From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Johnson, "Big Winnie"

(born: 1839  -  died: 1888) 

Johnson was born in Henry County, KY, on either Boyd Club Farm or E. M. Bryant Farm. She was billed as the biggest woman in the world. Johnson was a widow and mother of ten children, she turned to show business after her husband died in 1882. At her death, Johnson weighed 849 pounds. She had been showcased from a boxcar, travelling throughout the United States. Johnson died of fatty degeneration of the heart and was buried in Laurel Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. At the time of her death, only three of her children were alive. For more see "Big Winnie Johnson," American Sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers by M. Hartzman; and "Big Minnie's Burial, The Prize Fat Colored Woman Laid to Rest Yesterday," The Baltimore Herald, 09/14/1888.


Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: American sideshow: an encyclopedia of history’s most wondrous and curiously strange performers
NKAA Source: Baltimore herald (newspaper)

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“Johnson, "Big Winnie",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:17