Amidst all the serious information posted at my website, this item is intended to pass on a piece of personal information that has to be very rare so I thought I’d share it with readers of my website. I hope that you will find this interesting. My grandmother, Alda Collins, just celebrated her 111th birthday. According to Wikipedia’s list (see first link) Alda is officially the 17th oldest person in the USA, and, apparently, the 57th oldest in the world. There is a second list of people whose ages have not yet been officially verified. The second list includes pictures of my grandmother as one of eleven supercentenarians featured in another link.
I was especially fond of my grandmother as a child. I’ll share one story that she related to her offspring that will appeal to US Civil War buffs. My grandmother was born several decades after the US Civil War ended in 1865. She retold a story that her grandmother unexpectedly served a feast to some of the officers from General J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry during (or just prior to) the battle of Gettysburg. My ancestors’ farm was located in Southwest Pennsylvania and J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry was absent the first two days of the battle as they were busy riding all over Southwest Pennsylvania. A detachment of Stuart’s Confederate cavalry rode up to my ancestor’s farm and all the “men-folk” were absent (most likely in a hastily-mustered local militia). The women present promised the Confederate cavalry officers a sumptuous feast if they would behave themselves as gentlemen. They promised to do so, and a number of my female ancestors served a huge feast for the Confederate officers, who, indeed, behaved as gentlemen and behaved in a very chivalrous manner according to the stories I heard. After the meal they thanked my forebears and rode off with saddlebags filled with Pennsylvania’s finest foods (a gift for behaving like gentlemen).
Alda was featured on the FoxNews homepage last year in a story about her receiving some survivor benefits from the Veterans Administration. Her husband (my grandfather) was a sharpshooter in the United States Cavalry in World War I and my grandmother was, as of last year’s story, one of only two surviving spouses of World War I veterans in the USA. By now, she may be the last one alive.
I hope you found this little personal vignette of family history to be interesting.
As a final piece of information, my other grandmother died at the age of 104.