Sarah DeRemer Knauss (née Clark; September 24, 1880 – December 30, 1999) was an American supercentenarian. Knauss is the oldest person ever from the United States, as well as the second-oldest fully documented person ever, behind Jeanne Calment. She was recognized as the world's oldest living person by Guinness World Records from April 16, 1998, until her death.
Sarah Knauss at age 119 in 1999
|Born||Sarah DeRemer Clark|
September 24, 1880
Hollywood, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||December 30, 1999|
(aged 119 years, 97 days)[a]
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Former manager, homemaker|
|Height||4 ft 7 in (1.40 m)|
|Title||America's oldest person|
|Spouse(s)||Abraham Lincoln Knauss (m. 1901–1965)|
Sarah DeRemer Clark was born on September 24, 1880, in Hollywood, Pennsylvania, a small coal mining village. She married Abraham Lincoln Knauss in 1901; he became a prominent Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Republican leader, and the recorder of deeds. Their only child Kathryn was born in 1903 and died in 2005 at the age of 101 years. Her husband died in 1965 at 86 years old.
At age 116, she was recognized as being the new United States national longevity record holder, then thought to have been held by Carrie C. White (reportedly 1874–1991). In 1998, she became the world's oldest person when 117-year-old Canadian Marie-Louise Meilleur of Quebec died. When her family members told her of her newfound fame, her response was a smile and "So what?"
Knauss lived through seven wars involving the U.S. (including both World Wars) and the administrations of 23 presidents (from Rutherford B. Hayes to Bill Clinton). At her death, she was one of seven living generations of her family. She died just thirty-three hours before the 2000 year celebrations began, which were sometimes reported as having just missed living into a third century, although the 21st century and the 3rd millennium actually began on January 1, 2001.
Knauss died of natural causes in Allentown, Pennsylvania on December 30, 1999 at Phoebe Home (now known as Phoebe Allentown, a subsidiary of Phoebe-Devitt Homes, Inc.) where she had lived for the final nine years of her life. She credited not letting things upset her as being the "secret" to her longevity.[b]
Of her death, state senator Charlie Dent, who had attended her 115th birthday party in 1995, said, "Mrs. Knauss was an extraordinary woman who pushed the outer limits of longevity. This is a sad occasion, but she certainly had an eventful life."
- Merrill, Gary F. (February 3, 2015). Our Aging Bodies. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813575261. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
- Devlin, Ron (January 1, 2000). "Sarah's Century". The Morning Call. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- Newton, Christopher (31 December 1999). "Sarah Knauss, world's oldest person, dies at 119". Athens Banner-Herald. Online Athens. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
- "Nothing Fazes Oldest Woman". Associated Press. April 19, 1998. Retrieved December 9, 2007.
- "World's oldest person dies. She is the oldest verified American in history". The Guardian. London, England. January 1, 2000. Retrieved December 9, 2007.
- "Sarah Knauss, World's Oldest Person Dies at 119". The Nevada Daily Mail. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. December 31, 1999. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- "World's oldest person misses millennium". CNN via WebCite. Retrieved March 23, 2008.
As one of very few people who have already seen one century roll over to the next, she would probably not have made a fuss about the arrival of the year 2000.
- Harris, Timothy (2009). Living to 100 and Beyond. Winsted, CT: ACTEX Publications. p. 85. ISBN 1566986990. ISBN 9781566986991. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
- Newton, Christopher (Dec 31, 1999). "Sarah Knauss, World's Oldest Person Dies at 119". Lakeland Ledger. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Associated Press. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
- Enriquez, Juan (October 25, 2005). As the Future Catches You: How Genomics and Other Forces Are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth. New York: The Crown Publishing Group, Three Rivers Press. p. 96. ISBN 9781400047741. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
- Devlin, Ron (December 31, 1999). "Sarah Knauss, oldest person, dies at 119". The Morning Call. Retrieved February 18, 2013 – via Genealogy.com.