Centenarians, the New Generation

By Belle Boone Beard; Albert J. E. Wilson III | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Roots

The search for one's roots is one of today's popular hobbies. Many centenarians--who were descendants of the founding fathers, early pioneers, native Americans, African slaves, and immigrants from all over the globe--have long shared this interest. In the comparative leisure of retirement it becomes a sustaining interest of many. Centenarians generally are more interested in their descendants than in their ancestors, but they feel that the future of descendants is enhanced by having interesting ancestors.


DESCENDANTS OF EARLY SETTLERS

Mrs. Emma Wood Davis ( 1850-1952), Alexandria, Virginia, traced her descent through the Hanson line to eight of the barons who in 1215 forced King John of England to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede. Her ancestor, Thomas Hanson, came to America about 1623, establishing a home in what is now Dover, New Hampshire. His great-grandson, John Antrim, served in the American Revolution and was the great-grandfather of Mrs. Davis. In the Davis library were many genealogical records including "The Antrim Family," "The Hanson Ancestry," an early family Bible, and more documents as evidence of long interest in family history. "The practice of saving little relics, remembering . . . her vast fund of stories about family life gave meaning to the written records for us," reported her daughter. At 100 Mrs. Davis still had a keen delight in these records and was "quietly proud of them."

Mrs. Harriet Haddon Atwood ( 1865-1970) of Richmond, Virginia, was descended from Abraham Pierson, who came to Long Island in 1640 and founded the first church in New Haven Colony, and from Robert Treat, who was the general court deputy of the Colony of New Haven ( 1644-1658), deputy governor of

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Centenarians, the New Generation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • A Note About the Author vii
  • Notes xi
  • Preface xiii
  • About the Book xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • PART I INTRODUCTION 1
  • Chapter 1 Centenarians: the New Generation 3
  • Note 14
  • PART II PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CENTENARIANS 15
  • Chapter 2: Centenarians Think Health 17
  • Chapter 3 37
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 4: Keeping Active 49
  • Chapter 5 Learning and Memory 73
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter 6 Artists and Artisans 93
  • Notes 114
  • Chapter 7 Faith and Philosophy 126
  • Chapter 8 Personal Characteristics Summary 129
  • PART III WORK, FAMILY, COMMUNITY 131
  • Chapter 10 Romance, Marriage, and Fertility 151
  • Note 162
  • Note 163
  • Note 184
  • PART IV PERSONAL AND NATIONAL HISTORY 185
  • Chapter 12 Roots 187
  • Notes 206
  • Chapter 13 War and Longevity 219
  • Chapter 14 As the Nation Grew 236
  • Chapter 15 Centenarians' Life History Summary 237
  • PART V THE STUDY FINDINGS AND RESEARCH IMPLICATIONS 241
  • Chapter 16 Findings and Implications 243
  • Appendix A Centenarians' Special Stories 251
  • Appendix B Communication Form 269
  • Selected Bibliography 271
  • Index 279
  • About the Editors 281
  • Recent Titles in Contributions to the Study of Aging 282
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