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American Elsie Martin (1910-2022) Validated as Supercentenarian
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BIOGRAPHY

Prahm was born in Rosamond, Christian County, Illinois, USA, on 4 January 1868, to parents Thomas Lakin (1843–1917) and Rebecca Hunter (1846–1933). She had five siblings: Lulu Robinson (1864–1937), Minnie Law (1866–1953), William Glenn Lakin (1869–1913), Ira David Lakin (1875–1968), and Jesse Lakin (1876–1967). In 1893, the family moved to Vandalia. Her father purchased the Vandalia Union, a weekly newspaper which he continued to publish for many years. Her brothers later owned the company, until they sold their interests in 1945.

In 1907, she married Adolph Prahm (1848–1929), who was nearly 20 years her senior. After the marriage, she moved to St. Louis, where her husband was employed at the Big Four Railroad. After her husband’s death, she returned to Vandalia to become community’s first telephone operator.

Until her late 90s, she continued to attend the First Methodist Church. On her 100th birthday, her younger brother, Ira, was still alive and approaching his 93th birthday. He passed away in June of that same year. At the time, she was still reading a lot, sewing, and watching television. At the age of 101, she fell unconscious while running upstairs and broke her ankle. After this, she decided to move into a nursing home.

Prahm passed away in Vandalia, Illinois, USA, on 10 May 1978, at the age of 110 years, 126 days.

RECOGNITION

On 13 April 1978, following the death of 110-year-old Nellie Renne, she became the oldest known living person in the U.S. state of Illinois. Following Prahm’s death, Gertrude Stunkel became the oldest known living person in the state.

Her age was verified by Jason King and Jimmy Lindberg, and validated by LongeviQuest on 14 October 2023. The earliest located record, the 1870 census, suggests that she was 3 years old as of June 1870, possibly indicating that she was a full year older. Nevertheless, the majority of records point to her birth in January 1868.

ATTRIBUTION

* “Ara Jeanette Lakin Prahm” – Find A Grave

* “Vandalia Woman, 100. She Recalls ‘a Good Life’” – Herald and Review, 8 January 1968

* “Woman in Vandalia Has 105th Birthday” – Freeport Journal-Standard, 6 January 1973

* “Woman, 108, Celebrates Birthday Sunday” – Herald and Review, 2 January 1976

* “First phone operator, 110, dies” – Herald and Review, 11 May 1978

GALLERY

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