Gerontology Wiki
Lessie Brown
Lessie Brown
Brown at the age of 111
Birth: 22 September 1904
Stockbridge, Georgia, USA
Death: 8 January 2019
Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA
Age: 114 years, 108 days
Country: United StatesUSA

Lessie Brown (née Barnes; 22 September 1904 – 8 January 2019) was a validated American supercentenarian who was the oldest known living person in the United States at the time of her death, and was also the last validated American born in 1904.


Brown was born in Stockbridge, Georgia. Her grandparents were slaves in Georgia, according to Cleveland Magazine. Brown left school after the eighth grade, working full time on her parents' farm. In 1921, her parents moved to Cleveland, Ohio. Brown met her future husband Robert Brown at a Halloween party in 1924. They married the following year, in 1925. She and her husband had five children - three girls and two boys. Robert died in 1991. Three of her children were still alive at the time of her 110th birthday in 2014: Veerline Wilson, Vivian Hatchern and Robert Brown, along with 29 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, and 24 great-great-grandchildren.

During her life in Cleveland, Brown worked at the Statler Hotel and Mount Sinai Hospital. After her husband’s death, Brown moved to live with her daughter Verline in University Heights. Later on, the two moved to the Concord Apartments in 1996. Brown said she had had surgery twice in her life, but never for anything serious. Brown attended services at the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Brown avoided alcohol, according to her family. Instead they attributed her long life to regular consumption of sweet potatoes, which she ate nearly every day until well after her 100th birthday, and to her belief in God. According to her family, she inspired all her children and grandchildren how to pray, and she even prayed on her knees at the side of her bed until she couldn't kneel anymore.

On her 112th birthday in 2016, she received a letter from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. She voted for him twice in the 2008 and 2012 US Presidential Election.

Brown became the oldest known living person in the United States upon the death of Delphine Gibson on 9 May 2018. She died on 8 January 2019 at the age of 114 years, 108 days.


United States' Oldest Living Person Titleholders (VE)

Clarida RoyMary BittlebrunSophia DeMuthFannie ThomasNellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Mathew Beard • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Florence Knapp • Orpha NusbaumElzona MaxeyAlphaeus Philemon ColeBirdie May VogtEttie Mae GreeneMargaret SkeeteWilhelmina Kott • Sarah Knauss • Myrtle Dorsey • Maud Farris-LuseGrace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Mary Christian • Elena Slough • Charlotte Benkner • Emma Verona Johnston • Elizabeth Bolden • Emma TillmanCorinne Dixon Taylor • Edna Parker • Gertrude Baines • Mary Josephine Ray • Neva Morris • Eunice Sanborn • Besse Cooper • Dina Manfredini • Gertrude Weaver • Jeralean Talley • Susannah Mushatt Jones • Goldie Michelson • Adele DunlapDelphine GibsonLessie BrownAlelia MurphyHester FordThelma SutcliffeBessie Hendricks