism/exhibit.asp?ID=191

Jack must have been quite the attraction for Bill Edwards. There were at least two separate articles (including an obituary) published about Jack in the Annapolis Spectator. Here are the articles.

"Annapolis Spectator, Thursday, July 16, 1914

Bill Edwards’ monkey is taking a hand in the political game, and seems to be an ardent Tory, for while he treats the Herald with every respect, he cannot stand the Morning Chronicle and tears it up whenever he gets the chance."

"Annapolis Spectator, Thursday, October 7, 1915

EMPTY IS THE COLLAR, MONKEY’S GONE

When WH Edwards with his monkey on the jib boom of his automobile started for Yarmouth on a sunny morning a day or two ago he was ignorant of the dark thick clouds of grief which were to obscure his particular path of firmament before night.

All day Bill and the monkey enjoyed themselves at the exhibition, the monkey especially being in high fettle on account of a toy balloon which his master has kindly bought for him. But after poor Jack again mounted the car to return home, and it had to in motion, by some mistake he slipped and fell, the car passed over him, and he was no more.

Bill was much upset by the shock of losing his little favorite, but he picked up the poor little body and it is rumored that Jack will be stuffed and will again be an ornament to the office."

Alas, after dabbling in politics poor Jack met with a sad and untimely demise. While the death was horribly sad (no monkey car seats I guess) I do admire the writing style of the article. As the second article mentions, Jack was indeed stuffed and hung in the window of the Farmers Hotel (Sinclair Inn Museum). If you look in the top left pane in the top image, you can make out the faint form of a monkey hanging in the window. While the original stuffed monkey has long since vanished, there was a modern incarnation of Jack which hung in the Sinclair Inn Museum window until last year. This monkey has now also departed.

All for now,

RGS

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