Pets Hunters

The first service monkey?

When the Cape Government Railways opened the first railway line to Port Elizabeth from Cape Town during the later part of the 1800’s the town Uitenhage was established. The railway station became world renown when the local railway guard James Edwin Wide had a working baboon Jack the Signalman that assisted him in his daily tasks.

Wide had lost both legs in an accident when fell underneath a moving train. His determination and his perseverance forced him to make his own pegged-legs from a piece of wood that was strapped onto his lower half of his body. He also made himself a trolley with an intricate hand apparatus that made him a little more mobile.

Wide acquired a young baboon, named him Jack, and proceeded to train Jack to perform all the duties required to run the station. Not only did Jack get his monthly rations from the government but he also received an employment number.

During 1890 Jack got sick and contracted tuberculosis and died, Wide was inconsolable to the loss of his friend as they were inseparable. Jack’s skull is on display in the Albany Museum in Grahamstown.


(via Culture Dish)

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