Martin “Farmer” Burns (February 15, 1861 – January 8, 1937)
American world champion “catch-as-catch-can” wrestler as well as wrestling coach and teacher.
Known for his immense 20″ neck for his bodyweight of 165 pounds (75 kg).
Trained himself to be unstrangleable by a rigourous program of neck development.
Could be dropped six feet with an hangman noose around his neck then whistles “Yankee Doodle“.
A stunt that Burns would often perform at carnivals and fairs
The defeat to Clayton particularly irked Burns, as he was unable to offset the feared stranglehold that subsequently earned Clayton the moniker Evan “Strangler” Lewis (long before the more famous Ed “Strangler” Lewis was ever born). Consequently, Burns launched into a rigorous program of neck development; and soon built an immense 20” neck that possessed such strength that he could be dropped six feet on a hangman’s noose to no effect (a stunt that Burns would often perform at carnivals and fairs).
While on a trip to Chicago in the spring of 1889, Burns saw a sign offering $25 to anyone who could last fifteen minutes against top grapplers Jack Carleek and Evan Lewis. Burns accepted the challenge and showed up at the Olympic Theater dressed in his regular farmer’s overalls. (source)
Feats of Strength
Burns was well known in the early twentieth century for his neck. Despite the fact that he was only one hundred-sixty pounds, he managed to have a twenty-inch neck. With this neck, according to an article in WWE Magazine, he gained fame by being put into a noose, getting hanged, and living, while whistling “Yankee Doodle“. (source)