One ancestor I’m really trying to learn more about is my great-great-grandfather William (“Billie”) Sanford. He was born in 1809 in Virginia and died in 1916 in Texas at the age of 106! A book I read says that he is the oldest person buried in the “colored” section of the Old City Cemetery in Rockdale, Milam County, Texas. (170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas, by N.H. Holman).
William Sanford was born a slave in a part of Virginia that is now West Virginia. He either was born as, or later became, the property of the James Sanford family. The Sanfords moved to Williamson County, Tennessee some time before 1820. James Sanford died in 1849; his son, Reuben, had died in 1846. Reuben’s widow, Mary Wood Sanford, relocated her children and her slaves to Milam County, Texas in 1854. Those slaves included Billie Sanford. At some point in Texas, he married Emily Scott from North Carolina and they had four daughters, one of whom was my great-grandmother, Betty Sanford.
On Billie’s death certificate (below), the term “old age” is mentioned not less than three times!
There’s some longevity on my mother’s side of the family as well.
William Henry Long, my mother’s uncle, was born on March 21, 1889 and died on August 26, 1990, at age 101, in Kansas City, Missouri. The 1930 census says he was a truck driver.
Christina Alta Long Neal, sister of William Henry Long, was born on April 2, 1898, and died on September 14, 2000, at age 102, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Tina and Will’s sister, Rosetta Bell Long, was nearly a centenarian. She was born on May 28, 1900 and died on March 17, 1994, at age 93, in Kansas City, Missouri. “Rosie” never married but had a companion of over 50 years. I don’t know much about him, except that his name was “RJ.” After working in a laundry all of her life, Aunt Rosie retired at age 65. She taught herself to play the piano, and at age 68, she was ordained a minister by the Metropolitan Spiritual Church of Christ. She was pastor of Good Shepherd Spiritual Church in Kansas City for more than 20 years.
To her, age really was just a state of mind.
July 16, 2008 Wednesday at 4:24 am