Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller
Date: September 22, 2023
This was one BIG Roadside Attraction. We visited the museum and gravesites of the world’s tallest married couple. Known as the “Kentucky Giant”, Martin Bates was 16 years old and very tall in 1861 when he joined the Confederate Army and rose to the rank of Captain. After the Civil War he became a schoolteacher then a sideshow performer as he had grown to 7 foot 9 inches tall and weighed 475 pounds. Anna Swan was 18 pounds at birth and was four feet tall by age four. Capturing the attention of P.T. Barnum, she worked in the sideshow and grew to be seven feet, eleven and a half inches tall and weighed 418 pounds.
Captain Bates and Swan were married in 1871in London and were showered with gifts from Queen Victoria. In 1872, Anna gave birth to an 18-pound daughter who died shortly after birth. In 1879, the couple gave birth to a 22-pound son who died in infancy.
The couple moved to Seville, Ohio and built a custom-made house with 8 ½ foot doorways and 14-foot ceilings. During summers, they would go on the road and tour with a circus and make fantastic money. The couple were billed as the “Tallest People on Earth”. Rosie and I visited their gravesites at Mound Hill Cemetery and then drove a half mile downtown to a house, serving as a museum for Swan.