Florence Van Stockum
Florence Van Stockum
Florence Van Stockum in March 2005 at the age of 110.
Birth: 5 October 1894
Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Death: 2 May 2005
Shelbyville, Kentucky, USA
Age: 110 years, 209 days
Country: United Kingdom UK United StatesUSA

Florence Rosetta Van Stockum (née Freestone; 5 October 1894 – 2 May 2005) was a British-American supercentenarian whose age is validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She was the mother of Ronald R. Van Stockum.


Early life

Florence Van Stockum was born in Orwell, Cambridgeshire, England, UK on 5 October 1894, the youngest of 12 children. Her parents were George William Freestone, a blacksmith and Clarissa Meakin Freestone. Florence scarcely remembered her father, who died when she was 3 or 4.

Four of Florence’s five brothers served with the British Army in World War I. One was killed, two others severely wounded.

In 1908, at age 13, she became a substitute kindergarten teacher of 4- and 5-year olds. In 1914, she started work as secretary of the Cundall Folding Machine Company in Orwell, which manufactured machines for the folding of newspapers and had a contract to sell its products to East India.

lorence joined newly established Women's Royal Air Force and her son Ronald grew up with the relatives.


She married Sergeant Reginald George Bareham on 24 June 1915. The couple had one son: Ronald Reginald (8 July 1916). Her husband enlisted when the First World War broke out and was killed in action on 1 July 1916.

Florence met U.S. Sergeant Antonius Wilhemus Van Stockum, native of the Netherlands, who immigrated to the United States before the War. She fell in love with him, but due to end of the War, Antonius sailed back to the United States. Florence maintained correspondence with him for almost next two years and finally took her son Ronald and left for United States in the spring of 1920.

Because Florence was not a U.S. citizen, she was denied entry to the United States. The only obvious solution of the problem was marriage with Antonius. They were married on May 20, 1920 and Florence and her son Ronald were allowed to entry into the United States. Ronald was also adopted by Antonius and renamed Van Stockum.

Later life

She moved to Shelby County in 1987. Anton died on 16 November 1988 at the age of 98 years.

In 1994, Florence celebrated her 100th birthday and was feted by her PEO sorority in Louisville.

In 1998, she had a stress fracture of the leg and had to be moved to the Crestview Health Care Center, where she spent the rest of her long life.

Florence Van Stockum died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, USA on 2 May 2005 at the age of 110 years, 209 days.



Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.