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1926, March 21
Death Date for Che Mah - the World's Smallest Human
So that he will not be forgotten, I submit to you the following facts on: "A BIG MAN IN KNOX!" He was billed as the world's smallest human. A mere 28" tall. His name was CHE MAH. He was born on one of the Chusan Islands off the coast of China in 1838 to parents of normal size. It was there that agents of P.T.Barnum found him. He joined P.T. in 1881 where he was a main attraction for nearly 25 years. When he retired, rural Indiana reminded his of his native island & the seclusion of pastoral Starke County appealed to one grown weary of sideshow throngs. He tried farming near Eagle Lake, but he was so small that the harnessing of his plow horses, on a step-ladder, took most of the day. He gave up, sold his farm, and moved to Knox. Failure breeds despair and, in turn, loneliness. He had a woman named Nora Cleveland who kept house for him. He eventually married her, but divorced after 14 years claiming that she was not performing her 'wifely duties'. He was about 85 then. She was said to stand 5' 8" and weighed 200+ lbs. When Che Mah died on March 21, 1926 he was 88 years old. He was buried in a lead-lined casket on the highest point in Crown Hill Cemetery. His handsome polished granite headstone is fully two feet taller than he was. Not even the funeral of Henry F. Schricker brought as much notoriety to Knox that Che Mah's funeral attracted, even though Schricker was more esteemed throughout Indiana.
I have been fascinated by Che Mah since I first learned about him, as a child of 10 from Stella Bonner Klopot. I was born and raised in Knox. He is just one of a plethora of memories that I have about growing up in the 'boom' years of the 40's & 50's in Knox.
Submitted by: Robert Schwartz
from "South Bend Tribune Sunday Magazine," September 10, 1967
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events that have occurred in the city. Anyone who feels they have pertinent information may submit it. This includes all people in or out of Knox and could involve any interested adults or children with events or items that are of interest. Items may be submitted for publication on this page where they will remain as part of a historical archive for the city. Items of interest may include noteworthy events, special events of historical importance, information about area growth that pertains to the history of the city, and other pertinent notes. We hope to establish a large data base of information about the history of each city. Historical Societies are encouraged to open their own page on Key to the City for more extensive historical information.
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