Since the dawn of humanity, genetic anomalies have puzzled parents with undesirable surprises, although quite rarely. Children who are different from others have always been treated otherwise. It was great luck for such boys and girls to get in popular sideshows. And some even became real celebrities.
— GatleyGreeners (@GatleyGreeners) October 5, 2013
Fanny Mills was born into a family of British immigrants who settled in Ohio, USA, in 1860. It is not known for certain when parents first noticed the abnormality, but it was believed to have been caused by prenatal maternal stress. During pregnancy, Fanny’s mom had to care for a foal with an injured limb that was swollen. The sufferings of the animal probably affected the woman.
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📑📑📑 Milroy Disease ( or Nonne-Milroy Disease) was first described in 1891-1982. This Sindrome causes lymphedema in the foot and legs. It is a familiar disease caused by congenital abnotmalities in the lymphatic system. In the pics, Miss Fannie Mills ( aka "The Ohio Big Foot Girl" ). Informations about her, Tell us that she was a petite woman who wheighed 115 pounds (53 Kg) and she wore size 30 shoes ( US sizes!). Each foot was to be 19 inches (48,5 cm) long and 7 inches (18 cm) wide, although photos clearly show that they were bit the same size. #history #fannymills #milroydisease #milroysyndrome #sindromedimilroy #nonnemilroy #bigfeet #lymphedema #congenital #linfedemaereditario #storiadellalinfologia #lymphology #historyoflymphology #fannybrown
This is how the parents explained the disproportionate growth of their daughter’s feet. At a more mature age, Fanny’s weight was just a little over 110 pounds. But it was incredibly difficult for her to move. Her feet and ankles were enormous. Of course, she had to get her shoes custom made. Each shoe was almost 20 inches long and about 7 inches wide.
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Fanny Mills (1860-1892) began to have painful symptoms of Milroy’s Disease – swelling and fluid building, commonly in the legs, caused by congenital abnormalities in the lymphatic system – at a very young age. She required a size 30 shoe. Her feet grew to be about nineteen inches long and seven inches across. She had to wear pillow case socks. She found walking to be very painful and couldn’t do it unassisted. __________________ She had a dowry of $5,000 cash and a successful farm, should any man want to marry her. Her father was desperate to marry her off. She found her love in William Brown and married him. She began displaying herself on the freak show circuit and was a big hit. She pulled in about $150/week. She gave birth to a stillborn baby in 1887 and her health began to fail. She was forced to retire in 1892. She died later that year. #weekofspecialladies #weekofspecials #fannymills #lohfannymills #milroysdisease #bigfeet #circuit
At the same time, Fanny’s photos prove that apart from her huge legs, she was a rather pretty girl.
— News5 #1860 (@news5_1860) July 1, 2012
Her condition turned out to be an extremely rare genetic abnormality, Milroy disease, that affected the lymphatic system. Patients with this diagnosis were characterized by excessive production of fluids, severe swelling, and the formation of cysts and tumors, which led to even further deformation of the legs. This disease is considered to be hereditary – there is a noticeable swelling in the ankles already at birth. With age, the condition can either get better or worse.
— Emma C. Hibbs (@ECHibbs) April 10, 2016
Information about the Bigfoot Girl quickly spread across Ohio and the nearby states. Mills started taking part in sideshows since 1885 at the age of 25. Her assistant was a nurse, Mary Brown, who helped her move and monitored her condition.
The sweet and modest girl hardly thought about her personal life. But Mary’s brother, William Brown, proposed to her. It is possible that his gesture was prompted by the generosity of the sideshow management, where Fanny used to perform. They provided her with a good dowry: $5,000 and a small farm.
Ohio Bigfoot Girl (Fanny Mills). pic.twitter.com/2rbPQT4rHZ
— Sergio Pastor (@SergioPastor20) July 29, 2018
Whatever his reasons were, William accompanied his wife on tour, but had to take her home in 1892: Fanny fell very ill and doctors couldn’t do anything. She passed away the same year. The couple’s only child, born in 1887, did not survive.
The career of Ohio Bigfoot Girl was very short in comparison to her colleagues. But Fanny quickly became the audience’s favorite and went down in the history of sideshows forever, proving that physical flaws are not incompatible with family life.