Like comic pages torn from the newspapers of life, my own life story is crowded as much by bizarre adventure, by pathos and by poignant comedy, as that of the world's famous cartoon character.

He paused for a moment or two, then added, "Not one like Doc Yak, this will be human, a character drawn from life, it was be American, typically American, and Andy, I will name it Andy Gump."


Sometime later the railroad began cutting men from its force and I was among those left without a job.  By this time, Andy Gump was becoming a household name, so I changed my  name from Andy Wheat to Andy Gump and secured a department store job at Tucson.

That was just the beginning, so far as I was concerned.  For the past years I have made my livelihood through posing, and when I was at Chicago, posing as a mechanical man at the Century of Progress Exposition, Robert L. Ripley saw me and said, "Believe it or Not, there is a living statue."

And now the one whom I have to live proud over is my two-year old young son, little Golizth, who remains with my charming wife Minnie at their California home.


Above excerpt and photo from My Life Story by Andy Gump Pitch Booklet.




Andy Wheat aka Andy Gump



Andy Wheat aka Andy Gump






 Andy Wheat aka Andy Gump




Of the thousands who have followed the comic strip "The Gumps." probably few are aware that the original of the chief character was a real Andy Gump.


Born 47 years ago in Bay St. Louis, Miss. as Andy Wheat, he acquired his unusual physiognomy as the result of an infection flowing the extraction of a tooth, which eventually necessitated the removal of his entire lower jaw.  Through Dr. Thomas Smith of Bloomingdale Ill., a den tist and a brother of Sidney Smith, he met the cartoonist, who saw in him an ideal comic character.  Andy subsequently had his name legally changed to Gump.


His wife's name is Min and he has two children named Chester and Golizth, now living in San Francisco, and an Uncle Bim who lives in Georgia.  His home is in Tucson, Ariz., but he also has a farm near his birthplace in Mississippi.


JOHN L. WARNER  Watertown, N. Y.


Letter to the Editor - Life Magazine - July 12, 1937





Our reaction to the July 12th issue of LIFE was favorable until we reached page 90, which carried pictures of Andy Wheat, captioned "Andy Gump in Person," together with a letter from John L. Warner, of Watertown, N.Y. You may or May not know that the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, Inc. owns the comic feature "The Gumps," in which appears the character "Andy Gump."  We would like to call your attention to the fact that Mr. Warner's story of "Andy Gump in Person" is without basis in fact.  Sidney Smith created the comic character "Andy Gump" about twenty years ago, and this character was entirely the product of his own imagination.  We have in our possession a recent affidavit from Dr. Thomas Smith, of Bloomington, Illinois, (not Bloomindale) that neither he nor his brother,  Sidney Smith, ever met Andy Wheat until about four years ago.  This is not the first instance of a claim to the honor of being the original "Andy Gump."  A few years ago another person put forth this claim, but his claim was thoroughly discredited.  We have heard that there are others who have put forward similar claims.  We are enclosing herewith a picture of one such person.  This might be of interest to such of your readers who have followed the adventures of the man who "wears no mans collar."  Which individual bears the closest resemblance to Sidney Smith's brain child is a matter of individual choice. We know that none of them bear such resemblance.

We assume that Mr. Warner's pictures were published without knowledge on the part of the Editors of LIFE of the real facts, and we therefore request that the Editors of LIFE give this communication equal prominence with the pictures appearing in the July 12 issue.

ARTHUR W. CRAWFORD.  General Manager
Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, Inc.  Chicago. Ill.

Response letter to the Editor Life Mag. Aug 23, 1937



The picture below, submitted by Mr. Crawford is of David Hoag of Canandaiqua, N. Y. who died two yours ago 1935 -ED.



The picture you have posted as David Hoag under the Face subsection of human wonders of the world is a photograph of my great grandfather, David Alexander Hoag. He was diagnosed with oral cancer in the early 1900s and had his upper and lower jaw surgically resected in order to remove the tumors. Since he is depicted on your website, I am wondering whether this picture was taken from a "pitch card" for a sideshow -- I am aware the picture was used as part of a libel suit that my great grandfather initiated against three newspapers in 1927, claiming that the cartoon of Andy Gump was based on his likeness and he felt the cartoon ridiculed his deformity.

As the family genealogist, I am interested in learning if indeed my great grandfather participated in sideshows or used the photo to earn money. This was not information that was passed down through family generations, so any information you have about David Hoag would greatly interest me.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

~ Nancy L. Hoag

David Hoag the Chinless Wonder


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