— Three centuries will be spanned by the lives of more than a score of men and women in the United States, provided these centenarians hear the “All’s well” of 1901. Twenty and more of the aged ones were reported yesterday as alive and well, and a complete census would no doubt show an astonishingly large number. This canvass was made yesterday by telegraph. It showed that there were more centenarians of Irish birth than of any other. The Americans were next. Londonderry is the birthplace of more centenarians now living in this country than any other place. The old colored slaves who cursed General Washington seem to be dying out. Only three centenarians of African descent were reported among the living.
These centenarians are well over the hundred mark of years. Noah Raby and Mrs. Mary McDonald should lead the dance of patriarchs, for each lays claim to a life of 129 years. Documentary evidence and their own stories leave no room for doubt as to the authenticity of the figures. There are many who are more than ten years over the 100 mark, and those who are only 101 years old are the children of the company.
They all have theories of longevity of more or less value. Some indulged in such strong drink as they required, and others have been total abstainers. A few of the men have used tobacco all their lives, but most of them have eschewed the fragrant weed. The only rule on which they agree prescribes abundant food and plenty of sleep.
All of this company expect to see the coming century. Their friends are making elaborate preparations in cases where the health of the aged ones will permit their witnessing festivities.
Noah Raby, the Seer
Noah Raby, bowed down by 129 years, sits in the kitchen of the poorhouse in Piscataway Township, N.J., and although his frame is feeble and he can no longer support it, he says that life to him is very sweet. He feels that he still has a mission, for is he not the seer and adviser to all the folk of the countryside? He knows that time of the moon for planting corn, and he is familiar with all the signs and portents and the meaning of dreams. His neighbors think that one who has lived so long must needs know more than is compassed in ordinary ken, and so Noah Raby is their guide and friend.
He keeps alive in his heart the great romance of his life, and when he is in the mood he will tell how he loved Sarah Parker, vainly tried to forget her, and then found when too late that she loved him, although she wedded another.
Noah Raby was born in Gatesville, N.C., in 1772. He turned his steps to Virginia when he became a man and became overseer on a plantation. There he met Sarah Parker, who owned a neighboring plantation, and fell in live with her. He thought that his passion was hopeless, so he went to the war of 1812. He served on the United States man-of-war Brandywine for five years. Before his mind was always the vision of the woman whom he had known in Virginia. He could not forget her. So he went back to the old plantation and saw Sarah. He told her that he loved her and for five years had vainly sought forgetfulness. Then he asked if he was too late. She replied that he was, as she had been married for four years.
Second Affair Unfortunate