Last American Born in 19th Century Dies

Susannah Jones was the world's oldest person
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2016 12:51 AM CDT
Updated May 13, 2016 1:10 AM CDT
Last American Born in 19th Century Dies
In this June 22, 2015, photo, Lois Judge, left, holds a 1939 photo of her aunt Susannah Mushatt Jones, right, during an interview in Jones' room at the Vandalia Avenue Houses.   (Richard Drew)

Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world's oldest person, has died in New York at age 116. Robert Young, a senior consultant for the Gerontology Research Group, says Jones died at a senior home in Brooklyn, NY, Thursday night. He says she had been ill for the past 10 days, the AP reports. Jones was born in a small farm town near Montgomery, Ala., in July 1899. She was one of 11 siblings and attended a special school for young black girls. Family members have credited her long life to love of family and generosity to others. Young says 116-year-old Emma Morano of Italy, just a few months younger than Jones and believed to now be the only person alive born in the 19th century, is now the world's oldest person.

Jones—nicknamed "T" (short for "Auntie") by her 100 or so nieces and nephews—left the South in 1922 for a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy family in New Jersey, and she moved to New York the following year, New York reported in a look at her life late last year. She married a man called Henry Jones in 1928, but the marriage only lasted a few years. She stayed in domestic jobs until she retired in 1965. Jones moved to a seniors' home in 1980 but remained active in her neighborhood watch group until she was over 100. "I never drink or smoke. I surround myself with love and positive energy," she said when she was 106. "That's the key to long life and happiness." Jones also credited her longevity to a daily breakfast of eggs, grits, and four slices of bacon, the Independent reports. (Last week, America's oldest WWII vet died at the age of 110.)

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