Tag Archives: Bernardi Greater Shows

Possibly the Largest Roane County Deputy in History

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

Horace “Pickel” Fritts was probably the largest man to have served as a Roane County deputy. He served under Sheriff Chester Davis who was sheriff from 1936 to 1942. A newspaper article states that when Pickle Fritts was appointed, he was six feet five inches tall and weighed 530 pounds. Before this appointment, he had been in the circus and appeared in several sideshows being billed as “the worlds tallest fat man.” In his obituary it tells that “in 1930 he was with the West Wonder Shows, operating out of Norfolk, Va. He went to Coney Island, N.Y., as a side attraction in 1931, and in 1932 he was the Bernardi Greater Shows of York, Pa.” He became known as “TomTom” and wore specially designed Russian costumes. In his lifetime, his greatest weight was 747 pounds. It is also said that he traveled with the Ringling Brothers circus. In his later years, he operated a pool hall in Lenoir City. He died at the age of 52 in 1950.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, January 2015.