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Ella Ewing-The Missouri Giantess
 
     Miss Ella K. Ewing was born near LaGrange, Missouri on March 9, 1872 to Benjamin F. and Anna E. Herring Ewing. She developed like most children until the age of 7, when she started to grow at an alarming rate, due to an overactive pituitary gland. (Pituitary gigantism is when there is secretion of too much growth hormone before the end of adolescence, leading to excessive height, and is often caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland. Today this condition can often be corrected with medication or surgical intervention.) Soon she towered over her family and friends, having attained the height of 6' 10" by the age of 14. She reached her greatest height by age 22 at 8'4".
     In 1892, Miss Ella was invited to a Chicago museum, where people would pay 10¢ each to see her. She made $1000 a month, which she used to help support her parents and their farm back in Missouri. In 1897 she joined Ringling Brothers Circus, and toured the country in their sideshow. Through all her travels, she was known as a shy but pleasant person who never lost her beliefs in her family or her religious upbringing. But during her time on the road, she never showed anyone her size 24 shoes, and often wore excessive amounts of rings to help disguise her long fingers and hands.
     Her greatest desire was to be a wife and mother, neither of which she was able to attain. She used some of her earnings to build a house to accommodate her large size, having 10 foot ceilings and a 9 foot bed, as well as table and chairs where she could sit and eat in comfort. 
     Miss Ella contracted Tuberculosis, which was diagnosed in 1912, and succumbed to the disease on January 9, 1913. She wished to be cremated, but her father could not do that, so he had her casket placed in a vault, and than topped with cement, so that her body could never be exhumed. No autopsy was ever preformed. The Missouri Giantess, or The Gentle Giantess as she is sometimes known, was buried on January 13, 1913 at the Harmony Grove Cemetery in Knox County, Missouri. Her mother Anna died in Chicago in 1900, while her father Benjamin died of a stroke in the family home in 1933. Both are buried next to her in the Harmony Grove Cemetery.
     Il-Mo Entity Trackers had the pleasure to visit the Downing House Museum in Memphis, Missouri on a spring day in 2013. This museum houses many interesting pieces from Scotland County history, as well as many of the items that once belonged to Miss Ella. We enjoyed the day visiting with the curator of the museum, and took a lot of photos of the items, as well as some photos of photos. There were numerous articles to read regarding her life and her death. Unfortunately her house was destroyed by fire in 1967, but there were some pictures of the way it looked.
     We then traveled to the Harmony Grove Cemetery, where we were able to view the cemetery stones of not only Miss Ella, but of her parents. Reading the inscriptions, and seeing the way that the people of this area honored this amazing lady, was a very moving experience for our team. And the respect we have for this incredible lady is great. We create this page to honor her and her accomplishments, the way she was determined to help support her family, and her solid beliefs in God with which she was raised. To Miss Ella Ewing, this page is dedicated.
 
For more information regarding Miss Ella Ewing, you can visit the Downing House Museum in Memphis, Missouri. The Museum is open Tuesday to Friday, from 1PM to 4PM. The Museum is located at 311 S. Main, Memphis, Missouri, and you can call them at 660-465-2259. And while you are there, check out the other rooms to see the history of this northeast county, it is like taking a step back in time. You can visit the website by clicking here:   Downing House Museum 
 
For an article regarding her burial, and the construction of a casket to accommodate, and more related to the funeral, visit this website:  Gerth Funeral Service 
 
Some of the photos were taken by our team members, while some were obtained from internet searches. We intend no disrespect or copyright infringement to the owners of these photographs, and just wish to show Miss Ella for the person that she was.
 
 
The Downing House Museum, located in Memphis, Missouri.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Treasures await you inside this building, which houses many artifacts surrounding the history of this Northeast Missouri county.
 
 
Bed built especially to accommodate the height of Miss Ella.
It can be viewed at the Downing House Museum in Memphis, Missouri.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Miss Ella as a young girl.
 
Receipt for the shoe shown at the right, made and donated to The Missouri Museum Commission, which were exactly as made for Miss Ella Ewing.
 
The size 24 boot, made especially for Miss Ella.
 
 
Sign on the side of the red barn, visible when you arrive at the cemetery. The church had burned down, and has now been rebuilt, and is not the one standing when Miss Ella was buried in this cemetery.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The inscription on the top of the grave.
 
"In Memory Of Ella K. Ewing"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The final resting place of Miss Ella. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The other stone on the grave. The memorial made possible by the folks that knew Miss Ella. A very fitting memorial.
 
 
Stone for Miss Ella's father Benjamin, who died on the family farm in 1933 from a stroke.
 
Even though it is hard to read, this is the stone for Miss Ella's mother, Anna, who died in Chicago in 1900.
 

 
 
 
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