If you are one of 20 children, you need something to set yourself apart. Edouard Beaupré did it by growing to 8 feet 2 ½ inches. Born in 1881 in Willow Bunch in Saskatchewan, Canada, he reached 7 feet 1 inch by the time he turned 17. As a teen, he was a skilled equestrian who dreamed of becoming a cowboy. Sadly, it was impossible; his legs soon touched the ground even when he was astride the tallest horse. Calling himself the “Willow Bunch Giant,” he turned to the circus to make a living. He toured North America, taking on challengers in wrestling matches and performing feats of strength. His showstopper was lifting 900-pound horses over his shoulders or head.
After contracting tuberculosis, Beaupré died in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. His father arrived from Canada to retrieve the body, but the expense of shipping his son home was too great. Beaupré’s father hoped the circus would bury his son. It didn’t. Rather, it embalmed Beaupré and put him on display. Three years later, the University of Montreal claimed the body for medical research. Relatives convinced the university to cremate the body in 1989.
Subsequently, an urn carrying the Willow Bunch Giant’s ashes was buried in his hometown in 1990.