Angus MacAskill (7’ 9”) and Parson Taylor (6’ 5”)
In 1981, the Guinness Book of World Records listed Angus MacAskill as the tallest and strongest natural giant who ever lived, meaning that his size did not result from a medical condition.
Angus was born in Scotland in 1825, but moved with his family when he was a child to Englishtown during the Highland Clearances. When Angus hit puberty, his growth accelerated and he eventually attained a height of 7 feet, 9 inches’ and weighed over 400 pounds.
Angus was also extraordinarily strong, and his growing fame came to the notice of P.T. Barnum, who hired him to join his travelling circus. Starting at the age of 24, Angus travelled extensively with Barnum’s circus, entertaining audiences throughout North America and Europe with his feats of strength. He eventually came to the notice of Queen Victoria, who invited him to give a demonstration at Windsor Castle for the Royal Family.
After retiring from show business, Angus returned home to Cape Breton and bought a grist mill and general store, which he operated for a number of years. He became quite sick on a business trip to Halifax and was diagnosed with brain fever. Angus returned home to be nursed by his parents, but died a week later, in 1863.
Some of his personal effects may be seen at the Giant MacAskill Museum in Englishtown.