Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Till Death Do Us Finally Part

Recent claims that John and Emilia (Antonelli) Rocchio—married 1922 in Providence, Rhode Island—are the longest-married couple in the world have genealogist Erlene Huntress Davis fuming. She and the Guinness Book of World Records agree that her ancestors Lazarus and Molly Rowe are the longest-married couple living or dead. (A couple in China who married at age 5 don't count, because that's just weird.)

Lazarus and Molly were married for 86 years, until Molly's death, June 20, 1829, in Limington, Maine, "in the 104th year of her age." Her husband hung on for another few months, according to his obituary in the Connecticut Courant of Sept. 29, 1829—itself remarkable for the number of exclamation points used:

At Limington, on the 14th inst. Mr. Lazarus Rowe, aged 104 years! Mr. Rowe was a native of Greenland, New Hampshire, and was one of the first settlers of Baldwin, in Maine, where he lived till within about two years since. His wife, Molly Rowe, who died last spring, was born the same year with her husband, viz. in 1725; they were married at the age of 18, and consequently lived together eighty-six years! It is presumed that the United States do not contain another man and wife, who have lived so long in the conjugal state. They reared a numerous family, and saw their descendants of the fifth generation! Their youngest son is now a pensioner of the revolutionary army!

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