Various History

Evelyn Kozak (née Jacobson) (August 14, 1899 – June 11, 2013) was an American supercentenarian who was the world's oldest living Jewish person, until her death at the age of 113 years, 301 days. She was also the oldest verified Jewish person in history after surpassing fellow American Adelheid Kirschbaum's age of 113 years and 83 days on November 6, 2012.


Evelyn Kozak was born in the Lower East Side of New York City on August 14, 1899. Her parents, Isaac and Kate (Chaikin) Jacobson, had moved from Russia, and had nine children.

Kozak attended grammar school in Brooklyn, where she was valedictorian, and grew up at 2816 Farragut Road in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She then worked for a paper box company that her parents owned.

Kozak was married in 1921, and had five children, two of whom are deceased as are her two husbands.

Kozak moved to New Jersey as an adult, and then to Miami, Florida, after she got married. She lived and worked there for over 50 years as the operator of a motel on Miami Beach. She lived in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from the age of 90.

She was an avid Scrabble player until she turned 95. When someone observed once that she was very honest, she responded: "Honesty doesn't come in degrees. You are either honest, or not."

Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields declared August 5 to be "Evelyn Kozak Day" in Pittsburgh in 2009 in honor of her 110th birthday, saying that she was the oldest living Pittsburgher. Kozak said, "So much hoopla! I am not entitled to all this kowtowing. Old age does not necessarily equate to wisdom."

After she turned 110, she lived in the Kensington section of Brooklyn with her granddaughter Brucha Weisberger and her family, which when she moved in included eight great-grandchildren under the age of 13. Kozak loved reading, and enjoyed being read to. She was devoted to Judaism and the State of Israel. In her later years, when asked the secret of her longevity, she tapped her heart and replied, "a good conscience."

When she was 111 years old, she asked relatives to look for an older eligible bachelor for her. But when a 115-year-old bachelor living in Israel was found, as a romantic prospect, Kozak said: "He’s too old for me. I don’t want to be alone in my old age."

Kozak died in a Brooklyn, New York hospital on June 11, 2013, the day after she had a heart attack. She was 113 years, 301 days old. Kozak was the last surviving Jewish person born in the 19th century. She had five children, 10 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandson.
Misao Okawa (大川 ミサヲ Ōkawa Misao?, sometimes romanized as Misawo Okawa; born March 5, 1898) is a Japanese supercentenarian who is, at the age of 116 years, 163 days, the world's oldest living person, holding the title since the death of 116-year-old Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura on June 12, 2013.

She is the second oldest verified Japanese person ever (behind Tane Ikai) and the seventh oldest verified person ever. She is also the 30th verified person to reach the age of 115 and the 10th verified person to reach the age of 116.

Okawa was born the fourth daughter of a draper in the Tenma district (present-day Kita-ku) of Osaka. She now lives at a nursing home in Higashisumiyoshi-ku, Osaka.

She married Yukio Okawa in 1919 and had three children, two daughters and one son, of whom her son Hiroshi and one daughter are still alive. Her husband died on June 20, 1931. She has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. When she was 102 she was found doing leg squats "to keep her body in shape". She was able to walk until she was 110, when she began using a wheelchair to prevent falls. She can however, propel herself in her wheelchair.

Okawa has been the world's oldest living woman since the death of 115-year-old Japanese woman Koto Okubo on January 12, 2013. On February 27, 2013, a few days before her 115th birthday, she was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living woman in the world, and was presented with a certificate at her nursing home in Osaka.

Okawa has said that sushi and sleep are the reasons why she has lived so long.
Gertrude Weaver (born July 4, 1898) is an African American supercentenarian. She was born in Arkansas near the border with Texas. At the age of 116 years, 42 days, Weaver is the oldest person in the United States and second verified oldest living person in the world behind Japanese woman Misao Okawa. She became the oldest living person in the United States upon the death of Dina Manfredini on December 17, 2012. She is also among the 100 verified oldest people ever.

Weaver was born in southwestern Arkansas to Charles Gaines (b. May 1861) and Ophelia Jeffreys (b. December 1866), who were sharecroppers. On July 18, 1915, she married Genie Weaver and had four children: Cab (b. 1916), Marie (b. 1918), Joe (b. 1921), Ruby Mae (b. 1924).[citation needed] At the time of her 116th birthday, her son, Joe Weaver, was still alive at age 93.

At 104, she moved to the Camden nursing home after she broke her hip. With rehabilitation, she recovered from her broken hip and was able to move back to her home with the help of her granddaughter. At 109, she returned to the nursing home, Silver Oaks Health and Rehabilitation in Camden, Arkansas.

Her health has declined some since her 115th birthday but she still goes out of her room for meals and activities at the nursing home. Weaver does not have any chronic health problems typical of people her age, sleeps well and does not drink or smoke.

Weaver told the Associated Press that there are three factors that have contributed to her longevity: "Trusting in the Lord, hard work and loving everybody". Weaver added a fourth factor when she told Time that trying to do your best is another factor adding "Just do what you can, and if we can't, we can't."

At her 116th celebration, the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) announced that they had verified Weaver's age making her the oldest verified living American and they presented her a plaque with her title as oldest American on it (the GRG and Guinness World Records established that Weaver was older than Jeralean Talley who was previously thought to be the oldest). She also received a letter from President Obama and the Mayor of Camden declared her birthday "Gertrude Day".
Jeralean Talley (born May 23, 1899) is an African American supercentenarian who is, at the age of 115 years, 84 days, the third verified oldest living person in the world behind Misao Okawa of Japan and Gertrude Weaver of the United States, and among the 100 oldest verified people ever.

Jeralean Kurtz was born in Montrose, Georgia on May 23, 1899. One of 11 siblings, she spent her early years living on a farm picking cotton and peanuts and digging sweet potatoes out of the ground. She moved to Inkster, Michigan, in 1935, and has lived there since. A year later, she married Alfred Talley (January 30, 1893 – October 17, 1988) and had one child, a daughter, Thelma Holloway, born in 1937. Jeralean and Alfred were wed for 52 years before he died in October 1988, at the age of 95. She has three grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great-grandchildren.

She never drove a car, saying that she tried it once but pushed the wrong pedal, causing it to go in reverse rather than move forward. She never wanted to try again.

According to her daughter Thelma, Jeralean stayed active in her later life by sewing dresses, making quilts and playing the slot machines at casinos. She bowled until she was 104, when her legs got too weak, but still goes on annual fishing trips with her friend Michael Kinloch and his son Tyler (who is also her Godson). In May 2013, at age 114, she caught 7 catfish.

Talley is a member of the New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, whose members refer to her as “Mother Talley”. In May 2013, they celebrated her 114th birthday by officially naming the church's driveway after her. Talley also received a personalised letter from President Barack Obama, who wrote that she was “part of an extraordinary generation”.

She lives by the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated”. Known in the community for her wisdom and wit, she has sometimes been asked for advice. She has previously advised people to use common sense, saying “I don’t have much education but what little sense I got, I try to use it”.
Susannah Mushatt Jones (born July 6, 1899) is an African American supercentenarian who is, at the age of 115 years, 41 days, the oldest living resident of New York and the third oldest living American. She is among the 100 verified oldest people ever and is currently the world's fourth oldest living person (behind Misao Okawa, Gertrude Weaver and Jeralean Talley). She has received tributes from the United States House of Representatives and from the Alabama House of Representatives "for a remarkable lifetime of exceptional achievement lived during three centuries".

Susannah Mushatt was born in Lowndes County, Alabama on July 6, 1899, the third oldest of 11 children. Her parents were sharecroppers who farmed the same land as her grandparents (one an ex-slave). As a young woman, she worked in fields but she was determined to escape that hard existence. On March 4, 1922, she graduated from the Calhoun Boarding High School and the graduation roster recognized her for studying "Negro Music in France". After graduation she wanted to become a teacher and was accepted to Tuskegee Institute's Teacher's Program. However, her parents did not have enough money to pay for her college, so in 1923, she moved to New York during the early stages of the Harlem Renaissance.

In 1928 she married Henry Jones but the marriage only lasted for five years, she divorced him later saying that she "didn't know what became of him" and she had no children. She worked for wealthy families taking care of their children for $7 a week. During this time, she supported many of her relatives as they moved to New York.

