T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History
Living off the land and longevity
Jawanna Mayo Huntsberry by Chelsea Aresneault, 2016.
JAWANNA MAYO HUNTSBERRY: My grandmother [Pinky Catlon Mayo] and her sisters, they all lived . . . Aunt Minerva was her sister. She lived to be a hundred and eight years old. Then her other sister, Aunt [Lanine?] she was eighty one years old when she died. So . . . But they had some longevities. Then her brother, Grandma Pinky’s brother, was Francois. They called him Francis. But he used to hop trains all the time and that’s how he got killed in the 1900s, hopping the train.

CHELSEA ARSENEAULT: What do you think contributed to their longevity? Why did they live so long?

HUNTSBERRY: Well because, you know, them back there, people lived on lands and stuff like that. We didn’t have all the chemicals and all that stuff. The lands was really rich back then. And that’s what me and my brother was talking about. We didn’t have all that sickness, the colds and all that stuff. We didn’t have all of that. When we was coming up we didn’t have all of that because we lived on the land. We did. Everything we raised, we raised. Chickens, horses, we had cows, we had pigs, and that’s how people lived back then. And really when people died, they died mostly with pneumonia, the elder people, or they just . . . old age.
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