The last American born in the 19th century just passed away at the age of 116.
Born in 1899, Alabama native Susannah Mushatt Jones lived for over a century, bearing witness to war, peace, and everything in between. She saw her fair share of United States presidents enter and leave office. She saw Queen Victoria sit on the throne. Over the course of a lifetime, she watched society at large evolve right before her eyes, and she witnessed the course of modern history unravel at her feet.
Most of us can only get as close to history as our textbooks will allow, but this woman’s lived experience spanned across three centuries.
Here is a small sampling of what Susannah Mushatt Jones managed to see over the course of her record-breaking life.
1. 1899: Aspirin is invented and patented.
2. 1899: The Second Boer War begins.
3. 1900: John Philip Holland designs and constructs the first modern submarine.
4. 1900: The first New York City subway line opens.
5. 1901: Queen Victoria dies and is succeeded by her son, Edward VII.
6. 1901: Pablo Picasso holds his first major exhibition in Paris at age 19.
7. 1901: Guglielmo Marconi sends the first transatlantic radio signal.
8. 1910: Father’s Day is celebrated for the first time.
9. 1911: Orville Wright makes his famous nine-minute flight in North Carolina.
10. 1914: World War I begins.
11. 1917: Jeannette Rankin is the first woman elected to Congress.
12. 1920: Women are granted the right to vote in the United States.
13. 1926: Walt Disney creates what would become one of the most beloved franchises of all time.
14. 1935: Amelia Earhart makes a nonstop flight from Honolulu to Oakland, California.
15. 1935: Monopoly hits shelves for the first time.
16. 1939: World War II begins.
17. 1945: An atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.
18. 1945: Elvis Presley makes his debut at age 10.
19. 1952: Elizabeth II becomes Queen of England.
20. 1954: Brown v. Board of Education rules that segregation in schools is unconstitutional.
21. 1957: Soviets launch Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite.
22. 1961: Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to orbit Earth.
23. 1963: President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.
24. 1963: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech.
25. 1965: Malcolm X is shot and killed in New York City.
26. 1968: MLK is assassinated.
27. 1974: President Nixon resigns.
28. 1976: Steve Wozniak creates the first Apple computer.
29. 1983: Michael Jackson releases “Thriller.”
30. 1987: DNA is used to convict criminals for the first time.
31. 1989: The World Wide Web is invented.
32. 1990: The First Gulf War begins.
33. 1992: The Cold War ends.
34. 2000: The human genome is sequenced for the first time.
35. 2001: America is devastated by terrorist attacks.
36. 2004: Facebook launches.
37. 2007: Apple introduces the iPhone.
38. 2008: Barrack Obama becomes the first Black president of the United States.
39. 2011: Global population reaches seven billion.
From transatlantic radios to iPhones, this woman really did see it all.
It’s incredible to think about how much the world has changed since Susannah Mushatt Jones was born. All that aside, however, she said that she led a simple life, which included eating bacon every day. Who knows? Maybe that was her secret.
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