She also used some of her salary to establish The Calhoun Club, which was a college scholarship fund for African American students at her high school. She was also active in her neighborhood for almost 30 years, participating in the "tenant patrol team".

In 1965, she retired and lived with Lavilla Watson, her niece and helped care for Watson's baby son.

She resides at the Vandalia Senior Center in East New York, Brooklyn and has more than 100 nieces and nephews.

She is blind, partially deaf, cannot say much, and uses a wheelchair. She also does very little for her health. She only takes high-blood pressure medication and a multivitamin. She became blind from glaucoma when she was 100. She has refused cataract surgery and recommend pacemaker. She has never had a mammogram or a colonoscopy but she does see a primary care physician three to four times a year.

Jones has never smoked, drunk alcohol, partied, wore makeup, or dyed her hair and sleeps about 10-hours a day. She also attributes not being married long for her longevity.

Jones celebrated her 112th, 113th, 114th, and 115th birthdays at the Vandalia Senior Center. On her 112th birthday, she received tribute letters from the Mayor of New York City, and the governor of New York. When her birthday celebration ended she said "I wish it could be like this all the time." On her 113th birthday, she was escorted by Charles Barron. Jones celebrated her 114th birthday six days late. In addition to family and friends, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes praised her accomplishments. On her 115th birthday, one of her nieces, Lois Judge, told WABC-TV that ""She gets tired easily these days, but it has been a good day today." She did not speak at the celebration. Her great great niece, a baby named Susannah after Jones, was also present.
Bernice Madigan (born July 24, 1899) is an American supercentenarian who is, at the age of 115 years, 24 days, the oldest living resident of Massachusetts, the fourth-oldest living person in the United States and the world's fifth-oldest living person. She is one of 100 centenarians in The Archon Genomics XPRIZE, and is among the 100 verified oldest people ever.

Bernice Emerson was born in West Springfield, Massachusetts on July 24, 1899. She moved to Cheshire, where she lives today, when she was 6. She graduated from Adams High School in 1918, and thereafter moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as a secretary for the Veterans Administration, then the Treasury Department. A lifelong Republican, she attended the Inauguration of Warren G. Harding in 1921, and cited Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan as her favorite U.S. Presidents. "Reagan accomplished more for the government. Eisenhower I thought was very good in some ways in the White House. I liked them both very much." Madigan met her husband, Paul, in Washington, and they were married 50 years. Paul died in 1976. She has outlived a brother, Roy Emerson, and a sister, Marilyn Emerson Martin. She returned to Cheshire from Silver Spring, Maryland in 2007.

Madigan does not take any medicine nor a daily vitamin.
Emma Morano (married Martinuzzi; born 29 November 1899) is an Italian supercentenarian who is, at the age of 114 years, 261 days, the oldest living person in Italy and Europe, and the sixth-oldest living person in the world.

She is the oldest person ever to live in Italy and second oldest Italian person ever behind Dina Manfredini and is also among the 100 verified oldest people ever.

Emma Martina Luigia Morano was born on 29 November 1899 in Civiasco, Vercelli, Piedmont, Italy to Giovanni Morano and Matilde Bresciani, the eldest of eight children, five daughters and three sons. She had a long-lived family: her mother, an aunt and some of her siblings turned 90 and her sister, Angela Morano (1908–2011) died at 102. When she was a child, she moved from the Sesia Valley to Ossola for her father's job, but the climate was so unhealthy there that a physician advised her family to live somewhere with a milder climate so she moved to Pallanza, on Lake Maggiore, where she still lives. In October 1926, she married Giovanni Martinuzzi (1901–1978) and in 1937 her only child was born but died when he was only six months old. The marriage was not happy so in 1938 Morano decided to separate from her husband, driving him out of the house. Despite that the couple always remained formally married. Until 1954, she was a worker for the Maioni Industry, a jute factory in her town. Then, she had another job, in the kitchen of "Collegio Santa Maria," a Marianist boarding school in Pallanza, until she was 75, when she retired.

As several recent interviews show, Morano is still a clear headed, jovial, and humorous person. She currently lives alone, and takes care of herself and her house independently. When asked about the secret of her longevity, she said that she had never used drugs, eats three eggs a day, drinks a glass of homemade brandy, and savors a chocolate sometimes, but, above all, she thinks positively about the future.

In 2011, Morano received a visit from U.S. researcher James Clement, engaged in a worldwide study conducted by George Church for Harvard Medical School of Boston, to study the secret of her longevity. In December 2011, she was awarded the honor of Knight of Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by President Giorgio Napolitano.

On 29 November 2013, she celebrated her 114th birthday at her home with friends and relatives and during her party she gave a short live TV interview to a RAI show.
Ethel Lang (née Lancaster;[citation needed] born 27 May 1900) from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, is a British supercentenarian. She is at the age of 114 years, 83 days, the oldest living person in the United Kingdom, the eighth oldest living person in the world, the second oldest living person in Europe and one of the 100 oldest people ever.

Lang was born at Worsbrough, near Barnsley, to Charles and Sarah Lancaster and married William Lang in 1922. They had a daughter, Margaret, in 1923. Lang's mother lived to the age of 91, and her great-grandmother until 92.

Lang is the only living British person to have been born during the reign of Queen Victoria.

Barnsley’s grand lady Ethel now Britain’s oldest person

November 15th, 2013

The oldest person in Britain is from Barnsley.

That record had been held by Londoner Grace Jones (birthdate: December 7, 1899), but she sadly passed away, aged 113. She had been the sixth oldest person in the world.

Britain’s oldest person is now 113-years-old Ethel Lang.

She was born in Worsbrough Dale in 1900 – and has lived in Barnsley all her life.
Merle Barwis (born December 23, 1900) is an American-born Canadian supercentenarian who is, at the age of 113 years, 238 days, the oldest living resident of Canada. She is also the thirteenth-oldest living person.

Merle Barwis was born in December 23, 1900, in Des Moines, Iowa, United States. A few years later, her family was moved to Saskatchewan, Canada. she married Dewey Barwis in 1923 and had three children. husband was working in the Canadian Pacific railway. In 1952, husband was retired, her family was moved to Victoria, British Columbia. her husband died in 1966.

At the time of her 111th birthday, she had 10 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great-grandchildren.

She became the oldest living person in Canada at the age of 111 years, 117 days old, after the death of 113 years old Cora Hansen on April 18, 2012. She is also currently the fifth-longest lived person ever in Canada and the oldest person ever to live in British Columbia.

Canada’s oldest known citizen — and last Victorian — prepares to turn 112 before Christmas
By Randy Boswell, Postmedia News

The joyful spirit that comes with Christmas will arrive two days early this year at a Vancouver Island hospital, where Canada’s oldest known citizen — U.S.-born, Saskatchewan-raised Merle Barwis — will turn 112 years old on Sunday.

If the small gathering of family members planned for this weekend is anything like the 111th birthday party held last year at the Priory Hospital in Langford, B.C., Barwis will take a few swigs of beer and share some laughs with nurses and several generations of her offspring, including 66-year-old grandson (and ale supplier) Richard Barwis from nearby Sooke.

“We’re not doing a big thing, but the family will definitely be there,” he told Postmedia News. “Mentally she’s pretty sharp. Her eyesight’s gone a little bit and hearing’s gone a little bit. But you can sit down and talk to her, get her talking about the old days. She’s got a great sense of humour.”

That Merle Barwis will reach her remarkable milestone in Greater Victoria is particularly appropriate; the B.C. capital was named for the famous queen who ruled for 64 years in pre- and post-Confederation Canada — a woman who knew something about longevity herself.

And Barwis is believed to be this country’s last Victorian — the only person alive in Canada today who was born during Queen Victoria’s reign, an era that ended with the great monarch’s death at age 81 on Jan. 22, 1901.

That was one month after Barwis came into the world — as Merle Emeline Stedwell — on Dec. 23, 1900, in Des Moines, Iowa. As a toddler, she emigrated north and west with her family to the Canadian prairies, settling as homesteaders in Saskatchewan even before it became a province in 1905.

Raised on a horse ranch that her father established at Abbey, Sask., her future husband — ranch hand Dewey Barwis — won her heart and her father’s grudging approval by breaking an unruly filly that had resisted taming.

“There was a horse called Blue Jay and nobody could ride her,” she told an interviewer in 2010. “If you got on her she’d go over backwards.”

