The Willow Bunch Giant
January 9, 1881 - Édouard Beaupré was born on this day. He was the oldest of 20 children born to his Canadian family.
Until the age of 3 Beaupré was a perfectly normal kid. But in the following 20 years he would grow rapidly into one of the world's tallest men.
By age 9 he was 6 feet tall. By 17 he was over 7 feet!
Unable to pursue his dream of being a cowboy (he was too big for the horses), Beaupré turned to the freak show circuit as a way to support his family. Billed as the "Willow Bunch Giant," he would become a star attraction in the Barnum & Bailey Circus. A typical act included Beaupré crouching under a horse and lifting it completely off its feet.
His health began to fail when he reached his twenties. He died of complications of tuberculosis in 1904 while in St. Louis for the World's Fair. At the time of his death, Beaupré measured 8 feet 3 inches tall.
Unable to afford the transportation of his son's massive corpse, the body was embalmed and put on display in a museum. It eventually found its way into the collection of the University of Montreal where it remained for over 80 years.
In 1975 a nephew of Beaupré tracked down his uncle's body and started the process of bringing him home. Finally, in 1990 Édouard Beaupré was laid to rest in Willow Bunch.