Wild Men Of Borneo


It is an interesting story, thought I would share it!

Waino and Plutanor were actually Hiram and Barney Davis, two mentally disabled brothers from a Mount Vernon, Ohio farm, born in 1825 and 1827 respectively. They were each 40 inches tall and weighed about 45 pounds, yet could perform feats of great strength such as lifting heavy weights and wrestling with audience members on stage. Discovered and subsequently promoted by a traveling showman in 1850, Hiram and Barney were given new names, Waino and Plutanor, and a sensational back story – they were said to be from the island of Borneo, where they had been captured after a great struggle with armed sailors.

Wild Men of Borneo

In 1880, Waino and Plutanor became involved with P. T. Barnum and his traveling exhibitions. With Barnum’s fabled promotional skill, the careers of the Wild Men of Borneo took off and over the course of the next 25 years, the pair earned approximately $200,000, which was an enormous sum in that era. Their exhibitions primarily consisted of performing acts of great strength, such as lifting adult audience members and wrestling with both audience members and each other. They were said to be able to lift up to 300 lbs each.

Barney stopped working when Hiram died in 1905. Barney died seven years later in 1912. The two are buried together in Mount Vernon, Ohio, under a gravestone marked “Little Men.”

wild grave


7 thoughts on “Wild Men Of Borneo

  1. Oh my goodness, when I was a little girl, many years ago, I remember the saying “Wild men of Borneo!” But I have no idea the context but am guessing it was “wild”
    Great pictures and research on the story! Thanks for the follow of my little blog. I definitely will enjoy yours! Namaste. . .

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