James D. Porter was not only Kentucky’s tallest man, but during his lifetime the tallest man in the world. At seven feet nine inches he towered over everyone else in the city of Louisville. Mr. Porter was a hackney driver and served as coachman to Charles Dickens, the famous English author, during his time in the city.
The Louisville Dailey Courier, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Tuesday, April 26, 1859
Death of James D. Porter, The ‘Kentucky Giant’
We regret to learn that our distinguished fellow-citizen, James D. Porter, widely known as the ‘Kentucky Giant,’ died at his residence in Portland, on Sunday night, the 24th inst., in the fiftieth year of his age, having been born in 1810. For some time, Mr. Porter had been in delicate health, but his last illness was of but few days’ duration. The disease which terminated his life, we are informed, was an affection of the heart, to which he had been frequently subject.
Few men have been more widely known than Mr. Porter. His extraordinary height, being about seven feet nine inches, ranked him as the tallest man In the world. He seemed to labor under the consciousness that he was an object of universal curiosity and shunned rather than sought the public gaze. He was modest and retiring – the very soul of honor and honesty. His social feelings were elevated and refined, his affections strong and marked. He was a gentleman of intelligence and wielded a considerable influence among his neighbors and friends.
He has resided here since early manhood. In his early life he was warmly attached to the political fortunes of Mr. Clay, was a Whig of the old school, and never forgot his associations with that party. He always gloried in his Whig name and principles and clung to them to the last. When, however, the Whig party was disbanded, and new parties were organized, he ranged himself, like thousands of other patriotic Old-Line Whigs, with the Constitutional Democracy, and labored earnestly and successfully in its behalf.
His death will be universally deplored. He was a useful citizen, an honest man and fulfilled, with fidelity, all the duties and responsibilities of his life, alike to his fellow-men and his country.
His funeral will take place at two o’clock this afternoon, at his residence in Portland. His remains will be conveyed thence to Cave Hill Cemetery.