Prominent Portraits. No. 4751. Major Charles Colvin, height 23 in., weight only 12 lbs. He is being held by the giantess Anna Swan.


446. The Giant and Dwarf.


Anna Swan, The “Nova Scotia Giant Girl,” 17 years old! weighs 379 pounds! 8 feet 1 inch high and still growing-the tallest girl ever known. Exhibiting at Barnum’s Museum, New York.


Mrs. Anna Bates, 8 feet tall. Anna Swan, the “Nova Scotia Giant Girl,” who married Captain M.V. Bates.

Anna Haining Bates (née Swan; August 6, 1846 – August 5, 1888), was a Canadian woman famed for her great stature of 7 feet 11 inches. Her parents were of average height and were Scottish immigrants.

Anna Swan was born at Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia. At birth she weighed 16 pounds. She was the third of 13 children, all of the others being around average height. From birth she grew very quickly. On her fourth birthday she was 4 feet 6 inches tall. On her 6th birthday she was measured again, and she stood 5 feet 2 inches tall, an inch or two  shorter than her mother. On her 11th birthday she stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 203 pounds. By her 15th birthday Bates was 7 feet tall. She reached her full height three years later. Her feet measured 14.2 inches long.

Swan excelled at literature and music and was considered to be very intelligent. She also excelled at her studies of acting, piano and voice. She played Lady Macbeth in one play. At one time, she nearly burned to death when Barnum’s museum was destroyed by fire. The stairs were in flames and she was too large to escape through a window. She did get help and escaped safely. She normally weighed 340 pounds. When visiting a circus in Halifax with which Martin Van Buren Bates — another enormously tall person — was travelling, Swan was spotted by the promoter and hired on the spot. The giant couple became a touring sensation and eventually fell in love and, on June 17, 1871, in St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, they married.

In 1872, Bates and her husband purchased 130 acres of land and had furniture made to their specifications. Martin supervised the construction of the house. The main part of the house had fourteen-foot ceilings, while the doors were extra wide and were eight feet tall. The back part of the house was built an average size for servants and guests.

Bates conceived two children with Martin. The first was a girl born on May 19, 1872; she weighed 18 pounds and died at birth. While touring in the summer of 1878, Anna was pregnant for the second time. The boy was born on January 18, 1879, and survived only 11 hours. He was the largest newborn ever recorded, at 23 pounds 9 ounces and nearly 30 inches tall; each of his feet was six inches long. For this he was posthumously awarded a Guinness World Record.

The Bateses resumed touring with the W.W. Cole Circus in the summer of 1879, and again in the spring of 1880. Bates spent her remaining years quietly on the farm that she and her husband owned. She had joined the local Baptist Church in 1877 and attended services with her husband.

Bates died suddenly and unexpectedly of heart failure in her sleep at her home on August 5, 1888, one day before her 42nd birthday.




Col. Routh Goshen, The Arabian Giant, 29 years old; 7 feet 10 inches high; weight 508 lbs. Born in Old Jerusalem. Carte is probably signed on verso in both Arabic and English. Routh Goshen, born Arthur James Caley (1824 – February 12, 1889) was most commonly known as Colonel Routh Goshen or the Arabian Giant or the Palestine Giant.


Col. Routh Goshen, The Arabian Giant, 29 years old; 7 feet 10 inches high; weight 508 lbs. Born in Old Jerusalem. Routh Goshen, born Arthur James Caley (1824 – February 12, 1889) was most commonly known as Colonel Routh Goshen or the Arabian Giant or the Palestine Giant.


Giant Monsieur E. Bihin. Jean Antoine Joseph Bihin (1805-1873). A native of Belgium, he grew to a height of between 6’8″ to 8′ feet (reports vary). Beyond this advantage, he could act and sing, and was a skilled strong man and comedian. After achieving fame touring fairs and circuses across western Europe, he moved to the U.S. in 1840. He worked at P.T. Barnum’s museum, where he once got into a fight with Colonel Goshen. Barnum interceded by demanding they save the altercation until there were time to properly promote it and sell tickets. Bihin also worked with Colonel Nutt in a 1862 production of the play Hop o’ My Thumb. 


Monsieur Joseph, Ex-officier de l’armee francaise. Ancient officer in the French Army. The most enormous Giant living. 8 feet 4 inches high. Weighing 400 pounds. Exhibiting at Barnum’s Museum, New York.


Capt. Martin Van Buren Bates.


615-Chang Woo Gow, the Chinese Giant, 8 feet 3 inches high.


Paris Exposition, 1900. Old Paris. The Giant.


The long and short of India at the Durbar-Cashmere Giant (7 ft. 9 in.) and Patiala midget (28 in.), Delhi. Photographer Ricalton stands in the view.


Mrs. A.H. Bates, Born August 6th, 1848. Height 7 feet 11 1/2 inches. Weight 413 Pounds. Capt. M. V. Bates, Born November 9th, 1845. Height 7 feet 11 1/2 inches. Weight 478 Pounds. The man on the right is Charles Eisenmann, the photographer.

