Charles Sherwood Stratton better known as General Tom Thumb was born on January 4, 1838 in Bridgeport, Connecticut to Seth Sherwood Stratton and Amy Sharpe. Charles Sherwood Stratton was given the name Tom Thumb due to his height. By the age of around, he had stopped growing, stood around twenty-five inches in height, and weighed fifteen pounds.
Phineas Taylor Barnum, a relative, heard about Stratton and asked him if he wanted to join his show where he played characters such as Cupid, Napoleon Bonaparte and was even able to sing. Stratton toured the world as Tom Thumb and was able to meet the Prince of Wales, and King Edward VII. How many celebrity midgets are there in history?
All this happened because Stratton was abnormally short. It was believed he had a form of dwarfism but it was never researched medically. If he weren’t short, he wouldn’t be having all this adventure. Everyone was amazed at how short he was that he became part of the American sideshow.
By 1851, General Tom Thumb stood two feet five inches high. On October 3, 1963, Stratton became a freemason, and stood now two feet, eleven inches high.
He might and been a small man, but with the help of Barnum, he became very wealthy, and he managed his money wisely. Stratton soon became business partners with Barnum. He purchased a home in the Thimble Islands, in Branford, CT, and had a home in New York for him and his wife.
By the age of 45, Stratton stood three feet four inches high and seventy-one pounds, he had a stroke. Barnum had a life-sized statue of Tom Thumb placed at Mountain Grove Cemetery in Bridgeport, where he was buried, next to his wife.
Stratton led an extraordinary life due to his height and Barnum’s imagination. It is not often you get such opportunities at such a young age. He relives every time someone goes to see the play, Barnum. He is the one who reminds us that bigger is not always better.