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‘Giant’ and ‘Mite’ both lived in McCleary 75 years ago

The following article was originally printed June 29, 1939 in The Vidette, citing a recent issue of the Tacoma Times.

What appears to be the most phenomenal occurrence of its kind in the medical history of the world may transform the town of McCleary, Grays Harbor County, 49 miles southwest of Tacoma, into a scientific laboratory.

For there, among the population of only 1,200 persons, was born the world’s shortest man and an 18-year-old boy who may be the world’s tallest man.

Major Mite, for years with the Ringling circus as the littlest man on earth, was born in McCleary 30 years ago. Although a Spaniard born more recently now claims to be shorter, the McCleary man keeps the title.

Today, in the same rugged town of the Pacific Northwest, grows a good-natured high school boy, who is nearing the eight-foot mark and still “going strong.” He is Cecil Boling.


The odds against either of them having been born in a town as small as McCleary were 1-to-1,500,000, and the odds against both of them having been born in the same place were almost beyond possibility — 1-to-2,750,000,000,000.

Yet it appears to have happened!

And the villagers go right on about their business as though the most exciting event that ever occurred there was a break in the town water main.

Boling, who is four times as tall as his famous fellow townsman, Major Mite, now measures 7 feet, 4 inches. He eats three times as much food as other youths of his age and has clothing made to order. Although he can button himself into the largest standard size shirt, the sleeves hit him just short of the elbows.


“Primo,” as he is called by the folks in McCleary, is admired by the older persons and is one of the best liked boys in the community among fellow youths.

In nearby Elma High School, where he finished his junior year this month, Primo is regarded as an average student. He especially likes music and plays saxophone and trumpet in the school orchestra. His long hands are nicely proportioned, and he is nimble-fingered.

When he was 8 years old, Boling began growing so rapidly that his parents, Mr. and Mrs. L.O. Boling, decided to dress him as a twin to their other son, who is three years older. But Mrs. Boling related smilingly how he towered over his brother “almost overnight.”


At the old McMillan service station, the fast-growing youth stood against a door casing each month, while the progress of this height was marked. Sometimes he grew an inch a month. A ladder of marks soon extended over the top of the casing.

Doctors reported Boling’s growth is glandular and in reverse of that of Major Mite. But the folks in this community like to believe it is something special in the McCleary soil. They hope to see him outgrow Robert Wadlow, the tallest man ever known, who is three years older than Boling and measures 8 feet, 8 inches.

When the writer called on Primo in his McCleary home, it was early in the evening, but the boy had already gone to bed. He was scheduled to play in a six-piece dance band the next night, and he was making sure he had enough sleep.

The next day, he explained that his greatest ambition is to play in a big time dance band. And, after that, he would like to have a band of his own, made up of tall men.

“I would call it the biggest band on earth,” he smiled.

When Primo has his saxophone or his trumpet in hand, he can swing it with the best of them. He is particularly adept with the “Twelfth Street Rag.”

In all things, except his height, he is an average boy. But with Major Mite and Primo Boling graduates of its soil, the lumbering town of McCleary does not seem to be content with growing them average in this respect.