Martin Van Buren Bates (November 9, 1837 – January 19, 1919), known as the “Kentucky Giant” was an American man famed for his great height. He was 7 ft 11 in. tall and weighed 475 lbs.

He began a big growth spurt at some time around the age of six or seven, and was over 6 ft. tall and weighed over 200 lbs. by the time he was twelve years old.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Bates joined the 5th Kentucky Infantry Confederate States Army, as a private, in 1861. His ferocity in battle and imposing figure saw him quickly promoted to the rank of captain. Bates was severely wounded in a battle around the Cumberland Gap area and captured and imprisoned at Camp Chase in Ohio, although he later escaped.

He returned to Kentucky after the war. Before the war, his first occupation was as a schoolteacher. While the circus was on tour in Halifax, Canada, the 7-foot-11-inch-tall Anna Haining Swan visited. She and Martin soon got to know each other, and were married in 1871. The highly publicized wedding, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, England, drew thousands of people to try to attend, due to both the uncommonness of the spectacle and the disarming good nature of the pair. Queen Victoria herself gave them two extra-large diamond-studded gold watches as wedding presents.

Martin and Anna moved to Ohio in 1872, settling in Seville. On 19 May 1872, Anna gave birth to a daughter, who weighed 18 lbs.and died at birth. The couple built a large house to accommodate themselves comfortably. He explains the next few years in his autobiography:

While in Ohio, I purchased a farm in Seville, Medina County. It consisted of 130 acres of good land. I built a house upon it designed especially for our comfort. The furniture was all built to order and to see our guests make use of it recalls most forcibly the good Dean Swift’s traveler in the land of Brobdingnag.

I had determined to become a farmer, so I stocked my farm with the best breeds of cattle, most of them being short horns. My draught horses are of the Norman breed.

My rest was not to last long, for the solicitations of managers, I consented to again travel. The seasons of 1878, 1879 and 1880 found us leading attractions of the W. W. Cole circus.

While we have during these years been blessed with many things, affliction again visited us in the loss of a boy, born on the 15th day of January, 1879. He was 28 inches tall and weighed twenty-three pounds and was perfect in every respect.

Anna Bates died on August 5, 1888. Martin ordered a statue of her from Europe for her grave, sold the oversized house, and moved into the town. In 1889 he remarried, this time to a woman of normal stature, Annette LaVonne Weatherby and lived a mostly peaceful life until his death in 1919 of nephritis.



Mr. and Mrs. Bates.


Anna Swan and Martin Van Buren Bates, husband and wife. The man on the right is Charles Eisenmann, the photographer.


The Three Sisters. Aama, the Giantess and Princess Josepha, Midget. The French giantess, Alma Bataillard (1876-1893) took the stage name of Lady Aama. Her advertised height was 8 feet, but in reality she was about 6′ 8.”


Col. Cooper, the English Giant.


Routh Goshen, born Arthur James Caley (1824 – February 12, 1889) was most commonly known as Colonel Routh Goshen or the Arabian Giant or the Palestine Giant. He was billed as the tallest man in the world at 7 ft, 11 inches (2.41 m) and 620 pounds (280 kg) but was most likely no more than 7 ft, 5 inches (2.26 m) and 400 pounds (180 kg). His true origins were kept secret from the public during his performance years in the United States and were obscured by the many apocryphal biographies that were created to publicize him. His actual origins came out slowly after his death. His birth name was Arthur James Caley and he was born on the Isle of Man in 1824. His fictional biographies said he was born in Jerusalem on May 5, 1837. After his retirement in the 1880s, he settled in Middlebush, New Jersey and gained the nickname the Middlebush Giant.


Chang-Yu-Sing, The Chinese Giant. Born at Pekin, 1847, Height over 8 Feet, Weight 26 Stone. Now with Barnum, Bailey & Hutchinson.


Unidentified Giant.


This is Karroo Mianko. Various unlikely stories surround him such as that he was born on the banks of the Congo River, or that he was a Sioux Indian. Age 19, Height 8 ft. 3 1/4″ weight 337 1/2 lbs.


Shields Brothers, the Texas Giants.


Robinson Bros. Iowa Giants, Height 7 ft, 11 in.


Shields Brothers, the Texas Giants.


Two of the Shields Brothers with unidentified gentleman.


The Cardiff Giant. Discovered at Cardiff, Oct. 16, 1869. Length of body 10 ft. 4 1/2 inches. Weight 2990. Written on verso is “Proved to be a facke [sic]. I saw it.”


Miss Swan, 8 ft. high 4 in.


Mrs. A.H. Bates and Capt. M.V. Bates. The man at right is the photographer Charles Eisenmann.


Louis Moilanen, Finlander Giant, 21 Years Old, Weight 480 lbs., Height 8 feet, 5 inches. The Largest Man in the World.


Henry Cooper & Wife. Henry Alexander Cooper (June 12, 1853 – Aug. 16, 1899) was hired by P.T. Barnum and called the Tallest Man in the World at 8 feet, 2 inches and 350 pounds.

error: Alert: Content is protected !!