August 15, 1890
Somerville, Tennessee, U.S.
December 11, 2006|
(aged 116 years, 118 days)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Other names||Elizabeth Bolden, Lizzie|
|Title||World's oldest living person (August 27, 2006 to December 11, 2006)|
|Spouse(s)||Lewis Bolden (1908-1955, his death)|
|Relatives||40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 168 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren, and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren.|
Elizabeth Bolden (née Jones; August 15, 1890 – December 11, 2006) was an American supercentenarian who, at the time of her death at age 116 years, 118 days, was recognized by Guinness World Records as the then world's oldest living person.
Jones married Louis Bolden in 1908, and their first child, a son, Ezell, was born on September 21, 1909. Elizabeth and Lewis Bolden had three sons and four daughters and raised cotton and subsistence crops on farmland near Memphis until the 1950s. Only two daughters were still alive as of her death in 2006; they were Esther Rhodes, who died in 2007 at age 90, and Mamie Brittmon, who died in 2009 at the age of 86. At the time of her 116th birthday in August 2006, Bolden had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great-grandchildren.
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When she turned 113 in 2003, the newspaper asked her why she had lived so long, but all she could say was "I don't know." The reporter speculated that Bolden just wasn't in the mood to talk that day. When one of her daughters kept trying to cover her with a blanket, she delivered an earful. "If you weren't my child, I'd put you over my knee and whoop the [expletive] out of you," she said.
In her final years she resided in a Memphis, Tennessee nursing home that she had lived in since she was 109, and was described by her family as unable to communicate.
They requested that media attention (such as interviews and visits) be limited. While she was the world's oldest person Bolden was rarely seen in public.
She was photographed for two different books in early 2005, and was featured in Jet magazine in May 2005 and the Memphis Commercial Appeal in June 2005. For her 116th birthday, new photographs were released for the first time in almost a year, and her family said that she was looking forward to her big day.
Elizabeth Bolden was verified in April 2005 as being the oldest documented resident of the United States since the death of Emma Verona Johnston the previous December. She displaced Bettie Wilson, who had previously been the oldest known American.
Bolden regained the oldest living person title following the August 27, 2006 death of María Capovilla. This was officially confirmed on September 17, 2006 by Guinness World Records. She was previously thought to have held the title from the death of Hendrikje van Andel on August 30, 2005. until December 9, 2005, when Capovilla was authenticated as older.
At the time of her death aged 116 years 118 days she was the seventh-oldest undisputed person ever documented. After her death, Emiliano Mercado Del Toro took over as the world's oldest person and Julie Winnefred Bertrand took over as the world's oldest woman.
- Memphis Woman Turns 116, Elizabeth Bolden Thought To Be World's Second Oldest Person – CBS News
-  Archived September 21, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- on YouTube
- CBS News – Memphis Woman Turns 116
- The Associated Press – Memphis woman listed as world's oldest dies at 116
- CNN – Oldest woman dies at age 116
- Sun-Sentinel – Memphis woman listed as world's oldest dies at age 116
- Blackamericaweb – Elizabeth Bolden, America’s oldest woman and daughter of freed slaves, dies at 116