This woman got to meet her great-great-great grandchild and became the oldest person ever from the United States

Anita Durairaj
Sarah Knauss in 1897 when she was 17Credit: sconosciuto; Public Domain Image

The oldest American to have ever lived was Sarah Knauss (1880 - 1999). When Knauss died in 1999, she was listed as 119 years and 97 days.

Knauss still holds the record for being the oldest person ever from the United States. She held the record for being the oldest living person in the world until it was broken by Kane Tanaka from Japan and Jeanne Calment from France. She is now the third oldest person to have ever lived and her birth records have been well-documented.

Knauss was born in Pennsylvania to a German immigrant family in 1880. She got married at the age of 20 to a Pennsylvania man and they had one daughter. She survived her husband who died at the age of 86. Her daughter also lived a long life dying at the age of 101 after Knauss had already passed away.

In 1999, months before she died, Knauss got to meet her newborn great-great-great grandchild and pose with family members from each of the generations.

The secret to Knauss's longevity may have been her temperament. She was reported as having a very calm personality and did not get angry easily. She also did not restrict her diet and was even eating sweets on her 119th birthday.

Knauss died peacefully sitting up in her chair in 1999. Until the time of her death, she felt fine and suffered no illness. When she died, she was the matriarch of six generations and had lived in nearly three centuries.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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