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THE STORY OF A GIANT

The following history of a remarkable man, whlolpwe oomplfe from • sketoa published m a Michigan journal many years ago, tends to shovr that, notwithstanding the almost universal desire Joe unusual gifts, it is, after all, the dead leyel vrbloh is the g-V-, since even pbyileil strength And noble proportions, . when In txcees, may so oatrao'za and set apatt a m»n ai to make his pre-eminence positive drawback to him, The first reoord we have of Oharlra Freeman, the subject of this sketch, la that be appeared among other laborer* on a western canal about the year 1840, wheri his extraordinary rrebgth and stature »t---traoted muoh attention. Freeman Is said to. have been at that time eight feet tall and to have measured three feat aorosa the shoulders. Hts.armi where they sprang from hit cheat wete m large aa a medium a'zad man's body, and they tspered down to a haod not less than three lnoheß m thickness, while his fist oou'.d only be ompared to a sledge* hammer la sfz i and strength. . Bia age was then 17 years and he wai still growing In bulk. He rooelved the wages of an ordinary workman, but nil enormous strength made him a most 'destructive one. Snoh a Titan should have giant tools made on pnrpoae for htm, ior whoa he aoz-id an ordiutry shovel It went through the o'.ay Uke a b?e%klng-np pKu?h, abd the handle soon osme off If, 'ho bl-di held. An ordinary axe wai » f e&ther m h(a hand •, It sank to the eye ia the wood and tho helve splintered. He seemed quite lcoapsble of measuring the force he laid out, like ordinary' men. Wat nbe stood among a gang of laborers . the contrast made them look like children. The strolling Indians would stare -at him ' m amsajmsnt.a few inoaeats, ; and then with a deep, ' Ugh,' would hasten ont of sight as rapidly. aa their dignity would, permit;. ■' ■:•■<■■:■- ■■'■.;'.:■■■■■->:.* He wai pat to do tho work of two pain of oxen ; to remove the trunks of trees, out m lengths of tea or twelve feet, ont of the way of the diggers. He did not dr»g them aside as oxen would have done, but, potting his right band under the end of the log, raising it from the ground, then balanolng it aorons hli left forearm, he shot it far ont to one side with all the ease that a skilful workman piles split cord wood. And thus, day after day, the giant worked until the ctnal was finished* Freeman's next appearance was on the . boats that plied along the Huron Rlver t m Mlohlgan, where be was at onoe engine and tackle to handle heavy freight. What other men coald not shove or roll he would plok up and carry, or perhaps tost. When the heavily freighted boat atuok on the ripples he often stepped ont of the stern and pushed It over. The oreir would scarcely have been surprised if he had taken both boat and cargo under bia arm and marched aoroea by land when they came to long bends m the river.

It was cob long after this time thafc> some sporting men nnfortnnately heard of this uncelebrated' giant, and concluded that there was ' money In him.' Freeman was as simple as a child. He lacked ambition, had no desire to exhibit or push himself, and possessed a most amiable disposition* Anyone oould lead him, and he never appeared to realise that he wm In any remarkable. This Innocence was taken advantage of by these sharpen, who determined to torn bis prodigious powers to their personal advantage. Accordingly he was persuaded to aooompany them to the eastern states, under promjse of far more profitable employment. It is not strange that In such company the good-natured giant noon fell Into bad habits. Unfortunately giants are only men, and the gamblers who captured poor freeman made sport of him as the Philistines made sport of the helplest Samson, . :

Ie Is related that at Buffalo they sent him Into a dook saloon with a 1600 pound anchor under his arm, maob as a chopper carries bis axe, to pawn It for drink*. Ha ■ got the liquor and the barkeeper wai glad * to treat him for carrying the anchor out again. The giant's new friends soon travelled to the sea ooast and finally sailed for England* ' They Intended to get the advantage of some English champion, but they found they had an elephant on their handi ,

A friendly sparring matoh, »a an experiment, with a professional boxer, showed that for Freeman a matoh with any living pugilist was impossible. The giant's faoa could not be effectually reached. Blows on his body might ai well have been planted on a sandbtg,; while hit blows were given with the force of a pile-driver, and no matter what they met, the obstacle went to the earth.

By their use of representing him a« largo and ntrong, but wholly Ignorant of the aolenoe, his baokers finally sncoeeded In making a matoh. with a noted priza-fighter: The parties oame on the ground, but at : the first sight of Freeman, his opponent turned away, saying: 'I oame to fight; with a large man, not with a mountain.' The seoonda and referees thereupon deolared the matoh fairly * off. 1 And now the unluoky giant beoame ? aware of the worthleasness of hts mercenary friends. While there wai a proipeot that he oould win fortunes for them they had lured him far away from his horns and his few humble friends] but now;, finding that no money was to be made, they basely left him «lone In a strange land, without friends or resources. From MlohlgaD to Liverpool the style of living had bean entirely new to the simply and temperately-reared oountryman. Intemperance, late hours, and ' recklessness bad undermined his health and a pulmonary trouble was developed* His enormous strength soon failed him, and, unoared for and helpless, he shortly after died of consumption; At this time probably no human being knows his resting place. ; Daring Freeman's entire life no refining Influence oame near him : no one tried to enlighten and beautify the mind and sonl which mlght'have Informed and irradiated his splendid body. So perished la hfs prime perhaps the moat magnifiosnt speol-aen of physical manhood that tht United States has ever produoed.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890411.2.20

Bibliographic details

THE STORY OF A GIANT, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2104, 11 April 1889

Word Count
1,062

THE STORY OF A GIANT Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2104, 11 April 1889

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