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Oldest Living American

Charlie Smith was 23 years old when the Civil War ended; 61 when the Wright Brothers first flew. In 1977 he was recognized as the oldest living American of all time. When asked about his secret for longevity he said: “I ain’t got no special secret for how I live so long. I just live.” Smith avoided exercise. “I don’t do much now. I just sit here, and when I get tired of sitting I get up, and when I get tired of that, I sit down.”

Wallechinsky and Wallace, The People’s Almanac #2, 1978, p. 943.