M. Lavinia Warren
Life DatesOctober 31 1842 – November 25 1919
Mercy Lavinia Warren Bump, later Mercy Lavinia Warren Stratton, and then Mercy Lavinia Magri, (October 31, 1841-November 25, 1919) was an entertainer who worked for P.T, Barnum, managed her own theatre, and wed fellow Barnum performer Charles S. Stratton - known as General Tom Thumb.
Warren was born into the Bump family in Middleborough Massachusetts. Her family was prominent in the area, and capable of tracing their roots back to the Mayflower. She had seven other siblings, but only Warren and her sister Huldah Pierce Warren Bump (later known as Minnie Warren), had dwarfism.
Warren taught school for a time in Massachusetts, before entering show business at age sixteen. Her first foray into being an entertainer saw her under the employ of a cousin who owned a showboat in Mississippi. Barnum came to hear of her in 1862, meeting Warren when she was twenty one years old, and signed on to work for him for $10 a week plus expenses. It was there that she met Charles Stratton, known as General Tom Thumb and a fellow little person in Barnum’s employ, and the two began to date.
Eventually, Warren and Stratton married, in an event orchestrated by Barnum known as the Fairy Wedding, Held on February 10, 1863 at Grace Episcopal Church in New York City, the marriage became the social event of the year, as did the reception afterwards. The two were even received at the White House by President Abraham Lincoln.
Later on, Warren and her husband toured with her sister, Minnie Warren, and fellow performer George Washington Morrison Nutt. The tour covered the United States and Canada, before heading to Europe. From there, their lives bounced between Stratton’s home in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Warren’s in Middleborough, Massachusetts, when they weren’t touring and entertaining the public. The marriage between the two was generally considered a positive one, and they remained close throughout their lives.
Warren was also extremely close with her sister, Minnie, who wed a fellow Barnum performer named Major Edward Newell in July, 1877. Unlike her sister, Minnie and her husband did attempt to have children. Unfortunately the child was stillborn, and Minnie herself died after the delivery. Warren was devastated by the loss, and it took a while for her to come to terms with.
Charles Stratton passed on July 15, 1883, leaving Warren a widow. She remarried two years later to Primo Magri, an Italian entertainer of a similar stature to Warren, on April 6, 1885. They performed both at their own roadside stand in Middleborough, Massachusetts, and toured together along with Magri’s brother, Ernesto. The couple even appeared in the silent film, The Lilliputian's Courtship, in 1915.
Warren died on November 25, 1919, and is buried besides Charles S. Stratton at Mountain Grove Cemetery.