This Black Woman With More Than 200 Descendants Is Celebrating Her 116th Birthday As The Oldest Living American


August 21, 2020

What a blessing!

The oldest living American with over 200 descendants just celebrated her 116th birthday, Blavity reports.

Ms. Hester Ford is a South Carolina native who was born in 1904, making this her 116th year on earth. Ford was raised on a farm and picked cotton as a young girl, marrying her husband John Ford at just 14 years old and giving birth to the first of 12 children one year later. Her husband worked at a steel mill up until his death in 1963 at age 57. Ford would go on to see her legacy flourish as her 12 children bore the matriarch 48 grandchildren, and more than 200 great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. 


Ford has been living in Charlotte, North Carolina since the 1950s, and even received a state holiday in her honor. Mayor Vi Lyles declared August 15th as Mother Hester Ford Day. The centenarian lived by herself until she was 108 years old and now lives with one of her daughters, who takes her for daily walks. Her family drove by to celebrate her birthday, leaving gifts in the driveway in substitute for their usual festivities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We just thank God for just keeping her here for us, because it gives us hope. We would never want her to be here if she was sick,” Mary Hill, granddaughter of Ms. Ford said. “We want her to have a great quality of life in her elder years. We don’t want her to be sick or anything and trying to hold on. We’re just a blessed family.”  

When asked how she’s been able to live such a long and full life, Ford said, “I just live right, all I know.” 


Happy Birthday Ms. Hester Ford!

Photo Courtesy of Blavity 

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