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This week in the Civil War for January 5, 1864

Henry Clay Thurston: Tallest Confederate


Henry Clay Thruston was born on 4 May 1830 in Greenville, S.C.. He grew to 7 feet, 2 inches. Although often a height of up to 7 foot 7 and a half inches is attributed to him, photographic evidence  indicates a peek height of 7 foot and 2 inches.

Thruston and his family, which included four brothers who all over 6 foot tall, moved to Missouri, where he spent his early years. In 1850 he went to California for a while, coming home to Missouri via the Isthmus of Panama. At 23 he married Mary Thruston, a distant cousin. They would have four children.

When the Civil War broke out, Thruston joined the Confederate Army, serving as a private under Col. John Q. Burbridge in the 4th Missouri Cavalry. Thruston became a prisoner of war late in the conflict, but did not spend long in confinement, gaining parole at Shreveport, LA in June 1865.

After the war, Thruston reunited with his family in Missouri and migrated southwest to Texas, stopping when he got to Titus County. He bought 100 acres east of Mount Vernon and spent most of the rest of his life farming. He also toured with Barnum and Bailey circus at this time.

Thruston died on Friday, July 2 1909, 79 years old. His gravestone lists his year of death as 1911, but this is seen as an ingraver's mistake.

Source: The Tallest

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