East School Museum

Pike County

400 E Jefferson | Pittsfield, IL

Constructed during the civil war as “the county’s school”, allowing rural students to board in local homes during the winter. Now houses a collection of historical items, including the overalls of Robert Earl Hughes, Guinness world book of records’ heaviest man c. 1950s.

Robert Earl Hughes, Jr. was, during his lifetime, the heaviest human being recorded in the history of the world. Born in Baylis, IL to farmer and entertainer, Robert Earl Hughes, Sr. and Margaret Robinson. At the age of six, Robert, Jr. weighed 203 pounds. His excessive weight was attributed to a malfunctioning pituitary gland. His chest was measured at 10.3 feet and he weighed an estimated 1069 pounds at his heaviest. During his adult life, Robert made guest appearances at carnivals and fairs; plans to appear on the Ed Sullivan television program were announced but never materialized. At 32 years of age, Robert contracted measles that developed into uremia and lead rapidly to his death in 1958. In successive editions of The Guinness Book of World Records, the listing read “He was buried in a coffin the size of a piano case”. Robert’s body had to be lowered into his grave with the use of a crane. His headstone inscription notes that he was the world’s heaviest man at a confirmed 1,041 pounds.