Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/111

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101
THE DURATION OF HUMAN LIFE.

being a hundred and four years old, attended the marriage of his great-granddaughters in 1877, sang, and opened the ball. M. Kennoux, Mayor of Plermeux-Gontier for fifty-three years, died in the same year at a hundred years and eight months. François Pelpel, a distiller of Paris, announced in the newspapers in 1878 that he had reached his one hundredth year, and was enjoying good health. Louis Etienne Mirvault, a former diplomat, who had served in the American war with Lafayette and Rochambeau, died at Ransay in the same year, aged a hundred and two years and six months. The celebrated physicist Becquerel was more than a hundred years old when he died.

Mr. Thompson, in his "Curiosities of Longevity," has related numerous cases of centenarianism in England. One of the most remarkable is that of a peasant who died near the middle of the seventeenth century at the hyperbolical age of one hundred and seventy-two years, and is said to have received the honor of being buried at Westminster. Another is that of Henry Jenkins, who is said to have lived to one hundred and seventy-five. Lord Bacon, of Verulam, in his book "De Vita et Morte," speaks of the deaths of contemporaries at the ages of one hundred and fifty and even of one hundred and sixty years, ages that were proved, he said, by judicial documents quite worthy of faith. The family of Thomas Parr, who died in his hundred and fifty-second year, incontestably enjoyed the privilege of a very great length of life. Parr left three grandsons, who died, one at one hundred and twenty-four, the second at one hundred and twenty-five, the third at one hundred and twenty-six years. William Parr died at Birmingham in 1770, one hundred and twenty years old, after having had forty-four children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren die. John Tice died in 1770, after a troubled life of one hundred and twenty-six years. Mr. Thompson cites also, as entirely worthy of faith, the death of one Gordon at Edinburgh in 1775, at the age of one hundred and thirty-one years. According to Dr. Isidore Bourdon, Greenwich Hospital had in 1806 one hundred and twenty centenarians, thirteen of whom were bachelors. A man applied at a life-insurance office in London, in 1875, for insurance, who said, in answer to questions, that on his father's side his grandfather had died at one hundred and ten and his grandmother at ninety-five, and the same ancestors on the mother's side at one hundred and at ninety-nine years; his mother, still living, was one hundred and five, and his father had died at one hundred and eight. A man who presented himself at the police-office of Doncaster in 1872, said that he was one hundred and eight years old, and had had twenty-two children, and that his wife had died in 1870 at ninety-nine. The Rev. Mr. Bradon, of Southampton, was congratulated by the Queen on the occasion of his hundredth birthday in 1877. The Rev. James Hingham died at Unst in February, 1879, aged one hundred and three. He had learned Hebrew and German after he was ninety; his father died at one hundred and his grandfather at one hundred and five. It