Grave of Beautiful Jim Key – Shelbyville, Tennessee - Atlas Obscura

Grave of Beautiful Jim Key

Shelbyville, Tennessee

Known by many as once the world's smartest horse.  


This is the final resting place of the Educated Horse known as Beautiful Jim Key. The grave site promotes kindness to animals, as Jim Key was trained with patience and was never whipped.

His tomb stands alone in a field right behind a private residence where his remains were relocated in 1967 from the original William Key property in nearby Shelbyville, Tennessee.

The horse was trained and owned by Dr. William Key a former slave, self-taught veterinarian, and patent medicine salesman. Jim was one of the most famous celebrities in the world from the late 1890s until the early 1900s. He could spell his name using alphabet blocks and solve math problems using numbered blocks.

The site also has a marker commemorating Key and Albert Rogers, Beautiful Jim Key’s promoter, although neither is buried here with the horse.




Know Before You Go

This plot is easily visible from the Highway. Free to visit, limited parking. The homeowners in front of the grave site don't seem to mind visitors, as flowers and several items have been left behind left. Be mindful and respectful of the private residence, and enjoy the peaceful and serene monument.

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December 5, 2022

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