Photo Gallery for Supercentenarians born in the 1850s, as of May 17, 2019.
Marie Bernatkova, 111
February 18, 2016; Marie Bernatkova was born in Prague, Austrian Empire (now Czech Republic) on October 22, 1857 and died in Zasova, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) on May 4, 1969 at the age of 111 years, 194 days. On June 16, 1968 she became the oldest verified living person in the world, following the death of Johanna Booyson. She remains the oldest verified person ever from Czech Republic. Mrs. Bernatkova had 10 children.
Johanna Booysen, 111
December 30, 2016; Johanna Booysen was born in South Africa on January 17, 1857 and died on June 16, 1968 at 111 years, 151 days. On January 17, 1967, she became the first verified African supercentenarian. On March 21, 1968 she became the oldest verified person in the world, following the death of John Mosley Turner. Her African longevity record was broken by Julia Sinedia-Cazour in 2003, but she remains the oldest verified person ever from South Africa.
Born as Johanna Drodsky in Heidelberg in 1857, she married at 16 and had the first of her sixteen chidren at the age of 18. In her earlier years, she worked as a district nurse. She outlived two husbands and eleven of her 16 children. As a centenarian she spent most of her time making sheepskin mats. On her 111th birthday, she was still able to read without glasses. She did not smoke or drink and thought that modern mini dresses “displeased God”. At the time of her death, she was said to have nearly 1,000 descendants.
William Fullingim, 110
Aged 46 with his daughter:
Aged about 58 with his granddaughter:
With his wife in their later years:
May 30, 2015; William Fullingim was born in Red River, Texas, United States on July 7, 1855 and died in Oklahoma, United States on August 6, 1965 at the age of 110 years, 30 days. At the time of his death, he was the oldest verified living person in the world (although pending case James Monroe King may have been older). 50 years after his death, he remains the oldest man ever born in Texas.
Fullingim became a cowhand at the age of ten. In 1873, at the age of 18, he moved west to Wise County and started working as a ranch hand. He later moved further west and set up his own cattle business. In 1879, he married Nancy Watson, with whom he was to have three children. In 1894, he migrated his family by wagon to Oklahoma. The trip took nine days and they arrived with just $50 and two worn out wagons. He worked as a farmer and also freighted goods using his wagon. In 1900, Fullingim sold his farm and moved about forty miles east to Chickasha, where he opened a meat market. The next year, he moved back to Washita County, and in 1917 acquired a ranch near Mountain Park. His ranch became well known locally, and was described by H.B. Carroll as “one of the most colorful ranch homes in western America.”
Fullingim remained fit and healthy enough to manage the ranch to a very advanced age. In 1947, when William Fullingim was 93, his son was then “beginning to take over a lot on the ranch.” He was able to continue riding until about the age of 85 and managed to keep his natural teeth until his centenarian years. By the age of 104, he had slight deafness and a little cataract trouble. When asked for the secret to his longevity, Fullingim said “I was never one to lay awake and worry about what was to happen tomorrow.” His wife, Nancy, lived to the age of 103.
Yoshigiku Ito, 110
February 18, 2016; Yoshigiku Ito was born in Japan on August 3, 1856 and died in the same country on November 26, 1966 at the age of 110 years, 115 days. On August 3, 1966, she became the first verified Japanese supercentenarian. Her Japanese longevity record was broken by Mito Umeta in 1973.
Mary Kelly, 113
Shortly before her death, at the age of 113:
May 29, 2015; Mary Kelly was born in Southfield, Oakland County, Michigan, United States on June 7, 1851 and died in Long Beach, Los Angeles, California, United States on December 30, 1964 at the age of 113 years, 206 days. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living person in the world and the second oldest person ever (after Delina Filkins). She remained the oldest person ever born in Michigan until her age was surpassed by Maud Farris-Luse in 2000.
Born Mary Young, she married Albert Kelly in 1873 and had three children before Albert was tragically killed in a wind mill accident in Clinton County, Iowa, at the age of just 34. She never remarried, and remained a widow for 84 years. Kelly was an avid reader throughout her adult years, and only gave it up at the age of 108 due to problems with her sight. At the age of 106, she said “People think I am an old woman. I don’t think so, I don’t feel old in my way of thinking.” Kelly lived independently until the age of 106 when she moved into Long Beach General Hospital. On her 108th birthday, she received over 300 birthday cards including one from President Dwight Eisenhower. At 110, Kelly was noted to still be cheerful and positive, despite spending increasing amounts of time sleeping. On her 111th birthday, Kelly was reported to be in better health than on some previous birthdays and she remained in good spirits. By this time, her hearing was impaired but she remained alert and aware of what was happening around her. Kelly outlived all three of her children but was survived by three grandchildren.
Sylvester Melvin, 110
In his adult years:
January 3, 2015; Sylvester Melvin was born in Rubicon Township, Greene County, Illinois on November 29, 1851 and passed away in Illinois on March 12, 1962, at the age of 110 years, 103 days. At the time of his death, Melvin was the oldest verified man in the world.
