Tacoma (Wash.) Daily News

Portland, Ore., July 4.—(Special.)—Oregon claims the honor of counting among its residents the oldest white woman in America, Mrs. Mary Ramsey Lemons Wood, and in the celebration of the Fourth, of State-wide importance, Mrs. Wood, aged one hundred and twenty years, one month, and fifteen days, was crowned Queen of Oregon. The coronation was performed by General George H. Williams, attorney general under President Grant, and the only living representative of that cabinet. General Williams is in his eighty-fifth year. He was assisted by Hon. J. D. Lee, president of the Oregon Pioneer Association.

Mrs. Wood was born at Knoxville, Tenn., May 20, 1787. She was twice married, her first husband, Mr. Lemons, dying in 1839. In 1852 she moved from Missouri to Oregon, settling in Washington County, where she still makes her home, riding on horseback the entire way. Mrs. Wood married her second husband, John Wood, May 28, 1854. Of her four children, all of whom lived to ripe old age, only one is to-day living, and that is the youngest child, Mrs. Catherine B. Southworth Reynolds, who was born in 1830.

Mrs. Wood is of English ancestry; her parents first settled in the Carolinas and afterward removed to Tennessee. Her mother died at the remarkable age of one hundred and ten. This remarkable antiquarian now weighs one hundred and thirty pounds, is a good conversationalist, and speaks about the career of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was a lad of eighteen when she was born, as though those things happened yesterday. She was a mature woman of thirty-four when Napoleon died, and her youngest child was born only nine years after his death. At the time of the death of George Washington she was twelve years old, and Daniel Webster, if he were living would be only five years older than Mrs. Wood. Frederick the Great of Prussia, as well as Benjamin Franklin, were still living when she was born. She was a mother before the birth of Abraham Lincoln and W. E. Gladstone, and she was twice a mother before Horace Greeley, Charles Sumner, or Henry Ward Beecher came into the world. As there are instances of grandmothers at the age of thirty-one, Mrs. Wood was old enough to have been the grandmother of Queen Victoria or Julia Ward Howe, and as she is thirty-seven years older than General George H. Williams, who crowned her Queen of Oregon, she could easily have been his grandmother: the same is true as to Edward Everett Hale or Senator Pettus of Alabama.

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October 12, 1907

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