Dewey Barwis, however, “got on and he could ride her.”

The couple married in 1923; he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway and they raised three children in rural Saskatchewan.

“Some of her favourite memories are of riding horses,” said Richard Barwis. “She was a real cowgirl, for sure.”

As retirement and grandchildren came, Merle and Dewey Barwis moved to B.C. and into a house in Sooke next to one of their sons (Richard’s father), living there for about 15 years before Dewey died in 1966.

Many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren followed, and Merle Barwis’s direct descendants now number about 40. She finally moved to a nursing home in Sooke about a decade a go and later to the long-term-care hospital in Langford, a Victoria suburb.

“If you’re old you’re old, if you’re young you’re young. What can you do about it?” Barwis said two years ago, when she was first identified as B.C’s oldest person. “If every year I get a year older, you can’t do anything about it. You might as well just go along with it.”

And so she has.

Barwis became Canada’s oldest person on April 18 upon the death of 113-year-old Cora Hansen of Medicine Hat, Alta. Hailed at the time by Alberta Premier Alison Redford as a “true Alberta pioneer,” Hansen, too, had been born in the U.S. — Minnesota — before becoming part of the same stream of prairie pioneers that also drew Barwis’s family to Canada in the opening years of the 20th century.

Barwis, as it happens, was born on an auspicious date in Canadian and global history — the same day that Quebec-born inventor Reginald Fessenden and his assistant, Alfred Thiessen, achieved the world’s first wireless transmission of the human voice between two signal stations near Washington, D.C., heralding the dawn of the radio age.

Barwis has, of course, witnessed other technological revolutions during her long life, framed at one end by her horse-and-buggy migration to Canada during the prime ministership of Wilfrid Laurier and at the other — in the days leading to her 112th birthday on Sunday — news of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s historic arrival at the International Space Station to assume command of the orbiting laboratory.

Barwis is one of two Canadians currently listed among the world’s 64 verified “supercentenarians” — individuals 110 years of age of older — by the U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group, an acknowledged authority in the field that currently ranks the 115-year-old Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura as the oldest known person on Earth.

Listed as the world’s 29th oldest person, Barwis was born about three months ahead of No. 37 — 111-year-old France Thibodeau of Rogersville, N.B., the country’s oldest Canadian-born citizen and a recipient earlier this year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Two other ultra-elderly Canadians believed to have been born later in 1901 than Thibodeau — Gloriam Bellerive-Hébert of Quebec and Adéa Pellerin-Cormier of New Brunswick — are currently identified as “unverified” supercentenarians.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health also has a woman on its books who is listed as having been born July 1, 1899. But that person — potentially 113 today and more than a year older than Barwis — has not been identified due to privacy concerns, and her age remains unverified.

The number of Canadians who live beyond 100 is growing steadily, and 2012 was a banner year for centenarians. In May, a Statistics Canada release of 2011 census data indicated there were 5,825 people in the country aged 100 or older, a total that had increased by about 1,200 since the previous national headcount in 2006 and by more than 2,000 since the 2001 census.

StatsCan officials have also predicted a continuous climb in the country’s centenarian population for about the next 50 years, with the number of century-old Canadians expect to reach 78,300 in 2061 — the year the 1961 crest of the postwar Baby Boom reaches age 100.

But reaching 110 is an extremely rare occurrence in Canada; there are only about 40 documented supercentenarians in the country’s history. Barwis once told an interviewer her secret to a long life: “Keep busy and mind your own business.”

Richard Barwis said the family is gratified about his grandmother’s superlative achievement and the attention her long and well-lived life has received in recent years.

“We feel real privileged about that,” he said, adding that his grandmother — though no longer able to walk — has been fortunate to find a happy home in Langford where she can continue to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

“Her big deal is she gets her hair done and has a bath — that’s a big day for her. And she really looks forward to her supper,” he said. “They all love her in there. And they all take time to try to talk to her. She’s a great personality.”
Frieda Szwillus (born 30 March 1902) is a German supercentenarian who has been Germanys oldest living person since the death of Gertrud Henze on 22 April 2014. In 1902 she was born in Dessau, today in Saxony-Anhalt, as Frieda Hennig and had 6 siblings of whom three reached almost 100. In 1908 she and her family moved to Erla. Szwillus was married two times, raised one biological and three step-children and has outlived all of them. Frieda Szwillus has always lived modestly and sparingly. One reason for this might be that she worked for less money in a hosiery mill.

At the end of 2011 Szwillus was bedridden for some weeks but recovered. Until now the great-great-grandmother is living at home in Raschau with her family and needs no medicine: Mrs. Szwillus is in a good physical but not mental condition in consequence of suffering from dementia. Szwillus’ family traces her longevity to having a lively family life. She often visited her siblings but never went on vacation. Furthermore Szwillus was only physically active during her youth. Later she enjoyed knitting and embroidering much more. She has been verified by the GRG on 22 May 2014.
Still 'drinkable': 200-year-old booze found in shipwreck

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Live Science Contributor · Published August 18, 2014

A 200-year-old stoneware seltzer bottle that was recently recovered from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea contains alcohol, according to the results of a preliminary analysis.


Researchers discovered the well-preserved and sealed bottle in June, while exploring the so-called F53.31 shipwreck in Gdansk Bay, close to the Polish coast. Preliminary laboratory tests have now shown the bottle contains a 14-percent alcohol distillate, which may be vodka or a type of gin called jenever, most likely diluted with water.

The chemical composition of the alcohol corresponds to that of the original brand of "Selters" water that is engraved on the bottle, according to the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk, Poland.

The bottle is embossed with the word "Selters," the name of a supplier of high-quality carbonated water from the Taunus Mountains area in Germany. Water from Selters was discovered about 1,000 years ago, which makes it one of the oldest types of mineral water in Europe, and one whose alleged health benefits are legendary. [See Images of the Seltzer Bottle and Baltic Shipwreck]

"The bottle dates back to the period of 1806-1830 and has been recovered during the works on the F-53-31 shipwreck, or the so-called Glazik," which in Polish means a small rock, Tomasz Bednarz, an underwater archaeologist the National Maritime Museum who leads the research on the shipwreck, said in a statement last month.

The bottle, which has a capacity of about 34 ounces, was manufactured in Ranschbach, Germany, a town located about 25 miles away from the springs of Selters water.

In addition to the bottle, researchers exploring the shipwreck also recovered fragments of ceramics, a small bowl, a few pieces of dinnerware, stones and rocks, Bednarz said.

At the beginning of July, researchers submitted the bottle and its contents for testing to the J.S. Hamilton chemical laboratory in Gdynia, Poland, to see if the vessel contained original "Selters" water, or whether it had been refilled with a different liquid. The final results of the laboratory analysis are expected to be completed at the beginning of September, though their preliminary results suggest the bottle had been refilled with some kind of alcohol.

How does it taste? Apparently, the alcohol is drinkable, the archaeologists involved told the news site of Poland's Ministry of Science and Science Education. "This means it would not cause poisoning. Apparently, however, it does not smell particularly good," Bednarz said, according to the Ministry.

The springs of Selters water eventually went dry at the beginning of the 19th century, and therefore the water became much harder to obtain, according to the National Maritime Museum in Gdansk.

In 1896, a group of Selters residents decided to look for new sources of the legendary water, and, after they made multiple boreholes, a fountain of water exploded from one of the wells in an area near a local castle.

These days, Selters is sold as a luxury product. Although glass bottles have replaced the stoneware bottles, the water quality is believed to be the same as it was when the water was originally discovered.
Fanny Félicie Florentine Pardon-Godin (born May 27, 1902) is, at the age of 112 years, 86 days, the oldest living person of Belgium since the death of Germaine Degueldre (born September 26, 1900) on 11 May 2012.


She was born in Huy (Hoei), in the province of Liege, and lives in Zoutleeuw (Leau), which is part of the province of Flemish Brabant. Godin is the second oldest Belgian person ever and one of only two Belgian person to have reached the age of 112. The oldest person ever from Belgium was Joanna Deroover (June 3, 1890 – December 6, 2002).

