New York: Susannah Mushatt Jones, the granddaughter of slaves who held the title of “world’s oldest living person” and “the last American born in the 19th century”, has died at the age of 116, it was reported on Friday.
Born in July 6, 1899, she passed away on Thursday in a Brooklyn nursing home where she had lived for three decades.
Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Jones, according to RT online, was born the same year the word “automobile” first appeared in text – and lived through two World Wars and 20 US presidents.
Jones credited her long life to not drinking, smoking or partying, a family member told NBC, adding that the fresh fruit and vegetables she ate during her childhood helped maintain her health.
One of 11 siblings, she graduated from school in 1922 before working full-time picking crops with family members on the same land her grandparents farmed as slaves.
Her grandmother lived to be 117 years old, according to US census data.
She was accepted into Tuskegee Institute’s teaching programme. But as her parents could not afford the tuition fees, she left for New Jersey and then New York where she found work as a nanny and housekeeper.
Married once with no children, she returned to Alabama after retiring in 1965. But as more of her family moved north, she returned to New York where she lived until her death.
At age 80, she moved into an elder home in Brooklyn where she continued to cook for herself and partake in the neighbourhood watch until she was 100.
She refused cataract surgery, leaving her blind and partially deaf.
Her reign as the world’s oldest person commenced last year when 117-year-old Misao Okawa died in Tokyo in April 2015.
Now, 116-year-old Emma Morano from Italy, born after Jones on November 28, 1899, is the world’s oldest person and one of the last living links to the 19th century.