- Full name: Inamae Arissie Callaham Robey
- Lifespan: 03.11.1901 – 09.01.2012
- Age: 110 years, 65 days
- Birthplace: Naruna, Campbell County, Virginia, USA
- Last residence: Naruna, Campbell County, Virginia, USA
- Application date: 07.11.2011
- Validation date: 29.01.2016
- Validation source: Mark Muir/Anson Davis/Waclaw Jan Kroczek/Oliver Trim
Inamae Arissie Robey was born as Annamae Arissie Callahan in Naruna, Campbell County, Virginia, USA, on November 3, 1901. Her parents were John Weston Callaham and Olla Belle Callaham nee Elliott. Her grandparents were slaves. She was the third child born in a family of 12. Her parents were farmers who grew tobacco, corn, wheat, and molasses cane. She was known to everyone, grew up on the family’s homestead near Gladys and was educated in the small Sutcreek School on the family’s property. More than 90 years after finishing the fifth grade, Inamae Robey could still recall the name of her teacher – Miss Augusta Cousins – who was hired by the county and lived with Robey’s family. According to Robey’s daughter, the education of African Americans used to be hindered at those times. In order to get to school, Robey and her siblings had to cross a stream by walking on a large log. When the water got high, her older brother would guide Inamae and her sisters to the other side.
After she finished school, Robey baby-sat, worked as a housekeeper, and cooked for several area families. Inamae married Clarence Edward Tweedy in 1920 and moved to Lynchburg so he could work at the Foundry casting pipes. They had three children – Henry, and twins: Paul and Pauline. Paul died during the Korean War and Henry was in his 80s as of Inamae’s 105th birthday. Shortly after the twins were born, Mr. Tweedy died of pneumonia. Heartbroken, Inamae moved back to her father’s land near Gladys with her children to take care of her aging father. A few years after returning to Gladys, Inanae married her second husband, George Robey. He was about 10 years younger than she and died in 1980s.
People would pay Robey money to can their vegetables in the summer and sausages, spare ribs and pif feet in the winter. Robey is said to have had nothing spoil. She would even clean and prepare chitterlings despite the stench. Inamae was also known for her traditional Southern cooking – especially her biscuits, pan-fried chicken and stovetop cobbler, which she taught her daughter to make in a cast-iron pan. She would make beautiful patchwork quilts. According to her daughter, she would lay the bottom of the quilt down and then lay the lining down. The lining was usually a worn blanket from the previous winter. She then put the top on and rolled everything up and quilted it in her lap. Inamae would spend Thanksgiving, cooking up a massive feast for all the family and friends who would come celebrate the day. The men would come from Lynchburg and spend the day hunting on the property – anything that moved and would make for a good meal. The women would clean and prepare the day’s kill, including raccoons, ducks, rabbits, and squirrels. The meal included a grated sweet potato pudding, turkey, duck, cornbread dressing, turnips, greens, pies, and everything else. Inamae learned cooking from her mother. She carried those observations and lessons with her into adulthood, where she cooked, cleaned, and cared for the neighborhood children.
Robey lived on her own until she was 101, meticulously cooking three meals a day. When she stopped cooking on her own, her daughter brought her to live with her. She never had a major illness, other than gradually diminishing hearing. As of her 105th birthday, Robey was still able to walk without a cane, walker, or wheelchair, made up her bed every morning and sang hymns. As of her 107th birthday, Robey stated she was thankful that the good Lord has kept her on this Earth so long and she lived her life the best she could. One day after her 107th birthday, she voted for Barack Obama, the first black president.
“I appreciate everything people do for me, and that’s the way you live in the world, helping people if you can and if you’re able to do it. That’s the way I see living in the world, to help people. I do the best I can. I work, I pray and I eat. I’m thankful for everything I can get.”
Inamae Arissie Robey passed away in Naruna, Campbell County, Virginia, USA, on January 9, 2012 at the age of 110 years, 65 days.
As of 2012, Inamae Arissie Robey was the second-oldest living person in the state of Virginia.
Inamae Arissie Robey’s age was verified by Mark Muir, Anson Davis, Waclaw Jan Kroczek, and Oliver Trim, and validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) as of January 29, 2016.
Inamae Robey (undated)
Inamae Arissie Robey at age 105.
Inamae Arissie Robey at age 107.
Inamae Arissie Robey’s tombstone.