Godin was born on May 27, 1902, the youngest of four daughters. She married Jacques Pardon (1907-1977) in 1941. They had a daughter, Claude, in 1944. She did not have grandchildren. She was also able to swim until she was 109 years old.
Sakari Momoi (百井 盛 Momoi Sakari?, born February 5, 1903) is a Japanese supercentenarian who is, at the age of 111 years, 196 days, the world's oldest living man since the death of 111-year-old Alexander Imich on June 8, 2014; Imich was only one day older than Momoi.

Momoi served as the first president of Hanawa Fukushima Prefectural Technical High School from 1948 to 1951. He also served as the principal of Saitama Prefectural Yono High School from 1953 to 1959. In an interview on Respect for the Aged Day in September 2013, he told reporters that he wanted to live for two more years. On June 10, 2014 it was reported that Momoi had been hospitalized in Tokyo.
Lemuel Cook

Although the articles copied here give Lem credit as the last survivor he most likely was not. He was, however, the last surviving pensioner of the Revolutionary War.



This By Frank W. Cook as told to him by Lemuel Cook.

Lemuel Remembers Washington

As a young lad I had an opportunity none will have again. We, the Cook kids who grew up at Clarendon were told about the Revolutionary War by it's last soldier, our Great Grandfather, Lemuel Cook, who we more affectionately called grampa Lem. He would delight in telling us about his life and we were glad to listen. We'd watch for Lemuel to come out and sit in his rocker either on his front porch or under the big old elm tree in the front yard, as he always did on warm summer afternoons. We would watch for him to motion us to come over with his cane, he always knew we were watching and would run to see who would get there first for the best seat. It would usually start with a question. Tell us about George Washington, what did he look like? He would say "let me think on it", a gleam would come to his eye and he would begin to speak slowly and deliberately.

I saw General Washington a few times, said a few words to him and he back to me. I'll not forget. First time I set eyes on him was at White Plains or thereabouts. I'd joined up at the first call and those first couple of years were hard ones. Our company was resting near White Plains after being pushed off the Island and out of New York City and. up River. My job was with Major Tallmadge, being in the Light Dragoons we had horses to take care of. Mine was a good ole Bay I'd brought from home. I was caring for my horse and a couple of others that needed rubbing down and heard a commotion a ways down the road. I could see by the uniforms it was officers leading several company's of Foot. One fellow sat in the saddle head and shoulders above the others. I knew he must be the General, we had heard how large a man he was. As they came closer all I could do was stand there with my mouth open. An officer in front gave me a dirty look like to be saying, "How Come you don't salute?" I whipped off a good fancy one. The officers dismounted and went to talk with the Major I suppose. I went back to my horse, a while later the General came around the headquarters where I was, to stretch his legs I suppose and said, "Is that your horse soldier?" "Yes, Sir", said I coming to attention. He put me at ease and asked my name, "Lemuel Cook, from Connecticut, Sir". "That's a right smart mount you have there Lemuel Cook from Connecticut". "He's done good by me, General" said I. "Well, you take care of him, you will be glad you did", with that the General went about his business. That's all there was to it, I'll never forget though, all the things that must have been pressing on him he took time for a kind word. He had the kindest look in the eyes I've ever seen. Got the chance to see him a few times more being in the quartermasters, they called us artificers in them days. Didn't see him again until some two, maybe three years later. We were going down thru the Head of Elk, things were better, we had been winning we knew we had a big battle coming up somewhere to the south. Scuttle butt was that the General had gone on ahead and would meet us along the way. Ws had stopped and I was minding my own business paying' no mind to no one when I heard a rich full voice say, "Lem Cook, is that you?" "I thought that might be you with that Bay." I had whirled around with my eyes bugging out and mouth wide open again, amazed that he had remembered me. I finally managed a "Yes Sir", "It's very good to see you Sir". "I admire the lines of your Bay, Lem, I have one like it at Mount Vernon," "Yes Sir, he's a little worse for wear but I've been keeping.' your advice, my brothers made me promise to bring him back to the farm when there was done." 11That's what we are about, Private" and with that the General was gone as quickly as he appeared. I'd grow~ six inches since last time we'd met, he must have recognized the horse than me. It seems as though he still towered a foot over me. But I was ten. feet tall after that, they all asked "How come the General knows you?" they all asked. I didn't tell 'them. We saw him again at Yorktown, which turned out to be the big one where we was heading. Last time I spoke to him was at Danbury when he gave me my discharge, I was standing there with my brother, still have my' discharge here someplace, but will have to tell you about that another time. The General had a look about him you don't forget, there's hardly any words to describe him. Those were hard days for the most part but there was some good things about them too.

LEMUEL COOK Was born at his Father's farm in Northbury the eighth of nine children. Only five survived due to an epidemic that hit the family, the year Lemuel was born. It is not known but it is thought that his father received a part of the real estate that Henry III held at Northbury. It is known that they jointly owned a hundred acre section. In any event the family remained in the Thomaston - Plymouth vicinity and that the family were members of the First Congregational Church of Plymouth, which had been founded by Lemuel's grandfather, which was then called the Northbury Society. When Henry 4 died the family was left in depressed circumstances, but through it all the family remained together. Hannah became the guardian for True, Lemuel and Mary. Selah was only 16 but was apparently able to take care of himself and to contribute to the well being of the family. At the outbreak of the Revolution in 1775 Lemuel was the first of the Cook sons to enlist, Selah the second in 1776 and served for six months and returned to Northbury and then reenlisted in 1782 for 3 years, Trueworthy enlisted in 1777 and served for 3 years returning to Northbury to care for his mother while the other two fulfilled their service to their country. Seleh also remained at the farm during the period that True and Lemuel were fighting so that there was someone always at home to assure that the family was well looked after.
Lemuel served for the entire war and he was wounded several times but never seriously enough to keep him out of the thick of it for any length of time. Having received his discharge at the close of the war, Lemuel returned to Northbury where he married Hannah Curtis in 1783. They remained in Connecticut for several years and about 1788 the family came to Clinton, Oneida County, New York, where Lem later received 100 acres of Bounty Land for his service during the war. His brothers also came to Clinton, it is known they were first settlers of the town in 1788, their mother was also among the group that came with the Plymouth Congregational Society, as they are all mentioned in the early church records at Clinton during the first year of settlement. Lemuel and his family, for some reason returned to Plymouth before 1795 as he was one of the incorporators of the Village of Plymouth that year, changing the name from Northbury. He remained in Connecticut until 1804 when he re*turned to New York. The family settled at Pompey in Onondaga County. Both True and Selah had also emigrated there with their families before 1795, and here again they were first settlers of the town where they both purchased large tracts of land. True later went north to Granby Center, N.Y. where he died in 1822, nothing further is known of Selah it is thought that he remained at Pompey.

Lemuel purchased a farm of 60 acres which had originally been part of True's holdings. The farm was in the Military Tract at Pompey at the southern edge of the Indian reservation and was located a short distance north of the village on the Henneberry Poad. He was successful in operation of the farm for a number of years. In 1818 he applied for his first pension, his wounds had begun to make it increasingly difficult for him to perform the hard labor required in the operation of the farm, particularly a farm as large as his and his younger sons then living with him were not yet old enough to be of much assistance to him. Both Lemuel Jr. and Miles were also residing at Pompey at this time, they undoubtedly were able to help their father to some extent, but they had farms and families of their own to take care of making it difficult to extend the extensive assistance which was obviously necessary. In 1821 Lemuel sold the farm at Pompey and came to North Bergen in Genesee County where Curtis had emigrated a few years before.

Curtis was as yet unmarried and had come to western New York with Richard Brown and his family and had helped him carve out an existence in the wilderness, they were the first white settlers at Byron. With the help of Curtis as they apparently pooled their efforts until 1824, when Curtis married , Lemuel's youngest sons Gilbert and Saleh were then able to be of great assistance to their father in the operation of the farm and they did quite well and prospered. In 1828 Lem purchased a section of Curtis' first farm and he also owned other large sections at North Bergen. About 1832 the family removed to Clarendon a short distance north an west of the farm at North Bergen, where Lemuel was to remain the rest of his life. Gilbert married and Selah remained with his dad and between the two all did well at Clarendon. Elm's farm reached 100 acres and was located on the South Holley Road at the southeast corner of the Munger Road. The farms of his sons and grandsons were also located very near and abutted Lemuel's last farm. After the death of his first wife Lemuel married again, his wife Ruth was a former resident of Monroe County in the town of Sweden before her marriage.

