Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Tall Cowboy



Known simply as "Tex", Ralph E. Madsen, born in 1897, grew to be 7'6" and was considered the tallest man in the United States at that time. He spent most of his life on a ranch in Texas, acquired veterinary skills and was an authority on horses, sheep, cows and pigs. He eventually traveled to every state, Mexico and Canada, always accompanied by his beloved miniature horse. He attempted to join the Army in both the U.S. and Canada, but was turned down due to his size.

Mr. Madsen traveled to Washington, D.C. in 1919, when he was 22 and was photographed shaking hands with Senator Morris Sheppard on the steps of the Capitol. He appeared in three films in Hollywood, playing a giant each time. A good natured man, who was described as "laughing with the world", he was quoted as saying "We don't have to die to go to heaven, we can enjoy this world, we are not so sure of the next."

Photo courtesy of the Harris & Ewing Collection in the Library of Congress.

2 comments:

High Desert Diva said...

I like his take on life.

I've got a Sheppard featured today via the Library of Congress, too.

Ann said...

Does he have the Marfan syndrome? My second girl at 14 was growing very tall, the school nurse refereed her to the hospital and we had to go. The doctor said they worried she had Marfan syndrome. But seeing my husband who is almost 6 ft, told us not to worry. Now she is 5' 9".