Sim D Kehoe
Previous to the introduction of Indian Clubs into the United States, Sim D Kehoe was extensively engaged in the manufacture and sale of Gymnastic apparatus. This well known entrepreneur of physical culture had done much toward the conversion of the people of the United States to the advantages of muscular development, to enjoy a resting-spell from the cares and fatigues of business made a visit to Europe in June, 1861, returning in September of the same year.
During his stay abroad he visited all the principal cities of England and Ireland, and thoroughly acquainted himself with everything related to sports and exercises among the English athletes.
On the occasion of seeing Prof. Harrison, of London a well known English Professor of Gymnastics using mammoth war clubs, he thought there must be something in it, and determined upon introducing it into the United States upon his return home. Prof. Harrison was then considered the strongest man in England, and the Queen was so pleased with his extraordinary skill in the use of these Clubs, that she presented him with an elegant vase.
On Sim D.Kehoe’s return to the United States, he collected his ideas, and with ingenuity and experience, devised a model club, far superior to those used by Harrison, both in an ornamental and from a useful point of view.
Sim D. Kehoe’s determination to make the Indian Club an American institution was rewarded by a success beyond his expectations. His order book listed the names of distinguished generals, statesmen, lawyers, and clergymen, to whom he has supplied Indian Clubs. From here the Indian Club was popularised and became an important part of Muscular Christianity, finding its way into church and community halls, where Indian Club swinging was practiced as a group exercise at the height of it’s popularity.
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