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Nancy Merriman

Jimmy Lindberg
Validated By: Jimmy Lindberg On Date: Oct. 04th 2023

Nancy Merriman (née Mitchell) was an American supercentenarian whose age has been validated by LongeviQuest.


Merriman was born in Illinois, USA, on 19 December 1841. Her parents were Solomon Mitchell and Diana Thompson, and she was born on her father’s 300-acre farm near Waterloo, Illinois. When she was around eight years old, her family relocated to Lebanon, where they lived for about 18 years.

Following the passing of her parents, Merriman moved to East Carondelet, where she married Sylvester Merriman. The couple had seven daughters, but they separated after 12 years. Subsequently, she relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, where her daughters received their education. During her time in St. Louis, she found employment with the Grimm family. Notably, Charles Grimm, their son, was just five years old at the time and would later become a manager for the Chicago Cubs.

In 1927, she moved to Chicago. She continued working as a laundress until she reached the age of 75. By the time she turned 100, her eyesight had significantly deteriorated, preventing her from reading. In her younger years, she was a dedicated Bible reader, and later, she humorously commented that her frequent reading had taken a toll on her eyesight. At the time, she was still attending mass at least once a week. It was reported that she had converted to Catholicism in 1894.

Merriman passed away in Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 14 January 1954, at the age of 112 years, 26 days. She was survived by one daughter, Mae Kent (who passed away in 1982, a few days prior to her 100th birthday), four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

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Her age was verified by Daniel Gonik, Jimmy Lindberg, I.L. (anonymous) and Stefan Maglov, and validated by LongeviQuest on 4 October 2023.

At the time of death, she was the world’s oldest known living person.

In December 1951, she most likely became a supercentenarian, making her only the fifth person in the United States to reach this age, only after Louisa Thiers (1814-1926), Delina Filkins (1815-1928), Miriam Banister (1817-1928), and Anna Wheeler (1833-1943). Additionally, she became the first African-American supercentenarian and the first individual of African descent to reach this age. Furthermore, she became the first supercentenarian in the U.S. state of Illinois.

At the time of death, she was the second-oldest known person ever, behind Filkins. She held this title only until 16 September 1954, when her final age was surpassed by Betsy Baker.

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* “Marks 108th year” – The Record, 21 December 1949

* “Woman, 108, Native Of Lebanon Area; Lives in Chicago” – Belleville Daily Advocate, 21 January 1950

* “100-year-difference” – The Wichita Eagle, 2 January 1953

* “Nancy Merriman Died At 112; Was Born At Lebanon” – Belleville Daily Advocate, 15 January 1954