Thomas Topham

This  man, whose feats of strength might have figured with those of the heroes of Homer, was born in London, about the year 1710. He was bred a carpenter, and attained the height of five feet ten inches, being well proportioned in other respects. At the age of twenty-four, he took a tavern on the city road, and displayed his extraordinary powers in the gymnastic exhibitions then common at Moorfields. He was here accustomed to stop a horse by pulling against him, his feet being placed against a low wall. A table six feet long, with half a hundred weight upon it, he lifted with his teeth, and held it for some time in a horizontal position!

His fame for strength spread over the country, and his performances excited universal wonder. He would throw a horse over a turnpike gate, carry the beam of a house as a soldier his firelock, break a rope capable of sustaining twenty-two hundred weight, and bend a bar of iron an inch in diameter by striking it against his naked arm, into a bow! On one occasion, he found a watchman asleep in his box; he took them both on his shoulder, and carried them to the river, where he tipped them into the water. In May, 1741, he lifted three hogsheads of water, weighing 1836 pounds!

Though possessed of such wonderful strength, Topham was of a mild and pacific temper. His mind does not appear to have possessed the energy of his body, for, being deceived by a faithless woman, he resorted to the desperate resolution of taking his own life, and died by suicide in the flower of his age.