Lemuel and Selah worked the farm until 1851 when Selah decided to try his hand on his own in Michigan and removed to Flint in Genesee County. Lemuel retired from farming shortly thereafter and sold the farm to Rathburn Tousley his grandson, who helped Lem after Selah left and continued to operate the farm for a number of years before he emigrated to the Dakota Territory. Lemuel remained at the farm until 1860 when his wife died and abided by the wishes of his sons that he should take life easy after nearly 80 years of farming. He divided his time between Gilbert and True who took care of him during his declining years, and often walked to Clarendon with the help of a cane he was then obliged to use to pick up his pension, and to see that his grandsons and great grandsons held of his exploits in the war and among the Indians which he always enjoyed recalling.

From 1818 until the day he died Lemuel remained on the pension rolls, in 1828 his stipend allowance was increased to $l00 per year, in 1855 he received an additional 60 acres of Bounty Land which he used for acreage at Clarendon. Under pension laws passed by Congress in 1864 and 1865 he re*ceived $200 and $500, which he received the last year of his life. There can be no doubt that he was on the pension rolls longer than any other veteran of the Revolutionary War. He remains the oldest resident ever to have lived in Orleans County. It has long been kown by the family and a generally accepted fact that he was the Oldest Survivor of the Revolution and that he was the Last of the survivors that were on the rolls with him, the closest being at least a year younger.

By 1840 all of Lemuel's children had also emigrated to western New York and to Clarendon, the family can now be found all over the United States and several parts of the world. All of whom can trace their family line to a small country village in western New York to a proud determined individual who has left us an extremely rich heritage. The place where he rests is in the small family cemetery where the peace is broken only by the wind in the trees and an occasional visitor, time may obliterate the monument of stone marking his passing but can never diminish the monument to his memory which is in each of us.


Interview With LEMUEL COOK Surviving Dragoon

Of all the men who had marched with Washington. and Arnold, with Gates and Greene and Mad Anthony Wayne, only seven were still alive. All were past 100 years, the eldest, Lemuel Cook was 105 years of age.

Lemuel Cook is the oldest survivor of the Revolution. He lives in the town of Clarendon, Orleans County, New York. His age is 105 years. Mr. Cook was born in Northbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut September 10th 1759 the son of Henry Cook and a grandson of the first settler of the town also named Henry Cook. He enlisted at Watertown when only sixteen years old. He was mustered in at Northampton in the Bay State 2nd Regiment of Light Dragoons in the command of Colonel Elisha Sheldon in the Company of Captain William Stanton. He served throughout the war and was discharged at Danbury, Conn. June 12, 1783. The circumstances of his service he relates as follows?
"When I applied to enlist, Captain Hallibud told me I was so small he could not take me unless I would enlist for the war. The first time I smelt gun powder was at Valentine's Hill (Westchester, N.Y. Oct 1776). A troop of British horse were coming, 'Mount your horses in a minute', cried the Colonel. I was on mine as quick as a squirrel. There were two fires-crash! Up came Parrow, good old soul, and said, 'Lem, what do you think of gunpowder? Smell good to you?'

The first time I was ordered on sentry was at Dobb's Ferry. A man came out of a barn and leveled his piece and fired. I felt the wind of the ball. A soldier near me said, 'Lem, they mean you, go on the other side of the road.' So I went over, and pretty soon another man came out of the barn and aimed and fired. He didn't come near me. Soon another came out and fired. His ball lodged in my hat. By this time the firing had aroused the camp and a company of our troops came on one side, and a party of the French on the other and they took the men in the barn prisoner and brought them in. They were cow boys. This was the first time I saw the French in action. They stepped as though on edge. They were a dreadful proud nation. When they brought the men in, one of them had the impudence to ask, 'Is the man here we fired at just now?' 'Yes,' said Major Tallmadge, 'There he is, that boy.' Then he told how they had each laid out a crown and agreed that the one that brought me down should have the three. When he got through with his story, I stepped to my holster and took out my pistol, and walked up to him and said, 'If I've been a mark to you for money, I'll take my turn now. So, deliver your money or your life! He handed over four crowns and I got three more from the other two."

Mr. Cook was at the Battle of Brandywine (September 11, 1777) and at Cornwallis' Surrender (October 19, 1781). Of the latter he gives the following account :

"It was reported that Washington was going to storm New York. We made a by-law in our regiment that every man should stick with his horse, if his horse went he should go with him. I was waiter for the quartermaster, and so had a chance to keep my horse in good condition. Baron Steuben was mustermaster. He had us called out to select men and horses fit for service. When he came to me he said, 'Young man, how old are you?' I told him. 'Be on the ground tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock' said he. My colonel didn't like to have me go. 'You'll see,' said he 'they'll call for him tomorrow morning.' But they said if we had a by-law we had to abide by it. Next morning old Steuben had got my name, there were eighteen out of the regiment, 'Be on the ground' said he 'tomorrow morning with two days provisions.' 'You're a fool,' said the rest, they're going to storm New York.' No more idea of it than going to Flanders. My horse was a bay, and pretty. Next day I was the second on parade. We marched off towards White Plains. The 'left wheel' and struck right north. Got to King's Ferry, below Terrytown, there were boats, scows, etc. We went right across into the Jerseys. That night I slept with my back to a tree.
Then we went to Head of Elk. There the French were. It was dusty, 'Peered to me I should have chocked to death. One of 'em handed me his canteen, 'Lem,' said he, 'take a good horn, we're going to march all night.' I didn't know what it was, so I took a full drink. It liked to have strangled me. Then we were in Virginia. There wasn't much fighting. Cornwallis tried to force his way north to New York, but fell into the arms of LaFayette, and he drove him back. Old Rochambeau told 'em, I'll land five hundred from the fleet against your eight hundred.' But he darnst. We were on kind of a side hill. We had plenty little to eat and nothing under heaven to drink. We hove up some brush to keep the flies off. Washington ordered that there should be no laughing at the British, said it was bad enough to have to surrender without being insulted. The army came out with guns clubbed to their backs. They were paraded on a great smooth lot, and there they stacked their arms. Then came the devil-old women, and all (camp followers). One said, 'I wonder if the damned yankees will give me any bread.' The horses were starved out. Washington turned out with his horses and helped them up the hill. When they see the artillery, they said, 'There, them's the very artillery that belonged to Burgoyne.' Greene came across from the southward, the awfulest sight you ever see; Some I should presume had a pint of lice on 'em. No boots nor shoes."

The old man's talk is very fragmentary. He recalls the past slowly, and with difficulty, but when he has his mind fixed upon it, all seems to come up clear. His articulation also, is very imperfect, so that it is with difficulty that his story can be made out. Much of his experiences in the war seem gone from him, and in conversation with him he has to be left to the course of his own thoughts, inquiries and suggestions appearing to confuse him. At the close of the war he married Hannah Curtis of Cheshire, Conn. and lived a while in that vicinity, after which he removed to Utica, New York. There he had frequent encounters with the Indians who still lived in the area. One with whom he had had some difficulty over cattle assailed him at a public house, as he was on his way home, coming at him with great fury, with a drawn knife. Mr. Cook was unarmed, but catching up a chair he presented it as a shield against the Indians thrusts until help appeared. He says he never knew what fear was, and always declared that no man would take him prisoner alive. His frame is large and his presence commanding, and in his prime must have possessed prodigious strength. He has evidently been a man of most resolute spirit, the old determination still manifesting itself in his look and words. His voice the full power of which he still retains, is marvelous for its strength and volume. Speaking of the present war, he said, in his strong tones, at the same time bringing down his cane with force upon the floor, 'It is terrible, but terrible as it is the rebellion must be put down'. He still walks comfortably with the use of a cane, and with the aid of glasses he reads his book, as he calls his Bible. He is fond of company, loves a joke and is good natured in a rough sort of way. He likes to relate his experiences in the army and among the Indians. He has voted democratic since the organization of the government, supposing that it still represents the same party it did in Jefferson's time. His pension, before it increased, was one hundred dollars. It has now increased to two hundred dollars. The old man's health is comfortably good and he enjoys life as much as could be expected at his great age. His home at present is with a son whose wife, especially seems to take kind and tender care of him. Altogether he is a noble old man, and long may it yet be before his name shall be missed from the rolls of his country's deliverers. -Elias Brewster Hillard.
This piece has been published several times in various forms. The original author's manuscript is at the New York State Library at Albany, which also included two pictures of Lemuel.

