General Tom Thumb

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Charles Sherwood Stratton

Also Known As: "Tom Thumb", "General Tom Thumb"
Birthplace: Bridgeport, CT, United States
Death: July 15, 1883 (45)
Bridgeport, CT, United States
Place of Burial: Bridgeport, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Sherwood Edward Stratton and Cynthia Stratton
Husband of Lavinia Warren, Little Queen of Beauty
Father of Minne Stratton

Occupation: Famous circus performer
Managed by: Scott David Hibbard
Last Updated:

About General Tom Thumb

(WIKIPEDIA): General Tom Thumb was the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton ... a midget who achieved great fame under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.

EARLY LIFE: Stratton was a son of a Bridgeport, Connecticut carpenter named Sherwood Edward Stratton, son of Seth sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Sherwood married his fist cousin Cynthia Thompson, daughter of Joseph Thompson and Mary Ann Sharpe. Charles Stratton's maternal and paternal grandmothers, Amy and Mary Ann Sharpe, were allegedly small twin girls born upon 11 July 1781 / 83 in Oxford, New Haven, Connecticut. Born in Bridgeport to parents who were of medium height, Charles was a relatively large baby, weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces (4.14 kg) at birth. The parents were without any concerns as he developed an grew normally for the first six months of his life, at which point he was 25 inches (64 cm) tall and weighed 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Then he stopped growing. His parents became concerned when, after his first birthday, they noticd he had not grown at all in the previous six months. They showed him to a relative who served as their family doctor, who offered little hope that the child would ever reach a normal height. By late 1842, Stratton had not grown an inch in height or put on a pound in weight from when he was six months old. Apart from this, he was a totally normal, healthy child. His parents were reportedly embarrassed by the fact of his diminutive stature. Stratton, however, had several siblings who were of average size.

UNDER BARNUM: At this time, P.T. Barnum heard about Stratton and after reassuring his parents, taught the boy how to sing, dance, mime, impersonate famous people, and perform. Barnum also went into business with Stratton's father, who died in 1855. Barnum was actually a distant relative (half fifth cousin, twice removed). In 1843, at the tener age of five years old, Tom Thumb made his first tour of America, with routines that included imperonating characters such as Cupid and Napoleon Bonaparte as well as singing, dancing and comical banter with another performer who acted as a straight man. It was a huge success and the tour expanded.

A year later, Barnum took young Startton on a tour of Europe making him an international celebrity. Stratton appeared twice before Queen Victoria. On one occasion, Stratton ws attcked by Queen Victoria's pet poodle after a performance at Buckingham Palace. To someone of Stratton's size, the dog would have seemed a large and threatening animal. He also met the three-year-old Prince of Wales, who would become King Edward VII, and shook hands with him. The Prince, who was of average height hor his age, towered over Stratton. This tour was a huge success and crowds mobbed him wherever he went. Stratton was also given his own carriage to travel in. It made vast amounts of money for both Barnum and Stratton's family. Later after touring England, he and his wife both toured together in Europe as well as Japan.

In 1847 he finally started to grow for the first time since the first few months of his life, but with extreme slowness. In January 1851 Stratton stood exactly 2 feet 5 inches tall. On his 18th birthday, he was measured at 2 feet 8 and a half inches tall. Stratton became a Freemason on October 1, 1862. Stratton, by now an inch under 3 foot tall, was sworn in with a man 6 feet 3 inches tall.

MARRIAGE AND LATER LIFE: Stratton's marriage on February 10, 1863, to another person of similar height, Lavinia Warren, became front-page news. The wedding took place at Grace Episcopal Church and the wedding reception was held at the Metropolitan Hotel. The couple stood atop a grand piano in New York City's Metropolitan Hotel to greet some 2,000 guests. The best man at the weddigng was George Washington Morrison ("Commodore") Nutt, another dwarf performer in Barnum's employ. The maid of honor was Minnie Warren, Lavinia's even smaller sister. Following the wedding, the couple was received by President Lincoln at the White House.

Under Barnum's management, Stratton became a wealthy man. He owned a house in he fashionable part of New York and a team yacht, and he had a wardrobe of fine clothes. He also owned a specially adapted home on one of Connecticut's Thimble Islands. When Barnum got into financial difficulty, Stratton bailed him out. Later, they became business partners. Stratton made his final appearance in England in 1878.

On January 10, 1883, Stratton was staying at the Newhall House in Milwaukee when a fire broke out, which Milwaukee historian John Gurda would call "one of the worst hotel fires in American history." More than 71 people died, but Tom and Lavinia were saved by their manager, Sylvester Bleeker. Six months later, Stratton died suddenly of a stroke. He was 45 years old, 102 cm (3 feet 4 inches) tall and weighed 32 kg (70 pounds). He had become portly in the last years of his life and by the time of his death, he looked quite different from the tiny and slim person he was from his discovery up to the early 1870's. It seemed that he had never fully recovered from his narrow escape from the hotel fire. Over 10,000 people attended the funeral, P.T. Barnum purchased a life-sized statue of Tom Thumb and placed it as a grave stone at Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Lavinia Warren is interred next to him with a simple grave stone that reads, "His Wife."

It is very likely that Stratton's extreme shortness was caused by damage to, or the malfunctioning of, his pituitary gland. X-rays were not discovered until 1895, 12 years after Stratton's death. It wasn't untl 1915 that it was determined that the pituitary gland was responsible for the production of human growth hormone. However, during Startton's lifetime, no one was able to determine the underlying cause of his growth problems.

General Tom Thumb was the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton (January 4, 1838 – July 15, 1883), a dwarf who achieved great fame as a performer under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.

Ancestry of General Tom Thumb - Dwarf Circus Performer <>

Anthony Thompson and his two brothers William and John are often said to be sons of Henry Thompson and Dorothy Hony of Lenham, County Kent, England. This claim has since been refuted.

Ancestor of Charles (TOM THUMB) Stratton

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General Tom Thumb's Timeline

January 4, 1838
Bridgeport, CT, United States
December 5, 1863
CT, United States
July 15, 1883
Age 45
Bridgeport, CT, United States
Mountain Grove Cemetery, Bridgeport, Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States