Landon Middlecoff: The Kentucky Giant Boy

Apparently, a reference to Kentucky in one’s professional name possessed a kind of sideshow distinction back in the day. Heretofore we have written on Martin Van Buren Bates, the Kentucjy Giant and John Powers, the Kentucky Giant Fat Boy. The handle of Landon Middlecoff (1857-1885) seems to hearken back to back to both of those, in spite of the fact that he was born Tennessee, lived in Midland, Michigan, and died in Quincy Illinois. Middlecoff apparently spent a chunk of his youth in the Bluegrass state. By age 19, he was seven and a half feet tall and working dime museums throughout the country. In the early 1880s he played several seasons with W.W. Cole’s Circus. In 1884 he had a long term engagement at Peoria’s E.E. Piper dime museum, when TB got the better of him. He went to rest at a friend’s in nearby Quincy, where he died several months later.