Copy of Article in Rochester Union Advertiser May 22, 1866

Lemuel Cook, who is believed to be the last of the Revolutionary heroes and pensioners, died at Clarendon, Orleans Co. New York on Sunday evening, the 20th at the home of his son True W. Cook.
Mr. Cook according to his own statement was born in Plymouth, Litchfield County, Connecticut. The year of his birth is uncertain, but from statements made to the writer some years ago, when his mind was unimpaired, he was probably born in 1764. He was about 17 years old when he entered the service of his country in the spring of 1781.

A writer for the New York Herald, in giving a sketch of the surviving Revolutionary pensioners on October 10, 1863 states that, "He enlisted for the 2nd Light Dragoons, Col. Sheldon, but was mustered into Stanton's company of infantry, and continued in that company and in the service of the United States until June 1783, when he was, at the termination of the war, discharged at Danbury, Conn."
He has retained in his possession a copy from the War Department of his discharge, signed by George Washington, which states that he was a private in the 2nd Light Dragoons, Conn. Regiment. His field officers were stated as Col. Sheldon, Lieut. Jennison, and Major Benjamin Tallmadge.
The date of discharge is the same as stated in the Herald, it winds up as follows; The above named Lemuel Cook has been honored with the badge of merit for three years faithful service."
Soon after entering the service, Mr. Cook marched with the army to that memorable campaign in Virginia,. and was at the closing struggle at Yorktown, and witnessed the surrender of Cornwallis on the 19th of October 1871.

Mr. Cook moved from Conn. to Oneida Co., New York, thence to Bergen, Genesee Co. and from the latter place to Clarendon, N.Y. where he has resided for about 30 years.

Mr. Cook was a life long Democrat in his politics, and until within a few years ago was punctual in his attendance at town meetings and elections. He continued to write his name to orders and pension papers until the last winter when he became to enfeebled to write. His autograph has been sought for from all parts of the country. In the spring of 1861 a Hartford publisher sent an artist to procure his photograph, the first and only one that has been taken of him and the picture is remaricably correct.
Among the last autographs is one now in the possession of the Bureau of Military records at Albany, furnished at the request of Mr. Doty.

According to the statement of the Herald, there was on the twelfth of March 1861 12 surviving Revolutionary pensioners in the southern states. (This has now been proved to have been entirely false.)

The funeral will take place tomorrow at 10 in the morning in a grove near the house of his son, Curtis Cook, if pleasant, in the south east corner of Clarendon. As 'Ir. Cook was a Mason he will be buried under its honors as well as those of war, the Rev. Col. James T. Fuller has been sent for to officiate as chaplain of the ceremonies which will be attended to the burial of the Last Survivor of the Army of the Revolution.

Clarendon, May 22, 1866 -George M. Copeland.

There are several false statements made in this piece, but it is the most nearly correct of any of the articles published at the time of Lemuel's death.

The following piece appeared in the ORLEANS REPUBLICAN May 24, 1866

Lemuel Cook Sr, the last of the Revolutionary heroes, died on Sunday night in Clarendon, N.Y at the age of 107 years. He was born in Plymouth Conn. and at the age of 16 years he entered the Army of the Revolution, first in the Dragoons and then in the infantry under Colonel Sheldon. Mr. Cook in the second enlistment served 3 years in the Army, was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown and took an honorable discharge at the close of the war which was signed by General George Washington. Mr. Cook came to western N.Y, to reside over 30 years ago. He has been in feeble health for a couple of years past but up until 1864 was quite active The funeral of Lemuel Cook took place on Wednesday, none of the churches were large enough to accomodate the crowd attending so the body was taken to a nearby grove where he laid in state and the funeral service was held. The masonic fraternity took charge of the proceedings. The sermon was preached by the Reverend James M. Fuller, his discourse will be remembered as a masterpiece, his text taken from the Psalms 44-1 to 3. The burial was also with military honors at the family cemetery a short distance down the road.

The following description of the funeral appears in Copeland's History of Clarendon at page 284
A large procession brought Lemuel from the home of his son True to the woods across from the farm of his son Curtis, where the funeral was held. A few boards were placed in front of the speaker, where the coffin rested, and the large audience seated themselves as best they could, and for two hours listened to the eloquent words which came forth in memory of the departed soldier. The text was taken from the words, "We have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us". This was the most impressive funeral that ever took place in Clarendon, and the only one that has ever been held in that most beautiful and grand of all God's temples, the woods, where the golden pencils of light came streaming down through the arches of shade in all the richness of glory and softness of perfect peace and hollowed rest. In the words of Byron--"He has fought his last fight, He has seen his last battle, No sound can awaken him to glory again."
-David Sturges Copeland 1888

Mrs. Nettie Cook Smith often spoke of her memory as a little girl following the funeral procession from the home of True Cook on the Merrill Road, where Lemuel lived the last years of his life, to the large wooded section directly across from the farm of Curtis Cook on the fiunger Road for the funeral, and then on to the cemetery service a short distance down the road to the west. Nettie was a daughter of Franklin and grand daughter of Lemuel Cook Jr.

This article -By ROBERT SPENCER

It was July, 1864. Still another year of agony and desolation faced the nation divided by Civil War.

"It is terrible." Lemuel Cook, 105, of Clarendon, Orleans County, New York, was speaking of the carnage. "But, terrible as it is, the rebellion must be put down." And, as though making an exclamation point, he brought down his cane with force upon the floor.

Lemuel Cook was the oldest of the North's 12 surviving veterans of the American Revolution. And for a moment, the old determination flared again and out of his past, out of the present tumult and pain and pride, came the salty account of another struggle - Yorktown, Oct. 19, 1781, final British defeat in the American War of Independence.

Cook had been with General Washington's army at Yorktown and at Cornwallis' surrender there. Of the latter, the very old man now spoke, "slowly and with difficulty" and "his talk broken and fragmentary:"
"We were on a kind. of side hill. We had plaguey little to eat and nothing to drink under heaven. We hove up some brush to keep the flies off. Washington ordered that there should be no laughing at the British; said it was bad enough to have to surrender ... The army came out with guns clubbed on their backs ... Then came the devil - old women and all ... The horses were starved out. Washingtcn turned out with his horses and helped them up the hlll ... Greene came from the southard; the awfullest set you ever see. Some, I should presume, had a pint of lice on 'em. No boots or shoes."

Cook's interviewer that summer day in 1864 was the Rev. Illias Brewster Hillard, a Congregational minister from Connecticut. He was on a long journey - by rail, stage coach and horse - to visit and photograph the last 12 pensioners of the Revolutionary War. They lived from Maine to Missouri.
A strong sense of urgency spurred Hillard on the mission he had undertaken for N. A. and R. A. Moore, Hartford, Conn., publishers, who wanted to record the first hand stories and photographs of "The Last Men of the Revolution." Each man already was at least 100 years old.

Near Rochester lived two of The Last Men: - - Lemuel Cook, of Clarendon, who had served three years as a private in a Connecticut regiment, the Second Light Dragoons. Before witnessing Cornwallis' surrender, he was at Brandywine and in other battles. After the war he became a farmer near Utica. Late in life he went to live with his son in Clarendon, five Miles south of Holley.

- - Alexander Milliner, of Adams Basin, Monroe County, about midway between Spencerport and Brockport. He had been a First New York Regiment drummer boy for 3½ years, was at the Valley Forge encampment and was wounded in the thigh at the battle of Monmouth.

Hillard found that in the Continental army Milliner apparently was "the life of the camp, could dance and sing, 'nothing troubling him over five minutes at a time' ... he is small, more so than his picture would indicate." His enthusiasm never waned. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Milliner, then 101, wanted to take his drum. and go to Rochester and beat for volunteers. The drum now is part of the permanent collection of Irondequoit Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.

In the e'arly 1800s Milliner built boats and operated an Erie Canal dock in Rochester. He died in 1865 at age 105 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Rochester.

Still standing in Clarendon is the 143 year-old house in which Lemuel Cook lived and where, in 1866, he died at age 106.

Since 1934 the house has heen the home of Clarendon Supervisor and Mrs. Alvin Hilfiker. They have made many architectural changes in the building in the last 35 years.
The house is at 16575 Boots Road, near the Byron-Holley Road, in the southeastern corner of Orleans County.

