Emma Tillman in 2006.
|Birth:||22 November 1892|
Gibsonville, North Carolina, USA
|Death:||28 January 2007|
East Hartford, Connecticut, USA
|Age:||114 years, 67 days|
Emma, an African American, was born as Emmaline Fanchon May Faust in Gibsonville, North Carolina, to former slaves on the Faust Plantation. Alphonso, Emma's father, was the son of former slaves Cain and Letha Faust. Emma's mother, Martha Gibson Faust, who was of native American heritage, was also born into slavery.
The family moved to Connecticut in 1900. Tillman ran her own baking and catering service whose regular customers included Dr. Thomas Hepburn, a noted Hartford Hospital urologist and father to actress Katharine Hepburn.
Emma was one of 23 children, some of whom died at birth or in their early years. But four of Emma's siblings lived past 100, including a sister, Ava, who died at 102 in 1983, and a brother, Eugene, who died at 108 in 1996. Another sister died at 105 in 2005, and another one at 102 in the 1980s.
By 16 February 2006, the passings of several older people (including Gladys Swetland, Bettie Wilson and Susie Gibson) had moved Emma up to second-oldest in the 50 U.S. states, and she became the oldest following the December 2006 death of the then world's oldest person, 116-year-old Elizabeth Bolden. By then she was also among the 60 longest living people ever. On 18 January 2007, she became the oldest living woman following the death of 115-year-old Canadian Julie Winnefred Bertrand, and on 24 January 2007 the world's oldest living person with the death of Puerto Rican Emiliano Mercado del Toro, who was also 115.
Tillman resided at an assisted living center in East Hartford, Connecticut. Her death at age 114 years, 67 days around 10:10PM EST means that her title reign of just four days was the shortest ever, breaking the previous record of shortest tenure, 13 days, held by Mitoyo Kawate of Japan. Her successor was Yone Minagawa, of Japan. Tillman is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford. She lived during almost half of all the US presidencies, from Benjamin Harrison to George W. Bush, the 23rd to the 43rd.
- Gerontology Research Group
- The Hartford Courant, November 20, 1998
- The Hartford Courant, November 10. 2000
- Priority!, Winter, 2006
|United States' Oldest Living Person Titleholders (V • E)|
Clarida Roy • Mary Bittlebrun • Sophia DeMuth • Fannie Thomas • Nellie Spencer • Emma Wilson • Mathew Beard • Augusta Holtz • Mary McKinney • Florence Knapp • Lucy Hannah • Margaret Skeete • Wilhelmina Kott • Sarah Knauss • Myrtle Dorsey • Maud Farris-Luse • Grace Clawson • Adelina Domingues • Mae Harrington • Mary Christian • Elena Slough • Charlotte Benkner • Emma Verona Johnston • Elizabeth Bolden • Emma Tillman • Corinne 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 Dunlap • Delphine Gibson • Lessie Brown • Alelia Murphy • Hester Ford