John Mertz stood only 46 inches tall and he came to America from Austria-Hungary and went to work for Barnum Circus. It is there he first met a tiny Southern bell from Mocksville, North Carolina— Miss Mariah Elizabeth Nail, who stood 36 inches.
On August 16th,1883 as they stood before the preacher to be married, he inquired if they were old enough to wed—because they were so small.
Mariah’s wedding gown is on display at the Salisbury Museum.
Around 1911 the couple retired from Circus life and settled in Salisbury, North Carolina. John was well respected in the community and worked as a clerk for T.F. Kluttz.
Mariah died of Influenza on March 7, 1922 at age 69. John died at age 85 on February the 4th, 1938.
They are both buried in Chestnut Hill Cemetery in Salisbury, NC