Gravemarker of
the oldest resident of
Greenmount Cemetery

Johann Leonard Roeder
July 23, 1909


Our Oldest Resident

Johann Leonard Roeder Aged 109 years 7 months and 2 days. Remarkable Career of Oldest Man in the State of Illinois Who Was with Blucher in the Battle of Waterloo.
    John Leonard Roeder is dead. The spark which for over 109 years had given life to the earthly form flickered out last evening at 6:42 o'clock (July 23, 1909).
    Quincy's remarkable pioneer and the oldest man in the state of Illinois was no more. A career, noted throughout the country for its longevity, is at an end. For over a week Leonard Roeder has been at the point of death at the home of his foster daughter, Mrs. John Liebig, 304 Payson Avenue. The same vitality which bore him through 109 years strengthened his body in it final illness and stubbornly and tenaciously it held him to life when death seemed certain.
    On Thursday of last week he suffered a fall on the stairs at his home. He was not severely injured, but the shock caused by the accident was too much for the body, worn with extreme age. He fell into a stupor from which he never completely rallied. At times, he seemed to be conscious evidencing by the moving of his body that he noticed the attention and care which was being given to him by kind and loving hands.
    He took practically no nourishment whatever. A half teaspoonful of milk at intervals during the day being the only food of any nature which passed his lips for the last week. Every moment the family thought would be his last, but it was only when the bodily frame was wholly worn out and nothing whatever was left to which life might cling that the spirit of the aged man finally departed. He grew weaker and weaker until last evening, when death came.

Was Indeed A Long Life
    The career of Leonard Roeder is one of the most remarkable for its longevity in the history of the country. Up to six weeks ago he had been in his customary health and even after this time he went up and down the stairs of the Liebig home unassisted. He had always been able to eat regularly and take the normal amount of food.
    His extreme age began to have its effects, however, and his body began to show signs of rapid weakening. It is thought that the fall of a week ago was not due to a stumble, but was a collapse, which resulted from his weakened condition. After that it was seen that the time of his death was not far distant. The life of the usual centenarian is ordinarily so shrouded in tradition that anything like an accurate biography is impossible.
    Persons may be living today whose claims to a greater age than that of Leonard Roeder are given quite general credence. There is probably none, however, whose life story can be so accurately told and every detail of which is based on established facts. The date of his birth does not depend upon family hearsay or upon the uncertain memory of events of the distant past.
    At the time of his coming to America, Leonard Roeder was given a Wanderbuch, in which were recorded some of the principal facts of his early life, and therein is plainly written January 21, 1800, as the date of his birth. The other facts of his life, his historic journey with a message from Blucher to Napoleon during the battle of Waterloo, are all based on facts attested by documentary military history.

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