The Age Defying Levi H. Gorrell

Levi Henshaw Gorrell, Oldest resident at Kansas Masonic Home
Levi H Gorrell and Christopher F Chester, 1922 oldest and youngest residents at Kansas Masonic Home.

 

My second great grandfather, Levi Henshaw Gorrell, must have been an interesting guy to know.  He lived a long , active life that’s well documented in the Iola, Kansas newspapers.  Even at age 99, he was out working the farm, riding horses and being a worry to his children!  He was at varying times a blacksmith, a veterinarian and held numerous civic positions.  There are so many news clippings about him. He’s a genealogists dream. Almost. You see, there’s something about his age that just doesn’t make sense.  In 1922 the Masonic Home in Wichita Kansas was home to both the oldest and the youngest residents of Masonic homes in the state.  That’s Levi in the photo, at 100 years old.  They even threw him a big birthday party that made the paper. He made the paper again on his 104th birthday. The problem is that  Levi died on June 23, 1926.  In his obituary, his birthday is listed as Oct. 8, 1832. That makes him 94, so in 1922 he would only have been 90.  Still, pretty darn old for the era, but not exactly a centenarian.

Levi H Gorrell 104th Birthday Photo ClippingSo far, I’ve not found any documentation on his birth but what I I have seen include census records and newspaper articles with various dates; 1822,1831,1832, 1833,1838.  Now, I know our ancestors sometimes played fast and loose with dates, just like the spelling of names but this is just silly.  I keep looking for a birth record. One day it will turn up. In the meantime, I think of him as having a good laugh at us in 2014 trying to solve an old man’s birth date.

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