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BIOGRAPHY

Phillips was born in Lexington, Mississippi, USA, on 5 May 1869 (claimed 1870).

At some point, he got married and had seven children. In 1900, he moved to Indianola where he found a job sharecropping on the old Phelps plantation. Later, he also sharecropped on the Faisonia Plantation. In the 1930s or 1940s, he managed day labor on the Kay Plantation. At some point in his life, he was a schoolteacher in Holmes County.

When asked about the secret of his longevity in 1973, he said, “You live long because you are obedient to Christ. I never drank whiskey, smoked or ran around.” At that time, he rarely missed a Sunday service at the Church of Christ Holiness, where he was a member.

Phillips passed away at South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola, Mississippi, USA, on 5 September 1980, at the age of 111 years, 123 days. He was survived by three sons (Sammie, Joe and Eddie), 6 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren.

RECOGNITION

His age was initially verified by the Kestenbaum study and later validated by the Gerontology Research Group, using his claimed date of birth of 5 May 1870. However, according to research conducted by LongeviQuest, it appears highly likely that the claimed date of birth was inaccurate and that he was actually a full year older than claimed. This conclusion is supported by multiple documents. Firstly, the 1870 census record, enumerated on 1 August 1870, indicates that he was one year old at the time, rather than two or three months old. Additionally, the 1880 population record from March of that year states his age as 10, aligning with a potential birth month of May 1869, as he would have been turning 11 in two months. The 1880 census record suggests he was 12 years old at that time, and therefore born in 1867/8. Furthermore, the 1900 census record, which includes the month of birth along with age, supports a birthdate in May 1869. The earliest record found that cannot support a birth in May 1869 or earlier is the 1910 census record, which indicates he was 38 as of April 1910, thus potentially supporting a birth in May 1871.

On 20 August 1978, following the passing of 110-year-old Charlie Nelson of Iowa, he became the world’s oldest (known) living man.

In May 1979, he celebrated his 110th birthday, becoming the first documented male supercentenarian in the U.S. state of Mississippi.

Upon his passing, he was succeeded as the world’s oldest living man by Zachariah Blackistone.

ATTRIBUTION

* “It’s worthwhile living in Mississippi now” – The Enterprise-Tocsin, 3 May 1973

* “Senior citizens honored” – The Enterprise-Tocsin, 26 May 1977

* “Will be 108 on May 5th” – The Enterprise-Tocsin, 30 March 1978

* “Charlie Clarence Phillips” – The Enterprise-Tocsin, 11 September 1980

GALLERY

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