Title: Centenarian
Birthdate: April 26, 1860
Death Date: December 21, 1960
Plot Location: Section 154, Lot C

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The youngest child in a family has the advantage of learning from the older ones. The tenth child in the Young family was known as Lena. Unfortunately she was disadvantaged because her father died when she was only two years old. Three of her 9 siblings were boys with the oldest being 17 years older than her, so perhaps he helped fill a fatherly role.

Her father, Gilbert, was a shoemaker and both her parents were natives of Sussex County, New Jersey, the northernmost county in the state. All ten children were born in Lebanon Township in central New Jersey, about halfway between Newark and Allentown, Pennsylvania. Gilbert joined the 11th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry in July of 1862, but died of disease in a Washington, D.C. hospital that December.

Lena married a man from Maryland who was probably living nearby as a farmer. He was James Tweed Scott, and he was 20 years older than her. The marriage was in either 1873 or 1874 when she was 13 or 14.. There was no state law at the time setting a minimum age for marriage, and there is no document showing an exact date. Her pregnancy was no doubt the incentive for the marriage. Sources vary on whether their son, Whitfield Scott, was born in 1873 or 1874.

A short time later they moved south to join his father on a farm in the northeast corner of Maryland, a mile south of the Mason-Dixon line. Lena brought forth her second son, Llewellyn Lewis Scott in 1977, followed by a daughter, Nora, in 1885. Sometime around 1890 James moved the family to Chester, Pennsylvania, but an 1898 city directory lists Lena as a widow. Her two adult sons and teenage daughter were living with her at 1229 2nd Avenue. 

The 1900 census revealed she actually had five children but two did not survive. Everyone in the household was working: Lena was a dressmaker, Whitfield became a “chipper” at a steel mill, Lewis found his calling as a plasterer, and Nora was a wool drawer in a textile mill.

Later that year, Lewis was the first to get married and Lena met her first grandchild, Mary, in 1901. A second daughter, Bertha, arrived in 1910. Unfortunately, Mary died at age 12 from a form of rheumatic disease called juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Her mother died ten years later and Lewis remarried.

Whitfield married in 1906 and had Earl in 1907 and Edna in 1909. He became a forman at that steel mill until he died of tuberculosis in 1928.

Then there was Nora, who married in 1912, settled in Philadelphia, and had three children. Lena was fortunate to have her children fairly close by, with Lewis’ family in Delaware County and Whitfield’s family in New Castle, Delaware. That meant she saw her six grandchildren grow to adulthood and five of them outlived her.

After she turned 80, Lena left her home in Chester to live at the Presbyterian Home for Widows and Single Women in Philadelphia. Only her daughter Nora and the five grandchildren were alive when she celebrated her 100th birthday in the spring of 1960, and hopefully they were all there with her for the occasion. It was almost Christmas of that year when her kidneys failed and arteriosclerosis stopped her heart.

Since the home was at 58th and Kingsessing Avenue she was buried just four blocks away at Mount Moriah, but it was in a section that became overgrown and has not yet been cleared.

 

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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