He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1878 and subsequently became a respected teacher. In 1880, he married Addie Strickland. The marriage produced four children.
In the late 1880s Sylvester Melvin acquired a farm of 100 acres. Working tirelessly on the farm over many years, he developed an increasingly comfortable living for himself and his family. As his financial resources increased, Melvin gradually bought more land and eventually went on to own four hundred acres of farmland. In 1889, he began the breeding of Aberdeen Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and Poland-China hogs. By 1905, he had a herd of 75 cattle and also owned a cattle firm called “Sylvester Melvin and Sons”. In 1904 he was one of the exhibitors at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis, where one of his cattle took second place in an auction, and he also took second place with his flock of sheep. In 1903 he won fourth place on a cattle auction at the International Exhibition in Chicago and achieved third place in the same auction at that exhibition in 1904.
Melvin was an active member of the Republican party. He was elected a member of the county board and served as supervisor for the Rubicon township, acting on the judiciary committee.
In 1900, Melvin became secretary of the Greene County Mutual Fire Insurance Company. At age 107, he was still working for the same company. As a centenarian, he was capable of raking leaves in his garden, and could remember the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865. On his 109th birthday, the local mayor declared it the “Sylvester Melvin Day”. His secret to longevity was “just keep from dying”.
Ella Ille Rentel, 110
June 2, 2009; Our German correspondents have been able to locate sufficient documentation to validate the case of Ella Ille Rentel of Germany, who would have been the world’s oldest person in the year 1962. She was born in Lithuania (at the time of the Russian Empire) on May 19, 1852, but died in West Germany on September 19, 1962 at age 110 years, 123 days. This case has been reflected in our latest update to Table C (CCC).
May 29, 2015: Subsequent research has revealed that Ella Ille Rentel would not have been the world’s oldest person in 1962 as she was born just under a year after Mary Kelly who outlived her by more than two years. However, she was the oldest person in Europe at the time of her death.
Ada Roe, 111
May 30, 2015; Ada Roe was born in Islington, London, England, United Kingdom on February 6, 1858 and died in Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom on January 11, 1970 at the age of 111 years, 339 days. On March 21, 1968, she became the oldest living person in the UK, following the death of John Mosley Turner. On May 4, 1969, she became the oldest verified living person in the world, following the death of Marie Bernatkova. On December 31, 1969, she passed the final age of Katherine Plunket and became the oldest person ever from the United Kingdom. Her British longevity record was broken by Alice Stevenson in 1973.
Born Ada Giddings, she married William Roe in 1885 and had three children. They moved from London to Lowestoft in the 1890s and set up a dairy shop. Her husband died in 1911 at the age of 50. She continued to work at her dairy shop until the age of 110, after about 75 years service. Roe put her longevity down to a good childhood.
Joseph Saint-Amour, 110
Photos sourced from L’Avenir du Nord www.Banq.qc.ca.
July 14, 2015; Joseph Saint-Amour was born in Quebec, Canada on February 26, 1852 and died in the same province on March 16, 1962 at the age of 110 years, 18 days. On February 26, 1962, he became the first Canadian person to reach the age of 110. On March 12, 1962, he became the oldest verified living man in the world, following the death of Sylvester Melvin. His Canadian longevity record was surpassed by Clarida Roy (who had emigrated to the United States) in 1973. He remained the oldest person ever to die in Canada until 1983, when his record was broken by Flore Belland. He held the Canadian male longevity record for more than 30 years until surpassed by Chester Pushie in 1994. More than 50 years after his death, he remains the oldest man ever from Quebec.
Hannah Smith, 110
Just before her 110th birthday:
May 30, 2015; Hannah Smith was born in Salford, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom on January 7, 1856 and died in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom on January 10, 1966 at the age of 110 years, 3 days. At the time of her death, she was the oldest verified living person in the world. Smith smoked until the age of 105. She never married and lived with her sister in Chesterfield for much of her life. She worked as a teacher of dressmaking for many years.
John Mosley Turner, 111
On his 110th birthday:
In his final years:
May 30, 2015; John Mosley Turner was born in Mitcham, London, England, United Kingdom on June 15, 1856 and died in Tottenham, London, England, United Kingdom on March 21, 1968 at the age of 111 years, 280 days. On August 6, 1965, he became the oldest verified living man in the world, upon the death of William Fullingim. On January 10, 1966, he became the oldest verified living person in the United Kingdom and the world, following the death of Hannah Smith. On October 29, 1966, he passed the final age of Geert Adriaans Boomgaard and became the oldest verified man ever (although the GRG pending list includes an American man who may have been 112 if born in 1854 as claimed). He remained the oldest verified man ever until Mathew Beard surpassed his age in 1982. He retained the British male longevity record until 1989 when it was broken by John Evans, and he remained the oldest ever English man for more than 40 years until Henry Allingham took the record in 2008.
Turner married Jessie Christiana Meeson in 1888 and had three children. He worked as a silk print stock cutter and was a teetotaller. He became totally blind at the age of 73. His wife died in 1947 at the age of 85. On his 111th birthday, Turner stated his ambition of reaching his 112th birthday.