Francis Joseph Flynn

"General Mite"

 

Above, Front and back of CARTE D'VISTE by J. Wood of General Mite from 1879-1880. A matching photo of Lucia Zarate was also made and will be posted shortly.

 

 

General Mite was exhibited with the famed Lucia Zarate at the Brighton Beach Bathing Pavilion in 1878-79. They later travelled together, appearing in dime museums for a while under the English empressario F.M. Uffner, both in the U.S. and England. Uffner later exhibited the giant Chang, and General Tiny Mite together, a pair of anomalies that recaptured the excitement of his earlier success.

From Gerald Drewicz:

General Mite’s real name was Francis Joseph Flynn. He was born on October 6th 1864, in Greene, New York.
At birth he weighed only 2 1⁄2 pounds. He was so tiny he could be completely covered by a quart cup. The baby clothes, that his mother had made for him were so large he could not wear them, and he had to stay wrapped up in a soft blanket until more could be made.
At nine months old he weighted 6 1⁄2 pounds, and when he reached the age of 11⁄2 years he weighed just 9 pounds. Francis was considered a great human curiosity, and people by the hundreds came to see him.


For Francis growing up was not easy. The world was a dangerous place for such a small person. His parents had kept him, as much as possible, in the house, out of danger and secluded from the world. His father bought a new dog to be Francis’s friend and companion. He was a fine black Newfoundland. His name was Jeff.
Jeff turned out to be more than just a faithful friend. He was a lifesaver. One day Francis was playing near the hog pen in the back yard of his family’s home. One of the hogs got out and came after him. Francis ran screaming as loud as he could. For a boy of his size, being trampled by a hog meant certain death. Jeff heard his cries, and ran to his friends defense, catching the hog by the neck and killing it. Without Jeff, Francis may never have become, General Mite.


By the age of 10 or 11 Francis’s parents had given up the idea of him ever growing to normal size. His father, Edward Flynn, was the first to exhibit him. In his 15 page Autobiography, "Life of General Mite", written in 1876, the then 12 year old General Mite describes himself as not growing "a particle" since he was 18 months old. He boasts about being able to put both his little feet into one of his not yet 2 year old brother’s shoes, and still button it all the way up.
He also writes "I am famous for being the smallest man in all the world. When I stand up beside my distinguished and generous friend, General Tom Thumb, my head just reaches the first button on his vest". A sight worth seeing, no doubt.


The General was billed as "A Human Miracle" and "Assuredly the Smallest Man in the World". His publicity describes him as being "remarkably handsome and perfect in form and feature". He is "bright, active and intelligent, and is the Greatest Wonder of the Nineteenth Century". On the back of one of his Cart-de-Visite photos it states that he is 16 years old, 22 inches in height and weighs only 9 pounds. His age however, may have been exaggerated in his advertisements in order to make him appear older and more like a full grown man.


In 1884 he married English midget, Millie Edwards, in England. The wedding was widely publicized and attended. From then on, the couple were exhibited as the "Royal American Midgets".

This page last updated March 19, 2006.

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