Knox College Library

Special Collections & Archives

Henry "High Boy" Johnson

An article from the Moline newspaper describes Henry's Johnson's visit to that city:

HIGH-BOY ATTRACTS ATTENTION

Galesburg's Colored Giant Is Viewed
With Interest at Moline

Henry 'High Boy' Johnson

   The Moline Republican-Journal has this to say of a well-known Galesburg citizen:
   "It would have been nice if the Plow company had had its new sky-scraper up, just as a comparison to Henry Johnson, a colored man, who is the tallest man who has visited Moline. Perhaps this is a little stretched--but so is Johnson. He has attracted considerable attention on our streets the past few days. He is known as the 'High Boy,' and this is not a misnomer, for he measures 7 feet 2 inches. He is 26 years old and weighs 260 pounds, and looks it, though his feet rattle around in No. 7 shoes, indicating that a small beginning oftimes has a big ending, figuring from the ground up. Mr. Johnson is from Galesburg, and is the giant of his family. His father is a short man, yet heavy, and his mother is a medium-sized woman. He was born in Galesburg, and told a Journal reporter that he was always and overgrown boy. He enjoys the best of health, and notwithstanding his giant proportion, enjoys life.
   "His chief occupation since he has been big enough to earn his own livelihood has been in the advertising line, and for some time he has been in the service of the 'Adlake' Bicycle company, riding a specially built wheel for advertising purposes. At Galesburg he led the street fair as one of the chief productions of that city, and attracted attention which gave him a reputation as the giant of Illinois. Since then his services have been in demand. He is a very pleasant gentleman and a good conversationalist, and it is possible that he may be engages to take part in our free street fair.
   "There are a great many possibilities for a man of his size, and yet his extreme height has its drawbacks, and these sometimes prove quite expensive. It isn't every hotel that can accommodate him with a bed, nor can he borrow his neighbor's clothes.
   "He has been enjoying a visit to the family of Charles Anderson on Fourteenth street near Fourth avenue, who recently moved here from Galesburg. The 'High Boy' leaves here for home this evening."

Another article: "Highboy Johnson in Galva"
Click image to enlarge article

Henry 'High Boy' Johnson article

See also a newspaper article in the Galesburg Republican-Register 18 Oct 1898 listed in the "Brief Locals" column: "Henry Johnson, known as 'High Boy' has gone to Chicago to accept a position."

Back to the Blacks in Galesburg online exhibit.