Margaret Ann Neve

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Margaret Ann Neve
Margaret Neve 110.jpg
Born Margaret Ann Harvey
(1792-05-18)18 May 1792
St. Peter Port, Guernsey
Died 4 April 1903
(aged 110 years, 321 days)
Guernsey
Known for Longevity
First recorded female supercentenarian
Spouse(s) John Neve
(1823-1849, his death)
Children none

Margaret Ann Neve (née Harvey; 18 May 1792 – 4 April 1903) was the first recorded female supercentenarian and the second validated human to reach the age of 110 after Geert Adriaans Boomgaard. She lived at St. Peter Port on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel.

Biography[edit]

Born on 18 May 1792 in Guernsey, as a child, living in Le Pollet, St Peter Port, Guernsey, Margaret Harvey survived a fall down the stairs, which left her concussed for three days.[1] She was the eldest of eight children.

Neve, as she would become, could remember the turmoil that the French Revolution brought to Guernsey. In 1807, Neve set sail for Weymouth with her father, who was involved in merchant shipping[2] and privateering,[3] but a storm caused the ship to land at Chesil Beach. She was educated in Bristol, England, gaining an interest in literature and poetry. In 1815 she went to a "finishing school" in Brussels, becoming fluent in French and Italian and able to converse in German and Spanish. She would read the New Testament in Greek.[4]:19

Visiting the battlefield of Waterloo, shortly after the battle, with her headmistress, once the corpses had been buried, she picked up souvenirs which she showed to Prussian Field Marshal Blücher, whom she met, when presented to him in London.[4]:19

Neve met with Charles François Dumouriez, a general of the French Revolutionary Wars, who dubbed her la spirituelle.[5]

Her father John Harvey, who was born in Cornwall in 1771, died on 4 December 1820 at the age of 49, leaving his widow Elizabeth with her remaining children to live in 'Chaumière', a cottage he had bought in 1808.[3] John (1793) married in 1826 and moved to Jersey, then England. Elizabeth (1796) never married. Maria (1799) and Augusta (1801) had died as infants. Thomas (1803) emigrated to the United States. Augusta (1804) married and Louisa (1805) died in 1821.

Margaret married John Neve, born 1779, from Tenterden, Kent,[6] in St Peter Port (Town) church on 18 January 1823. On their honeymoon, they visited the Waterloo battlefield.[7] She lived in England for 25 years of marriage, but returned to Guernsey in 1849 after his death at Tenterden.[8] They had no children.

Neve's mother, Elizabeth Harvey (née Guille), died in 1871 at the age of 99.[1]

The census for 1871 shows Margaret A. Neve (78) living with her sister Elizabeth Harvey (73) living at 'Chaumière', Rouge Huis, St Peter Port, Guernsey. (RG10-5765-222-1) Neve travelled abroad to various countries with her sister. Their last trip was in 1872, at the age of 80, when they visited the Polish city of Krakow (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire).[8]

On 18 May 1899 a reception was held at Rouge Huis to celebrate her 107th birthday and her entrance into her 108th year. The town council, jurats, the officers of the staff, and about 250 of the leading residents attended.[9] Despite her age, Margaret was found making marmalade the next morning by a reporter from The Times. She was reported as never being ill until the age of 105, when she had the flu, followed by bronchitis at 108. At the age of 110, she climbed a tree to pluck an apple, explaining that they were much tastier when eaten straight from the tree.[4]:18

A newspaper report records that she enjoyed a glass and a half of old sherry at lunchtime and a weak whiskey and water at supper. She was in the habit of always rising early and abstaining from eating and drinking between meal times.[10]

Neve died on 4 April 1903, a month before her 111th birthday. Flags in Guernsey were lowered to half mast as a show of respect.[4]:20

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Priaulx Library
  2. ^ "Guernsey (Channel Islands) chamber of commerce, members in 1808-9." (PDF). 
  3. ^ a b "The Harvey Family". Priaulx Library. 
  4. ^ a b c d Balfour-Pau, Glen. Bagpipes in Babylon: A Lifetime in the Arab World and Beyond. I.B.Tauris, 2006. ISBN 9781845111519. 
  5. ^ "Obituary". The Times. 1903-04-06. p. 10. 
  6. ^ "The Late Mrs Neve". NY Times. 19 April 1903. 
  7. ^ "AGED 110 YEARS". The Straits Times. 7 May 1903. p. 6. 
  8. ^ a b "Her Hundred-and-eighth Birthday". The Pall Mall Gazette. 1900-05-18. p. 3. 
  9. ^ "Unexampled Longevity.". The Pall Mall Gazette. 1899-06-18. p. 21. 
  10. ^ "The Oldest Woman in the World". arence and Richmond Examiner. 19 February 1901. p. 3.