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Emma Tillman

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Emma Tillman
Emma Tillman
Emma Tillman in 2006.
Birth: November 22, 1892
Gibsonville, North Carolina, USA
Death: January 28, 2007
East Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Age: 114 years, 67 days
Country: USA FlagUSA

Emmaline Fanchon May "Emma" Tillman (née Faust; 22 November 1892 – 28 January 2007) was an American supercentenarian and, at age 114 and 67 days, the oldest validated living person in the world. Since August 12, 2006, Tillman was officially the only living person left who was born in 1892. Though she was the last known person from 1892, she was not the oldest one, since Frenchwoman Camille Loiseau made it to 114 years and 180 days.


Emma, an African American, was born in Gibsonville, North Carolina, to former slaves on the Faust Plantation. Alphonso, Emma's father, was the son of former slaves Cain and Letha Faust. Emma's mother, Martha Gibson Faust, who was of native American heritage, was also born into slavery.

The family moved to Connecticut in 1900. Tillman ran her own baking and catering service whose regular customers included Dr. Thomas Hepburn, a noted Hartford Hospital urologist and father to actress Katharine Hepburn.

Emma was one of 23 children, some of whom died at birth or in their early years. But four of Emma's siblings lived past 100, including a sister, Ava, who died at 102 in 1983, and a brother, Eugene, who died at 108 in 1996. Another sister died at 105 in 2005, and another one at 102 in the 1980s.

By February 16, 2006, the passings of several older people (including Gladys Swetland, Bettie Wilson and Susie Gibson) had moved Emma up to second-oldest in the 50 U.S. states, and she became the oldest following the December 2006 death of the then world's oldest person, 116-year-old Elizabeth Bolden. By then she was also among the 60 longest living people ever. On January 18, 2007, she became the oldest living woman following the death of 115-year-old Canadian Julie Winnefred Bertrand, and on January 24, 2007 the world's oldest living person with the death of Puerto Rican Emiliano Mercado del Toro, who was also 115.

Tillman resided at an assisted living center in East Hartford, Connecticut. Her death at age 114 years and 67 days around 10:10PM EST means that her title reign of just four days was the shortest ever, breaking the previous record of shortest tenure, 13 days, held by Mitoyo Kawate of Japan. Her successor was Yone Minagawa , of Japan. Tillman is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Hartford. She lived during almost half of all the US presidencies, from Benjamin Harrison to George W. Bush, the 23rd to the 43rd.


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