This continuing article about the longest-lived humans in history and current record-holders is fascinating! Aren’t you longing to have them share their secrets?! These are really special people we can all learn from.
Truth is usually stranger than fiction. It’s like the Pot O’ Gold treasure at the End of the Rainbow, isn’t it?
Throughout my life, I have loved to read “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” and “The Guiness Book of World Records”. You can learn so much of what human potential, success and big dreams are all about!
Who is the historically oldest man, in modern times, with impeccable documentation? “Christian” Mortensen, Danish-American, was 115 years 252 days old when he died in 1998, and according to Professor John Wilmoth of the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Demography, Christian was the surest, oldest male in the world. He still was alive and lived in San Rafael, California, just across San Francisco Bay from Berkeley, so Wilmoth interviewed him many times over 3 years, and together, they retrieved all the supporting documentation from both countries.
Many times, especially in less developed countries, claims to longevity are made, but it is important to be accurate, so Christian deserves the unassailable title, as no hearsay or local “lore” is involved — his claim is backed by an amazing multiplicity of documents and complete factual disclosure. Until then, the longest-lived male with impeccable documents was a man who lived to be 112. Wilmoth says Christian’s claim is the only legitimate one for those older males. All other currently “older” men cannot reach the same standard of authenticity, and were regarded by academicians as erroneous, at that time. So, we return to Christian’s story.
Thomas Peter Thorvald Kristian Ferdinand Mortensen (known as “Christian”) led a fascinating life, and was even “too old to serve” when World War One started! He was born August 16, 1882 in the village of Skaarup, near the city of Skanderborg, on the large peninsula at the western side of Denmark.
At 16, he was already working as a tailor’s apprentice and he came to America at 21 years old, with nothing. His memory for details which had happened 80 or 90 years before was remarkable. Yet, he still had bitter memories from the short-lived marriage to a woman whose name he has forgotten — and so we see the tremendous difference painful memories bring with them.
Wilmoth reports “single men aren’t supposed to live as long as married men, but Chris was single for almost all of his life (he was probably married for less than 10 years). Chris also had few of the social and economic advantages that may contribute to long life and good health. He had no fancy college degrees or high-status jobs. He worked as a tailor, as a milkman, and in a factory. He was never rich, but in the end he was famous. He led a simple, somewhat solitary life. No one could have expected that this man would become one of the world’s oldest” people.
Who are the oldest twins in the world now? The Canadian-born Hall sisters. Twinstuff.com believes there are only seven sets of twins still living who are centarians.
The Hall sisters, Ellen Isabella Robertson and Sarah Selina Jeanmougin, celebrated their 105th birthdays on May 29, 2007. Sarah lives with her niece (Ellen’s daughter) in Mohave Valley, Arizona while Ellen (with glasses) still lives on her own in Winnipeg, Canada. Both are in excellent physical and mental shape.
Born in Saskatchewan, in 1902, they were the 7th and 8th of 10 children born to Walter and Jane Hall. Their father died when they were four, leaving their mother alone to take care of the family. Although life was not easy, the twins had happy lives together.
The Hall sisters became the longest-lived twins after the Swedish Vangstad sisters became separated by Thilsa’s death in 2006.
Who are the longest-lived twins in modern history? That title belongs to the Japanese Narita sisters who attained the age of 107 together, before Kin died. Later, Gin died at 108 years old. They had been born August 1, 1892 in Nagoya, Japan, and Kin and Gin were the first twins known to ever surpass age 107 together.
They became celebrities in Japan when they turned 99, and then became world-wide notables, taking on an amazing schedule, and traveling overseas for the first time, too. Their broad smiles and lively interest in the world around them endeared them to people in Japan and around the world. They joked they were saving the money they earned in their travels and on media appearances “for their old age”!
Which twins lived the longest by “combined” ages? The Smith twins of Australia are the winners of that title. They were born March 31, 1893 in Tarraville, Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.
The Smith Twins set a new record for longest combined lives of twins with 216 years, 9 months and 9 days, when Alice Smith Lindsay died at 111 years and 92 days; at that time, Alice was the oldest living Australian. Her sister, Eugenia Smith Collis had lived 105 years, 6 months, 8 days.
Who has been the oldest singleton twin? We believe it to be Mary Belle Murphy Crombie of Dixon, Illinois who reached 113 years old, and lived 19 years longer than her sister, Mabel. Mary was the ninth oldest person in the world, at the time, and she was a longtime Chicago Cubs fan who could remember the last time the Cubs won the World Series in 1908!
Who are the oldest surviving triplets? Our best research says it is the Lawyer Triplets who were born May 2, 1914 in Washington County, Indiana. They are /were Lela Brown, Lena Hurst and Leta Myers; certainly they are America’s oldest triplets.
But, only Leta survives as Lena died in 2005 and Lela died in December 2006. The triplets had a sister, Maude and brother Lawrence, both of whom died before them. Their parents were Willis and Rose Wheeler Lawyer. One non-triplet sister, Laura, also survives.
In history, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, the longest surviving triplets were Faith, Hope and Charity Cardwell of Ell Mott, Texas. They were born May 18, 1899 and Faith Cardwell Davis died first on October 2, 1994 at age 95 years, 137 days. According to geneaologist Robert Young, Charity Cardwell Lawson died on January 6, 1995 at age 95 years, 233 days and Hope Cardwell Brock passed away on January 15, 1997 at age 97 years, 242 days.
We’ll learn about some more fascinating Elders in Part 3 who will inspire you by their amazing exploits! See you then.
Best to all — Em.
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