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Do you believe giants existed? I sure do!


Not only does the Bible talk about them, in particular one famous giant, Goliath, who was measured (according to an online measurement converter I used) at 9 foot 9 inches, but history itself tells of giants.


There is plenty of information out there about giants including reports of giant bones found, that allegedly disappeared once the Smithsonian (Institute?) claimed them. Some suggest there may have been giants as tall as 30+ feet!


Today I’m going to tell you about a married couple who were a little under 8 feet tall living in Seville, Ohio in the 1800s: Captain & Mrs. (Anna Swan) Martin Van Buren Bates.


Real-life Giants in Ohio (1800s)


I organized a small homeschool field trip for our homeschool club, and some friends to visit the Seville Historical Society in Seville, Ohio (a very small but quaint town) to learn about these giants.


I don’t want to tell you too much because you should go out there yourself if you want to see what we saw and hear what we heard! [I will also share some resource links at the end of this post.] I will tell you that we learned Mrs. Bates (Anna Swan, born in Nova Scotia) was the only one out of all her siblings to be born a giant. Her parents were average.


The Giants of Seville, Ohio


Capt. Bates was born average, I think, but grew and grew and grew…until the age of 28. You’ll see some of their details on the poster board in one of the the pictures above. He was a southern soldier in the Civil War, born in Kentucky.


They had two children who both died either at birth or shortly thereafter. Their youngest, a boy, is allegedly still the largest baby born on record. The historical society has a picture of the baby taken after his death as well as other pictures and items from the couple’s home.


Model home of Capt. & Mrs. Bates - the Giants of Seville, Ohio


The model home shown above is a replica of the Bates custom built home in Seville. Anna Bates passed away at the age of 41 in 1889 and Capt. Bates remarried – to an average sized woman and moved into a home in town. The original custom home of Anna and Martin was razed in 1948 but a barn still exists on the property with the name Bates spelled out in the shingles of the roof. The home that Capt. Bates and his second wife moved into can be seen down the road from the historical society.


An interesting note for the history buffs is that the home next to the historical society, the original part of the house which has been added to, was built in the 1700s – I think the early 1700s. I found that quite fascinating but due to the tremendous amount of rain we were dealing with and the size of our group I didn’t really get to take a good look at that home.


Also, due to the rain we did not visit the cemetery (just down the road from the historical society) to see where this giant couple and their son were buried nor did we drive out to the property to see the barn.


One day soon some of us may drive back out to see the parts we missed and to walk around the streets of Seville to do some shopping.


Visit the Seville Historical Society on Facebook for contact information. They are located at 70 West Main Street, Seville, Ohio and only open certain days and closed part of the year. Find the Village of Seville’s website here.


*Note: There are other websites sharing details about this couple and some of the details differ. For more information check out the links below.

~ Visit this link for a great large picture of the couple standing by “average” people.

~ At this link you’ll see a readable copy of a newspaper article from 1896 about the couple.

~ From the Seville Barber you can read about the Bates here, another image is included.

~ At this link you’ll find a report from 1948, the year the Bates’ home was razed.