General Tom Thumb was the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838-1883), a dwarf who achieved great game under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.
Stratton was 4 years old, the son of a Bridgeport, Connecticut carpenter, when Barnum met him. He was 25 inches tall and weighed just 15 pounds at the time.
Barnum taught him to sing, sance and perform and made him an international celebrity with a tour of Europe. Stratton's marriage in February, 1863, to another midget, Lavinia Warren, was front-page news. They stood atop a grand piano in New York City's Grace Episcopal Church to greet some 2,000 guests.
Tom Thumb was the name of the first American-built steam locomotive used on a common-carrier railroad. Designed and built by Peter Cooper in 1830, it was designed to convince owners of the newly formed Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to use steam engines. Cooper held a race between Tom Thumb and a horse along Baltimore and Ohio tracks near Baltimore. Tom Thumb led until an engine belt slipped. The horse then pulled ahead and won.