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BIOGRAPHY

Matthews was born in Brookeville, Maryland, USA, on 26 September 1909, as one of nine children born to parents Tobias (1879–1957) and Hester Alcorn (1876?–1984). She and her brothers would walk 5 miles to the allblack two-room school in Brighton while passing an all-white school on the way. As a child, she was attending Brighton Methodist Episcopal Church in Brookeville. She was only able to complete grade six. She attended Sunday School, and as a teenager, attended one-hour evening services. At the age of 12, she started only attending school half days, so she would have time to help her mother cook for the men who worked with her father on the farm.

When she was 17, the family’s home in Brookeville burned down, so the family moved to into a two-room log cabin house in Sandy Spring, Maryland. On one occasion while she was fishing with her brothers, she was bitten by a large fish while sitting close to the edge of the water. She fell into the water, and as she couldn’t swim her brothers had to save her. For some time, she lived and worked in Baltimore with her uncle, coming home every other week.

At some point, she married Alvin Matthews, with whom she had four children: Basil Alcorn, Alice Gibson, Grace Bishop, and Cora Canty. She lived with her mother and children in the log cabin house in Sandy Spring until 1974. For a time, she worked at the Olney Inn together with her daughters Alice and Grace. She was also employed by the Montgomery County School Board as a cafeteria worker and worked nights at Leisure World. As an elderly woman, she worked as Assistant Manager at the Ross Boddy Community Recreation Center in Sandy Spring for 15 years, working along with her granddaughter Maxine Bishop for some time.

Her mother claimed to have been born on 18 February 1876, which would mean she died at the age of 108. However, based on census records, it’s more likely she was born in November 1879, meaning she died aged 104.

After moving with her daughter and granddaughter to Laurel, she became a member of Queen’s Chapel United Methodist Church. At the age of 98, she used to read a book every day to her great-great-granddaughter.

Matthews passed away in Laurel, Maryland, USA, on 12 December 2019, at the age of 110 years, 77 days. She was survived by her daughter, Cora Canty, 17 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, 44 great-greatgrandchildren, and 2 great-great-great-grandchildren.

RECOGNITION

At the time of death, she was the third-oldest known living person in the U.S. state of Maryland, behind Downing Kay and Ruby Staley.

ATTRIBUTION

* “Hester J Alcorn” – FindAGrave

* “Prince George’s County woman celebrates 110th birthday” – FOX 5 DC, 29 September 2019

* “Annie Virginia Matthews” – Snowden Funeral, 2019

GALLERY

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