Hilfiker was elected Clarendon supervisor four years ago.

Cook's closest surviving relative is thought to be a great-great-grand niece, Mrs. Gilbert L. Kishlar of 113 South Main St., Holley.


The above post card incorectly states his age at death as 102.
It was actually 106.
- F. W. Cook

In 1840, according to the Federal Census there were literally hundreds of surviving Revolutionary Soldiers on the rolls of our country's deliverers. The next quarter century would see them all swept away, all but one. By 1863 there were only 12 Veterans living, Whose names appeared on the pension rolls and Official records of the Nation. They passed to their reward in the following order.

Amaziah Goodwin, Alfred, Maine died June 22, 1863 aged 105 years
Benjamin Miller, Albany, New York, died September 24, 1863 aged 100 years
John Goodnow of Boston, Mass. died October 22, 1863 at age 102
James Berman, of Missouri, died January 10, 1864 at 102 years
Samuel Downing, Edinburg, New York died March 16, 1864 aged 102
Jonas Gates, Chelsea, Vermont died March 18, 1864 at 101 years of age
John Pettingill of Henderson, New York, died April 23, 1864 at 99 years of age
Rev. Daniel Waldo, Syracuse, New York, died July 30, 1864, aged 103 years
William Hutchins of York, Maine, died August 4, 1864 at age 102 years
Adam Link, Sulphur Springs, Ohio died August 15, 1864 at age 103 years
Alexander Milliner, Adams Basin, New York died March 15, 1865 aged 105 years

Lemuel Cook of Clarendon, New York died May 20, 1866 at 107 years of his age.

Lemuel was clearly the eldest of all of these Last Survivors and he was without any question the Last Pensioner the last year of his life. In 1867 the 39th Congress gave pensions to two other men by "Special Acts" in their behalf because they could not meet the criterion of previous pension laws, they were; John Gray of Brookfield, Ohio who died March 29, 1868, age unknown, who served less than six months; and Daniel F. Bakeman of Freedom, NY who died April 5, 1869. The only existing reference to his age is on his headstone which says he wes 109 years, nor is there any existing record of his service in NY where he said he served nor in the National Archive., nor record of the testimony given before the 39th Congress prior to the passage of his Bill. Be that as it may, while he lived Lemuel was the Oldest and the Last Survivor and was born before the two that were added to the rolls after his death. With any distinction there are and have been those who would lay claim to it, I say let them prove it, if they can, none have yet succeeded.

There are many Revolutionary Soldiers that appear in our Cook and related families, we have yet to determine an exact number here are a few of them.

Selah Cook 1756-1809 Private Ct
Trueworthy Cook 1758-1822 Private Ct
William Tousley Jr. 1761-1827 Private Vt father of Orson and Matilda Tousley
Timothy Coleman 1752-1831 Lieut. NY father of Joshua Coleman
Jonathan Mason 1733-1771 Lieut Ct grandfather of Susan (Mrs. Lemuel Cook Jr.)
William Stewart ? NJ maternal grandfather Eva Bird (Mrs. Edgar Howe)
Benjamin Pettingill 1761-1844 Pvt. Mass mater. grandf. Amos P. wetherbee and father of Mary Pettingill Rice (Mrs. Beckwith Cook)
Daniel Cook 1763-1806 Pvt Mass grandf. of Mary Ann wife of Homer Cook
William Millikin 1752-1808 Pvt NH great grandf. Julia - Mrs. Dallas D. Cook
Samuel Lewis 1749-1790 Pvt Mass great grandf. of Florence Lewis Harrison
Ebenezer Soul. 1750-1812 Pvt NY grandf. of Martha Jane - Mrs. Joshua Coleman II
Moses Holmes II ? grandf. of John Holmes II

These are only a few with connecting relationships in the 5th, 6th and 7th Generations there are many many others. There are extensive records of their service all of it most interesting. As many as 15 soldiers have been discovered in one family, that number may prove to be greater. This seems to be the case in many of our families, perhaps this is coincidence, we cannot know. In any case it is remarkable, and something we have every reason to be proud and thankful for. --- F. W.Cook


I Lemuel Cook, pf the Town of Clarendon in the County of Orleans and state of New York, considering the uncertainty of this mortal life, and being of sound mind and memory, do make publish this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following: that is to say

Firstly, I give and bequeath to my eldest son MILES COOK the sum of one hundred dollars, I also give and bequeath to my daughter ESTHER COLEMAN the sum of ten dollars, I also give and bequeath to my son LEMUEL COOK Junior the sum of two hundred dollars, I also give and bequeath to my son WORTHY COOK the sum of one hundred dollars, I also give and bequeath to my son LYMAN COOK the sum of two hundred dollars, I also give and bequeath to my daughter ELECTA TOUSLEY the sum of ten dollars, I also give and bequeath to my son CURTIS COOK the sum of two hundred dollars, I also give and be*queath to my son GILBERT COOK the sum of four hundred dollars, I also give and bequeath to my grandson EDGAR HOWE the sum of forty dollars, and I do hereby enjoin upon my son Gilbert Cook and James M. Hollister, whom I do hereby appoint executors of this my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me made, and that I also give good and sufficient bail that my wife RUTH COOK shall be supported in a good and decent manner, with all the necessities of life so long as she shall remain my widow, her support and living to be amply secured to her before the above legacies shall be paid, unless in the opinion and judgment of the executors, by and with the advice of the Surrogate there is amply sufficient real and personal estate to pay the aforesaid legacy and secure to my wife Ruth Cook her support and living as aforesaid. And lastly, as to all the rest, residue and remainder of my personal estate goods and chattels, lands, tensments of what soever kind and nature I give and bequeath to LEMUEL COOK Jr., WORTHY COOK, LYMAN COOK, CURTIS COOK, MILES COOK, GILBERT COOK and ESTHER COLEMAN and ELECTA TOUSLEY, to be equally divided between them. And my Will is that the above legacies or bequeathments be paid to the above named persons as soon after my death as the goods and chattels, real and personal estate can be sold to good advantage by the executors. Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 27th day of April in the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Fifty Five.

LS.---------- Seal

Signed sealed published and declared by the above named Lemuel Cook, to be his last Will and Testament, in the presence of us, who have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses in the presence of the testator.



The petition of GILBERT COOK of the Town of Clarendon in the County of Orleans and state of New York, respectfully shows: That Lemuel Cook Sr. late of the Town of Clarendon in the said County of Orleans, deceased, died in the said town of Clarendon on or about the Twentieth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-six, being at that time an inhabitant of the County of Orleans; that he died leaving a Last Will and Testament, which is now produced in the Surrogate's Court of the said County of LEMUEL COOK Orleans, before the said Surrogate, which bears the date 27th day of April in the year of our Lord 1855, and by which said Last Will and Testament the said deceased nominated and appointed Gilbert Cook and James M. Hollister executors thereof; that the said deceased died possessed of Real and Personal Estate in the said County of Orleans; and that the following named persons are all the heirs at law and next of kin of the said deceased, and their respective ages and places of residence are as follows:

TRUE WORTHY COOK, MILES COOK, GILBERT COOK, CURTIS COOK all residing at Clarendon, Orleans Co., N.Y.

ELECTA TOUSLEY, residing in Gaines, Orleans Co., N.Y. LYMAN COOK, residing in Buffalo, Wisconsin

SELAH COOK, residing in Flint, Michigan All adult children of the said deceased

MERRITT COOK, CHARLES COOK, and FANNY HAMMOND all residing in Clarendon, N.Y. HOMER COOK residing in Lake Mills, Wisconsin grandchildren of the said deceased and children of LEMUEL COOK Jr. deceased, and EDGAR HOWE residing in Flint, Michigan grandchild of the said deceased and son of HANNAH HOWE deceased.

The above are all of full age and the only heirs and next of kin of the said deceased.

SPENCER COLEMAN, SIMEON D. COLEMAN, JOSHUA COLEMAN Jr., ELECTA RUYDER, and SALLY HOLMES, grandchildren of said deceased and children of ESTHER COLEMAN deceased, all of full age and residents of Clarendon, NY.

and that the Real and Personal Estate of the said deceased will not exceed the sum of $2,000.00.

