John White Geary, circa 1865.
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John W. Geary in uniform.

Credit: Library of Congress

Standing 6 feet, 5 and 1/2 inches tall, John W. Geary (1819-1873), towered over the average man of his day. Geary stood above most of his peers in accomplishments as well. Born in Pennsylvania, Geary fought in the Mexican American War, and in 1850 became the first mayor of San Francisco, California. Five years later he was governor of Kansas during the bloody Kansas-Missouri border wars. A brigadier general in the Civil War, Geary then returned to Pennsylvania, where he served two terms as governor from 1867 to 1873.

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