Coming Up on 111 Years

Magnolia Mitchell of Charleston will be 111 years old on Jan. 21.

Photos and Text
Staff Writer

   She never had any biological children of her own, but as she gets ready to celebrate 111 years on this earth, Magnolia Mitchell looks out over the little town of Charleston and sees scores of her progeny.
   Mitchell’s birthday is Jan. 21.
   “I love my family. God bless them,” said Mitchell, as she sat in her modest home on Wednesday.
Though they didn’t spring from her womb, four children, 36 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren and 40 great-great-grandchildren consider Mitchell their mother.
   As “The Price is Right” played on the television, the man Mitchell calls her grandson, Robert Ross Jr., and her daughter, who is actually her baby sister’s daughter, Blanchie Ross, attended to her. They fed her a breakfast of bacon and eggs and made sure her blankets were where she likes them.
   The gas heater on the wall blazed, keeping it cozy and warm, the way Mitchell likes it.
Blanchie is one of the children that Mitchell raised as if they were her own. Raising babies came as naturally to Mitchell as breathing, Blanchie said.  
   “She raised babies all over this town,” said Blanchie, as she turned down the volume of the TV set. “She worked for white families and raised their children. She raised us, and ministered to so many others.”

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