Mathew Beard

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Mathew Beard (July 9, 1870 – February 16, 1985)[1][2] was an American supercentenarian who has been verified as the world's oldest living person between 1983 and 1985 and the oldest living man between 1980 and 1985. For some years doubts about his identity and the accuracy of his age were raised, but in August 2013 the Gerontology Research Group included him as a verified case with no mention of any doubt.[1]


Beard claimed to have been born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1870. He claimed to have moved to Missouri in 1873 and was allegedly working at a sawmill at age 12 in 1882. In 1887 he temporarily moved to Florida to work on railroads. He fought in the Spanish-American War in 1898,[citation needed] subsequently relocating to Florida in 1907. He was working as a mason in 1913. He met his wife in 1919, and had twelve children. In 1960, at the alleged age of 89/90, he was arrested for drunk driving. By 1977 he claimed to have outlived his wife and four of his 12 children. Beard claimed to have built his house at age 103 with the help of a grandson.[3]

At the time of his death, at the age of 114 years, 222 days,[1] Beard was the oldest verified person ever and the first person verified to have reached 114 years of age, although Shigechiyo Izumi was still alive and thought to have been older.


After his death, doubts surfaced as to whether the Mathew Beard who died in 1985 was the same person who was born in 1870. His claims of working at age 103 and moving around a lot have both raised doubts about his claim and also made his story difficult to verify. A reporter interviewing Beard at the alleged age of 107 claimed that Beard looked younger than said age.[citation needed]