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Eight And One Half Foot Beard Kept This Iowa Farmer Warm
Iowa farmer John Wesley Maine, who farmed in Page County, suffered from persistent chest colds as a young man trying to survive frigid Midwestern winters. A doctor told Maine that if he could keep his throat and chest warm, the problem might go away. At that point age 22 Maine started growing a beard and never shaved again. His family figures the beard must have been a good insulator because he lived to the ripe old age of 83.
When he died in 1921, Maine's beard measured 8 ft., 6 in. To keep it from getting in the way, he wrapped it around a small piece of cardboard and tucked it into his shirt. Mary Tucker, Bloomfield, Mo., who is Maine's great granddaughter, says the long beard was once featured in Ripley's Believe It Or Not and Maine occasionally went on exhibit at county fairs. "Great Grandad never enjoyed show business, however, because customers continually pulled on his beard to see if it was real," says Mary.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #6