A Virginia Woman Celebrates 110th Birthday: One of The World's Few Supercentenarians
By: April Carson
The woman who has celebrated her 110th birthday on Oct. 4 at home in Berryville, Virginia is now a member of an exclusive club: the world's supercentenarians.
The Clarke County Board of Supervisors proclaimed 2021 as "Viola Roberts Lampkin Brown Day" in honor of the birthday girl.
There are six supercentenarians living in the United States as of October 1, according to Clarke County; none reside in Virginia. That number is expected to climb as the U.S. Census Bureau began in 2008 to count Americans who are at least 110 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At 7, Viola and her family moved from upper Fauquier County to northeastern Clarke County in order to work on Springfield Farm. Her brother, Harrison Roberts, worked for the Claggett family at Springfield and informed his parents about the employment opportunity. As a result, Viola began working as a domestic servant.
When Viola and John Lampkin got married, they had one condition: no horses. The couple agreed that living on Josephine Street would be perfect for them because it didn't have any traffic or noise from horse-drawn carriages passing by as often back then — though we can see how things change with time!
When the newlyweds made their home here in 1930s New Orleans proper (that is now historic French Quarter), there were still many livery stables dotting Main Street near its intersections with Canal Street; some even lined up side-by-side just off Iberville across Elysian Fields Avenue where these homes stand today. Mr. and Mrs. Lampkin had at least one son together, who died in 2004.
Mrs. Lampkin is up for the day by 8 o'clock according to social worker Brittany Burt-Fuller, an employee of Jewish Family Service New Orleans, who helps the elderly woman with daily tasks. She sets her alarm so she can be awake to watch "The Young and the Restless" on television, as she has done for decades.
She is reported to be part of a 'rapidly dwindling' group of 250 worldwide people who were born in the 1800s; those who make it past 110 are said to be among the world's 'rarest individuals'.
According to the Gerontology Research Group in Torrance, Calif., a non-profit organization that tracks and verifies supercentenarians, there are just 47 verified people alive today who were born before 1900.
Mrs. Lampkin has eight great-grandchildren, eight grandkids, three grandkids, three great-great-grandchildren, and more descendants and friends than she can number.
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