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  • Immortals: Memories of the Revolutionary War in the Late Nineteenth Century October 30, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback


    Another immortal, this time from the Grantham Journal 20 Sep 1873. Note that vagueness about Afro-Americans’ ages was often pronounced in the late nineteenth century. Several of the ‘oldest American’ stories are about ex-slaves in the south.

    According to the Louisville Journal, a wonderful old negro is at present living at the farm of Dr. Scott near Milan, Gibson county, Tennessee, in the United States is 124 years of age. A gentleman who lately called at the. farm, met ‘an old eneggled tooth amendment gentleman, sixty-five years of age,’ by whom he was told that his ‘grandpap’ was in the house. Soon after ‘grandpap’ himself came tripping down the steps ‘as nimble as a fifteen-year old boy,’ and was communicative. He  was, he said, twenty-five years old when the revolutionary war began. He, belonged to Captain Snow, who served under General Marlon; was born in South Carolina, and fought through the war under his master in nearly every battle. When about ninety years old he went totally blind, and remained so for two years. His hair, which was white wool, all came out. Subsequently his eyesight returned, and a new growth of hair came, which is now about half grey. He enjoys fine health, goes hunting, and shoots birds and squirrels without glasses. He is very religious, and is the father of thirteen children, the eldest whom would-be over 100 years of age, if living. His youngest child is now fifty-three years old. He never was sick or ailing in his life – never took a dose of medicine, never had the tooth-ache, and has not an unsound tooth in his head.

    The story is half credible in that a made up account would have included several rather unlikely claims about being in the same room as Washington and the like: if you are going to invent an every man they will have exciting lives. The return of the sight and the refurbished hair sounds worryingly like some strange nineteenth-century theories around arms regrowing or third sets of teeth.

    Anything on the ‘wonderful old negro’: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    Floodmouse gets to brass tacks, 17 Nov 2016: Was there a pension being claimed?  In modern times, when a pension is being claimed, the company paying the pension does what are called “alive & well” checks.  This person was alive and well, but was he actually the person he said he was?

    (He may have a point)