114-year-old Charlotte, N.C. woman is now oldest living American

Hester McCardell Ford of Charlotte celebrated her 115th birthday Thursday!
Hester McCardell Ford of Charlotte celebrated her 115th birthday Thursday!(WBTV (custom credit) | WBTV)
Updated: Nov. 29, 2019 at 4:42 PM CST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Hester Ford is at least 114 years old, living in Charlotte, and as of now, she is currently the oldest living American.

Ford succeeds Alelia Murphy who passed away at the age of 114 this week. CBS New York reported that Murphy was born in North Carolina in 1905 and moved to New York in 1926 during the height of the Harlem renaissance.

Hester Ford was apparently born in 1905, but no one knows for sure since birth records weren’t officially recorded when she was born.

WBTV spoke with Ford and her family on several occasions over the years, and in 2018, while researching her exact year of birth with her family, a WBTV reporter came across census data that might indicate Ford, who was born Hester McCardell, might have actually been born in 1904. A census recording from April 28, 1910, lists Hester as 5 years old, meaning she could have been born in 1904.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks and verifies supercentenarians - people who are at least 110 years old - still recognizes Ford’s official birth date as Aug. 15, 1905.

Ford raised 12 children with her husband in Charlotte. She has 58 grandchildren and more than 120 great-great grandchildren, who call Ford “a living legacy.”

In 2016, a Facebook video of Ford reciting the 23rd Psalm on Facebook was viewed more than 1.6 million times and shared more than 40,000 times.

Ford has lived in Charlotte since 1953 – and seen lots of changes in the city. She was born in Lancaster County, SC and is the youngest daughter of a farmer.

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