Blog: Monkeying around Bessie Street (09/20/22)

In early August, I used an Out of the Past article about a squirrel monkey that escaped from its owner in Capaha Park in 1972.

A day or two later, I received a phone call from a woman who told me she remembered the incident well, as she was young at the time and lived in the area. She asked for a copy of the 1972 article.

The Missourian actually carried three articles about the wandering monkey, as well as a photograph. The unidentified photographer shot nearly an entire film role of the pet and his Bessie Street admirers. I have included a few at the end of this blog.

Posted August 7, 1972 in southeastern Missouri:

The little monkey that has been trotting around Bessie-Franklin Street since Saturday is taking a nap high in a maple tree this morning. (Southeastern Missouri Archive)


Monkeys take place in the Bessie-Franklin Street neighborhood. A small, foot-long monkey keeps coming back to a maple tree in the yard of Mrs. John X. Johnson, 1513 Bessie, and won’t leave.

The gray squirrel monkey with a long tail was first spotted Saturday night by George T. Rasmussen, 1524 Bessie. Knowing his story would not be believed, he said nothing until she was seen again on Sunday evening – this time by Miss Mary Jo Johnson, 1513 Bessie, in the front yard maple.

Attempts to catch the monkey were unsuccessful.

Kenneth Hahs, an employee of Sunny Hill Garden and Pet Center, Inc., tried out Sunday night. Alfred Jones, 1509 Bessie, got a little closer when he stuck a banana on a fishing rod. The monkey grabbed the banana, but could not be attracted.

Cape Girardeau police say the animal belongs to Mike Parker, of East Cape Park, Illinois, who lost it Saturday night in Capaha Park. Mr. Parker can’t catch his stray pet either.

Swinging, crawling or walking, the monkey somehow made his way down Broadway on Saturday night to a drive-in where he was given treats. It is also fed by residents of the Bessie-Franklin area.

The monkey appears to have a temporary home and was at noon today still running elusively around the neighborhood.

Posted August 8, 1972 in southeastern Missouri:

MONKEY — The foot-long gray squirrel monkey that has been frolicking in the Bessie-Franklin Street neighborhood since Saturday night is still up to the task. This morning the monkey stole a peach from a cage meant to catch it. Neither owner Mike Parker, East Cape Park, Illinois, who lost the animal at Capaha Park, nor neighbors were able to catch the elusive little creature.

Posted August 15, 1972 in southeastern Missouri:


The lost gray squirrel monkey that had been hanging around the Bessie-Franklin Street neighborhood for several weeks was captured late Monday afternoon after a 17-day chase.

Police say they received a report from Ms. BD Grim, 151 S. Minnesota, late Monday afternoon that a monkey was attacking a dog. When officers arrived, they found the elusive little animal in a pen with the dog.

The monkey’s owner, Mike Parker, of East Cape Park, Illinois, was contacted and retrieved his monkey.

According to Ms Parker, who would rather ‘just have the monkey stay lost’, the new pet jumped out of her car on July 28 in the 300 block of Henderson and escaped through a guy rope. The monkey was found nearly three kilometers from where it fled.

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