The new oldest living person in the world is a 117-year-old Jamaican woman who once worked for ‘masters’ on a sugar plantation and credits her longevity to good genes and studying the Bible.
Supercentenarian Violet Mosse-Brown was born March 10, 1900, making her 117 years and 38 days old. She still lives in Duanvale, Trelawny, Jamaica, in the same house she was born, and which has been in her family for 200 years.
She inherited the title of the oldest verifiable person in the world when Emma Morano, who was 117 years and 137 days, died at home in Verbania, Italy on April 15. Her doctor said she passed away ‘tranquilly’ while she sat in her armchair.
Mosse-Brown, known as Aunt V, is the last living subject of Queen Victoria, as Jamaica was part of the British West Indies when she was born in 1900, according to her foundation‘s biography.
In her 115th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II sent her a congratulatory letter.
She attributes her long life to the good book, saying: ‘My faith in serving God, and believing strongly in the teaching of the bible.’
Genetics may have something to do with it too. Mosse-Brown’s son Harold Fairweather is 97, making him the oldest person in the world who has a living parent. And her parents both lived to 96 years old, according to the Jamaica Observer.
Mosse-Brown ‘worked as a plantation worker cutting cane for her masters, also working as a maid in their homes’ says her granddaughter Leleith Palmer.
Eventually she was able to buy property to grow her own sugarcane and would walk two days from Duanvale to the town where she could sell it. She would carry the cane on the back of a donkey or on her head.
The entrepreneur also opened the only bread shop in town, and was a music teacher and seamstress and highly involved in her local Methodist Church. She also clearly remembers seeing her first plane and car.
As for diet, a caretaker told the Jamaica Observer last year: ‘She likes fish and mutton and sometimes she will have cow foot, but she does not eat pork or chicken.’ She also likes sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, breadfruit, and fruits, especially oranges and mangoes.
The last oldest living person, Emma Morano, famously eschewed most fruits and veggies in favor of biscuits and had attributed her longevity to three eggs a day, two of them eaten raw. Even when doctors told her this wasn’t a good idea, she kept it up her whole life.
Although Mosse-Brown enjoys her Bible, she isn’t above appreciating the poetry of the rakish Lord Byron, and can recite The Vision of Belshazzar from memory.
She was married to cemetery keeper Augustus Gaynor Brown until he died. They had six children. She is a great-great-grandmother and has descendants in Jamaica, the United States, Europe and Africa, according to IAmJamaican.
There may be something special about the air in this particular part of Jamaica, as the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, was born in the same parish of Trelawny.
Mosse-Brown was named oldest woman by The Gerontology Research Group, which keeps a verified list of those over 110. But the Guinness Book of World Records says it is still researching a ‘number of candidates,’ according to the New York Daily News.
There are estimated to be 300 to 450 living supercentenarians in the world, though only 50 of those cases are known to the group and verified. The vast majority are women.
The next oldest person on the list is Nabi Tajima, who is 116 years and 256 days old.