Wednesday, July 27, 2005

English Methuselahs

From the Boston (Mass.) Evening Post of Oct. 10, 1748:

Henry Jenkins, of Yorkshire, was upwards of 153 when he died.—As to his way of living, we have no account of it. Thomas Damme of Leighton, near Minshual, in the palatine of Chester, was 154 years of age when he died, and was buried at Minshual aforesaid, on the 20th day of Feb. 1648, as it appears by his gravestone, cut in words at length, not figures ; and to prevent disputes, as the event, is so remarkable, it is now to be seen in the church register, sign'd by the Rev. Mr. Thomas Holdford, vicar, and by Tho. Kennerly and John Warburton, church-wardens, who were then living.—I thought proper, to mention this relation, as it never was taken notice of by any chronologers ; few know it, but it ought to be handed down to posterity.
The author has sold Jenkins short. A website devoted to the role of Honey in Longevity states that he lived to be 169, and "that shortly before his death he was still swimming like a fish." In the case of Thomas Damme, one has no doubt that Messrs. Holdford, Kennerly, and Warburton were privy to the circumstances of his death, but were they also present at his birth?

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