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.
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
Was Indeed A Long Life
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.