Anna Bates was a Giant of a Woman


Anna Bates

Anna Haining Bates was born at Mill Brook, Nova Scotia, Canada. Everyone was surprised at the size of the newborn, who weighed 16 pounds. There were 13 children in her family, and all of them were of average height. Her Scottish immigrant parents were also of average height.

She Grew Quickly

After she was born, she grew rapidly over the years. When she was four years old, she measured 4′ 6″ tall. Two years later, on her 6th birthday, she stood at 5′ 2″ tall – at that time, she was two inches shorter than her mother. Then, on her 11th birthday, Anna stood at 6′ 2″ tall. She weighed 197 pounds. At age 15, the girl had reached 7′ tall. When she turned 18, Anna had reached her maximum height of 7′ 11″ tall. As an adult, she usually weighed 330 pounds. At one point in her life, she weighed 371 pounds. The young woman also had large feet, which measured 14.2 inches long.

Anna Had Many Interests

Anna was considered to be a very intelligent person. She particularly excelled in literature and music. She was also exceptional in acting, piano, and voice. Anna barely escaped death at one point when she nearly burned to death. She was at Barnum’s museum, which was destroyed by fire. The stairs were in flames. Anna was too large to escape through a window. Fortunately, she received help and safely escaped. 

She Joins The Circus

One day when she was visiting a circus in Halifax, she was noticed by the promoter of the circus. He hired her on the spot. Her future husband, Martin Van Buren Bates, was also a part of the circus. He was also a tall man measuring 7′ 11″. The giant couple became a touring sensation. They eventually fell in love and married in 1872.

Purchase Acreage

The couple purchased 130 acres of land. They had furniture built to their specifications. Martin supervised the building of the house. It had 14′ ceilings. The doors were extra wide and were 8′ tall. 

Anna Gives Birth

A year after they married, Anna gave birth to a baby girl. The baby weighed 18 pounds and died shortly after birth. Six years later, Anna was pregnant once again. The baby was the largest newborn ever recorded at 23 pounds 9 ounces. He was nearly 30 inches tall. His feet were six inches long. The boy died shortly after birth. 

Return To The Circus

The husband and wife resumed touring with the circus. In her later years, they remained living quietly on their farm. Anna joined the local Baptist Church and, together with her husband, attended the services. On August 5, 1888, one day before her 42nd birthday, Anna died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep at her home.

It is difficult to imagine a baby weighing 23 pounds. Anna must have been a very special woman!