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Family says newly crowned oldest woman is 115

November 05, 2010

The family of the newly designated world's oldest person, American Eunice Sanborn, says she is in fact 115 -- a year older than official records indicate.

Sanborn was vaulted into the spotlight Thursday, recognized as the oldest living individual following the death of Eugenie Blanchard at age 114 in the French West Indies, based on a website that tracks living centenarians.

When told of her "achievement," Sanborn's reaction was simple: "Oh, think of that."

Sanborn of Jacksonville, Texas, turned 115 in July although the US Census Bureau erroneously recorded her birth date as 1896 rather than 1895, her family claims.

She still lives at home with 24-hour care.

Her "adopted" son David French -- a longtime friend of Sanborn who first met her when he was five years old -- and his wife Rena provide caretakers for Sanborn.

French said although Sanborn has had a few restless nights this week, she is in good health.

"She was smiling a lot today," French told AFP.

He said she also asked what happened to the former record holder. When told she passed away, Sanborn said she was sorry for her and her family.

She still accepts visitors in her home and makes trips out on special occasions.

The city of Jacksonville and Sanborn's home church, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, celebrated her birthday in July. Sanborn made the trip to the church for the party and back home.

According to the family, Sanborn was born on July 20, 1895, in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She moved to Jacksonville after her first husband, Joseph Orchin, died.

Although she never worked outside the home, Sanborn stayed busy with community activities her entire life. She was an active member of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, where her membership remains.

She sang in the choir there for many years and volunteered at the former Newburn Hospital.

Sanborn survived a bout of scarlet fever when she was a child but lost two sisters to the illness. She outlived three husbands and her only child, Dorothy, and her life has spanned three centuries.

Sanborn has credited her long life and good health to her belief in Christ and her salvation.

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