Anna Haining Bates was a giant woman who toured with traveling circuses in the mid-19th century. She was 7’5½” tall, though family records indicate that she did eventually reach 8 feet. She also weighed 350 lbs, though at her heaviest she reached 413 lbs. She was hired on the spot when she was seen in the audience at a circus. She met her husband at the circus, a 7’11” tall man named Martin van Buren Bates.
When the Bates couple got married and wanted to start a family, they specially constructed a giant house with tall ceilings and wide doors. Sadly, their only two kids were am 18-lb stillborn and a 23-lb baby boy that only survived for 11 hours. Doctors had a hard time delivering their son; Anna was in labor for 36 hours, the baby wasn’t coming out, and his head was too big to grab with forceps.
Bates was once caught in a fire at P.T. Barnum’s museum. Since the stairs were on fire, and the window was too small, museum employees had to smash the walls to get her out. In their later years, she and her husband became active members of their church, and had to have a specially designed pew to accommodate their large sizes.
19 Interesting Facts