Ella Ewing “The Missouri Giantess” (1872-1913)

Since discovering my own connection to the world of gigantism, I can’t help but notice any stories that I encounter that involve giants. I was watching the television show “Antiques Roadshow” and a woman had brought in a very large pair of slippers to get evaluated. The story was that they once belonged to a woman from her hometown named Ella Ewing. The antique specialist didn’t value the slippers very highly, but they caught my interest. A quick Wikipedia consult and I was able to learn quite a bit about Ella Ewing and how beloved she was in her hometown Gorin, Missouri. Like many giants, few jobs were available to her locally, but she was able to seek her fortune by being displayed as a circus sideshow, including time with the Barnum and Bailey Circus. She was also offered the amazing sum of $5000 to appear for five months at the Epstein Museum. It’s believed that she used the money to help her parents. When she became sick with tuberculosis late in her life, it is hard not to think of Charles Byrne when you read about how concerned she was that someone nefarious would steal her body. When she died, her father placed her coffin in a steel vault and encased it in concrete where it remains to this day in the Harmony Grove Cemetary in Gorin.