Animals

Old Hickory and the Profane Parrot


#POTUS #AndrewJackson #parrot #profanity

President Andrew Jackson was a colorful character. That description applies to his career in the military, his presidency, and his personal life. As it turns out, it also applied to his pets.

Old Hickory retired to his home in Tennessee and kept a parrot as a pet. The bird was an excellent mimic. In addition to the words the President taught it, the parrot supplemented its vocabulary with words it heard uttered around the house.

The beloved parrot outlived its master. When Jackson was buried on the grounds of his home, the parrot was one of the mourners in attendance. Just as the funeral service was about to begin, however, the bird took the opportunity to offer a few words of its own. According to Rev. William Menefee Norment, who was presiding at the service,

“Before the sermon and while the crowd was gathering, a wicked parrot that was a household pet got excited and commenced swearing so loud and long as to disturb the people and had to be carried from the house.”

Rev. Norment observed that the bird was “excited by the multitude and … let loose perfect gusts of ‘cuss words.’” People were “horrified and awed at the bird’s lack of reverence.”

Granted, the experience wasn’t nearly as horrifying as the funeral of William the Conqueror, but it certainly left an impression on all who were in attendance.


Read more fun facts about Andrew Jackson.

Read how Edgar Allen Poe intended to immortalize a parrot.

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