“The Greatest Show on Earth”
Paticipant Marquetta Brown came to the booth to reminisce about her earliest memory. At 3 years old, she was chosen to be the bride in Wetumka, Oklahoma’s reenactment of Tom Thumb’s wedding.
Tom Thumb weddings became a hit after circus showman P.T. Barnum discovered the 25 inch tall Charles Sherwood Stratton at the age of 4. By the time he was five, Stratton — using the stage name “General Tom Thumb” — was touring the U.S. singing, dancing, and impersonating Cupid and Napoleon Bonaparte.
On February 10, 1863 Tom Thumb, now 2 ft 9 in, married fellow little person Lavinia Warren (pictured on the right), and soon after, small towns across America were putting plays on of their wedding with children as the lead roles.
The tradition continued well into the 20th century. In 1928, Marquetta (pictured on the left) was chosen to play Lavinia because of her “curly hair, rosy cheeks, and rosy knees.” But don’t think those rosy caps were easy to come by. Marquetta’s mother applied blush to them daily.