Sunday, April 24, 2016

Today -100: April 24, 1916: Of giants and cork legs

Slow news day in this Easter Monday newspaper, but events are a-brewing.

Headline of the Day -100: 

“Cork leg” is a term for any artificial leg. Lt. Theodore Marburg Jr. lost a leg flying for the British Aviation Corps over France. He is the son of the pre-war US ambassador to Belgium. Since his amputation he’s married a Belgian countess, as one does.

Barnum & Bailey’s giant, “Hugo,” who was 8’4” and 536 pounds (just a week ago we reported he was best man at a midget wedding), dies at 47. He is actually a recent hire, replacing a previous 8-foot  “Hugo,” actually his brother, who returned home to Italy. You have to rotate your giants or they get uneven. Hugo II’s best friend in the circus, supposedly, was another Italian, Count Paucci, who is... you’re way ahead of me, aren’t you?... the world’s smallest man, at 24 inches.

Also dead, George Pilson, the last survivor of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry in 1859. Oh, I’ve looked him up, and he was there but wasn’t not a raider himself like the obit says. That from this list of last survivors of historical events, which is fun. Although, seriously, the “last suffragette,” however they’re defining that, was called Ruth Dyk? And the last witness to Robert E. Lee’s surrender, as well as the last surviving Confederate soldier (d.1951), was named Pleasant Crump?

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