Dated July 14th 1866 GILBERT COOK

Witnessed by the Clerk of Surrogate Court. LS. Seal

Although the proceedings of probate were begun by the family there was never any final disposition made by the court and the will was never probated.
Lemuel Cook (September 10, 1759 – May 20, 1866) was one of the last verifiable surviving veterans of the American Revolutionary War. He was born in Litchfield County, Connecticut to Henry Cook and his wife Hannah Benham. Enlisting in the Continental Army at the age of sixteen, Cook fought at Brandywine and in the Virginia campaign, and was present at Charles Cornwallis' surrender. He received an honorable discharge signed by George Washington on June 12, 1784. Following the war, Cook became a farmer and married Hannah Curtis. They had seven sons and three daughters.

Lemuel Cook died at the age of 106 and was buried with full military and masonic honors. He was one of seven Revolutionary War veterans who, having survived into the age of photography, were featured in the 1864 book The Last Men of the Revolution (which gives many more details of his life). He was the last survivor of 2nd Continental Light Dragoons. Cook lived long enough to see the end of the American Civil War.

John Gray (January 6, 1764 – March 29, 1868) was one of the candidates for last surviving U.S. veteran of the American Revolutionary War. He was confirmed a veteran of the war and awarded a pension of $500 semi-annually by House Bill 1044 (passed by Congress February 22, 1866). Journalist/attorney James M. Dalzell wrote a book published by Gibson Brothers, Printers in 1868 titled "John Gray, of Mount Vernon; The Last Soldier of the Revolution". As of the Fall of 1867 after the death of Samuel Downing in Edinburgh, Saratoga county, New York, John Gray was then believed by the Pension Office of the U.S. Department of the Interior to be the last surviving veteran.

His claim to the "last surviving veteran" of the War depends primarily on the failure of his competitors Daniel F. Bakeman and George Fruits, who died a year, and several years, after him to prove service during the war. Samuel Downing and Gray had been granted pensions, by special act of the U.S. Congress (in February 1867, retroactive to June 1, 1866). The special act was required because the two had not previously applied for pensions or service land grants. Bakeman was unable to prove his service; Gray, while able to prove his service, had only served six months; Fruits had never had any pension.

Gray was born on Mount Vernon plantation, home of George Washington, "hero of the Revolution." His father fought in the war and was killed in the Battle of White Plains. Gray joined at age 16 in 1780, and was eventually present at the Battle of Yorktown. After the war he moved to the Northwest Territory, and lived out most of his life in Noble County, Ohio. He had three wives during his life and fathered at least four children. He died at age 104 years, 2 months, 23 days.

A memorial to Gray is located along State Route 821 in Noble County's Noble Township.
Revolutionary War history: Last Ohio surviving soldier buried in Noble Co.
The Marietta Times (Ohio) ^ | March 22, 2013 | Jasmine Rogers

Revolutionary War history Last Ohio surviving soldier buried in Noble Co.

HIRAMSBURG-Nestled off the beaten path in Noble County in a small family cemetery are two headstones marking the final resting place of Private John Gray, the last surviving Revolutionary War soldier in Ohio, and the second to last in the nation.

Though Gray fought in many battles during the war, he otherwise did little that would have gained him renown.

He was born the oldest of eight into a poor laboring family near Mount Vernon, Va., and worked most of his life as a laborer. He was not a famous author or poet. Nor did he go on to further military glory after the war.

JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times

Joy Flood, the curator and manager of the Noble County Historic Jail Museum and Information Center, overlooks the final resting place of John Gray, the second to last surviving Revolutionary War solider in the country and the last in Ohio. Gray’s plot in the small McElroy Cemetery is marked with his original marker and a veteran’s marker provided by the government.

None the less, the humble man, who lived out much of his life just outside of Caldwell, was an icon, said Salem resident Nina Ronshausen, Gray's fourth-great granddaughter.

"He was one of the last patriots to die," she said.

When he passed away in 1868, Gray was 104 and the war was more than 80 years behind him. But more than 1,000 people came out to attend Gray's funeral, said Ronshausen.

About John Gray

Born Jan. 6, 1764 near Mount Vernon, Va.

Died March 29, 1868 near Hiramsburg, Noble County.

Joined the Revolutionary War at age 16.

Was a companion and employee of George Washington.

Aged 104 at death, Gray was the second to last living Revolutionary War soldier in the nation and the last in Ohio.

Source: Times research.

The Last Man of The Revolution (Written about John Gray)

By: James McCormick Dalzell

In the chill and snow of winter,

A dark and bitter night,

While the wind is mourning sadly,

Like a lone and ruined sprite,

In a cottage in Ohio

A poor lonely man

Sits counting o'er the hundred years

Since first his life began.

In that cabin is one window

With a broken many a pane,

Through which the snow keeps drifting

With all its might and main;

And the old man sits and shivers,

For his fire is very low,

And his blood has lost the fervor

Of a hundred years ago.

His gray head bows in sadness,

His prayer is murmured low,

But God can hear him now as well

As a hundred years ago.

Call the roll of the noble old heroes

Who battled at Washington's side,

And only this voice in the cabin

Will answer -for all the rest died

In poverty, sick, in distress, and alone,

Forgotten, neglected, yet he

Adorns the fair banner he fought for of yore,

And prays for the "Flag of the Free."

And it was not his advanced age or even his participation in the war itself that made Gray such an icon, she said.

"They honored Gray because he had shaken hands with (George) Washington. This was a tremendous thing for people in 1869 that Gray was someone who had known General Washington," she said.

In fact, Gray knew the founding father, said Joy Flood, manager and curator of the Noble County Historic Jail Museum and Information Center and a member of the Noble County Historical Society Board of Trustees.

"He and George Washington were friends," she said.

"I lived and was born near Mount Vernon, how could I do otherwise?" Gray told James McCormick Dalzell, a Civil War soldier and author who took an interest in chronicling Gray's life.

When the war ended, Gray returned to a life of labor, working at Washington's mill, said Flood. In his work, Gray had several occasions to briefly converse with the founding father who he greatly admired, wrote Dalzell.

"Mr. Gray never tired of speaking of General Washington," wrote Dalzell.

In fact, it might have been his inability to vote for his beloved leader that caused Gray to eventually leave his home in Virginia, where only property owners had the right to vote.

"The fact that he migrated west to such a dangerous place just so he could vote was so unique," said Ronshausen.

Gray eventually made his home near Hiramsburg, about 10 miles outside Caldwell.

There, the humble cottage he built -a symbol of his hard earned suffrage -still stands.

"There is a young couple in the process of restoring it," said Flood.

Just 100 yards from the small wooden cabin is the McElroy Cemetery, the family plot of where Gray was ultimately buried between his third wife and stepdaughter.

Gray's original headstone reads: "The last of Washington's companions/ The hoary head is a crown of glory."

Legacy of the Last Revolutionary War Survivor Lives On

Web Exclusive County: Noble County Author: Matt Pentz


Most drivers streaming down Route 77 on their way south from Cleveland do so ignorant of the humble grave that sits just miles off the highway. Just south of Belle Valley in Noble County is the final resting place of the last surviving soldier of the Revolutionary War, John Gray.

Gray was 104 when he died on March 29, 1868. “George Washington was the first soldier of the revolution; John Gray was the last soldier of the revolution,” a contemporary newspaper obituary said at the time.

It was not the only connection Gray had with the nation’s patriarch: he served under Washington during the war.

Today, Noble is working to ensure that the memories of Gray and other famous residents live on.

“It’s very important because it is part of our history,” said Joy Flood, manager of the Historic Jail Museum and Information Center in Caldwell. “We feel privileged to have people like this among our historical figures. It’s our responsibility to make sure that this information is available and the historical sites are available for anyone who has the desire to come visit them.”

The fruits of this responsibility can be seen all over the region. Apart from the well-kept gravesite, there are a handful of other monuments to Gray scattered throughout the area, including a life-size painting on the third floor of Noble’s historic 1934 courthouse.

“We’ve been promoting John Gray and celebrating his role in the Revolutionary War for quite a long time,” Joy said.

It is a legacy worth remembering and one particularly fitting for the area. Gray was a man without many worldly means, but he gave his all for a cause that he believed in. He may not have played the biggest role in the war effort, but the understated poetry of his sacrifices strike a powerful cord in Noble County.

The memory of John Gray is passed down for generations, and through the efforts of Joy and those like her, it is a story that will never be forgotten.