We have always heard of the tallest persons in China and other parts of the world but hardly any reference to persons of African origins. This is the story of the tallest man from Africa, someone who has been hidden from the Western world.
John William Rogan (February 16, 1865 – September 12, 1905) is one of 17 known people in medical history to reach a height of 8 feet (2.44 m) or more and also the second tallest person ever recorded, after Robert Wadlow.
Rogan, the son of William Rogan, a former slave, was born in Hendersonville,Tennessee on February 16, 1865. He was the fourth of twelve children. The identity of his birth mother remains unknown. He began to grow very rapidly at the age of 13, leading to ankylosis.
Already accustomed to walking only with the aid of crutches, by 1882, he could not stand or walk at all. By 1899, he had grown to a height of 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m) and often appeared in newspapers, referred to as the “Negro giant”. He got around on a cart he had made for himself that was pulled by goats. Although he was unable to perform physical labor, he made a living by selling portraits and postcards of himself at the train station.
Rogan’s hands measured 11 inches (28 cm) in length and his feet measured 13 inches (33 cm) in length. He continued to grow until his death; his exact height was not measured until after his death. At that time he measured 8 ft 9 in (2.67 m) tall, but weighed only 175 pounds (79 kg), making him the tallest person of African descent, and the second tallest person ever recorded.
Rogan died on September 12, 1905 from complications of ankylosis. He was buried in the family yard under solid concrete to prevent anyone from exhuming and examining his body.