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Morning Oregonian
Morning Oregonian
Contributed by Diane

Description: Oldest Woman in The World Will Celebrate her Birthday.

Date: May 20 1906

Newspaper published in: Portland

Source: Knight Library Microform

Today will mark the 119th anniversary of the birth of a woman supposed to be the oldest female in existence. She resides, with a daughter, at Hillsboro, Washington County, in this state, and if appearances are any indication, is good for several more years on earth.

Mrs. Mary Ramsey Lemons Wood was born May 20, 1787, at Knoxville, Tenn. She joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1799, and was married to Jacob Lemons in 1804, the issue being four children: as follows: Mary Jane Lemons, born in 1806, died 1904: Isaac Lemons, born 1809, died 1866; Mrs. Nancy Lemons Bullock, born in 1816, died 1868; Mrs. Catherine B. Southworth Reynolds, born in 1830, still living.

Mrs. Lemons removed with her first husband to Alabama in 1837, and to Georgia in 1838, where Mr. Lemons died the following year. In 1849 she removed to Missouri, and in 1852 crossed the plains to Oregon, settling in Washington County. She rode a bay mare, a favorite animal which she called "Martha Washington Pioneer", the entire distance.

May 28, 1854, she was married to John Wood, who built and managed for a number of years the first hotel in Hillsboro.

She is descended from English ancestry, her parents first settling in the Carolinas, and afterward removing to Tennessee.

Her father, Richard Ramsey, was a brickmaker, and built, it is said, the first brick house in Knoxville, Tenn. He dropped dead from heart disease.

Her mother died at the age of 110. The day before, she walked five miles, knitting all the way, as was her custom.

Mrs. Woods weighs about 130 pounds, and is about 5 feet 3 inches in height.

Every year the birthday of Mrs. Wood is made the occasion for a gathering of relatives and friends from all sections of the Northwest, and in 1905 several great-greatgrandchildren were present. Her oldest living grandchild is Mrs. Bullock, aged 56.

At last year's celebration all joined in singing 'Blest be the Tie That Binds.' The old lady said she enjoyed the music, but could not hear the words with sufficient distinctness to understand them. She sat in a side room just off the parlor of her daughter's home, and received the congratulations of her numerous friends, frequently interjecting some quaint remark that made it clear to all that she realized the company had assembled to do her honor.

The old Lady's photograph adorns the walls of the Historical Society at the City Hall, and is always the subject of interest to visitors, yesterday being no exception, when it became apparent that she was about to turn another milestone in her long earthly career.

* A photograph of Mrs. Mary Ramsey Lemons Wood is included in the article.

Submitted: 09/26/05

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