A policy of always being “up and doing” enabled her to attain her present age, says Mrs. Sarah Ann Darting (Granny Dutton), near Rutledge, who was registered for a sugar ration book as being 113 years old.
Records to indicate her exact age are not available, but her family and friends declare it is well established that she is well over 100 years of age. The family Bible has the birth of her late husband, John Darting, as Jan. 9, 1822. The date was written in purple ink (pokeberry juice) with a goose quill.
Though Mrs. Darting is only 28 miles from Knoxville, she has not been there since she passed through the city in a covered wagon when she was a small child “going from Virginy to Alabam.”
A daughter and granddaughter have tried to persuade her to accompany them to Knoxville in their automobiles but she said she didn’t have time as she had “to be up and doing.”
She recalls that a sister died on the covered wagon trip from Virginia to Alabama and was buried on Lookout Mountain.
Mrs. Darting came to Grainger County from Sullivan County 75 years ago as a bride, and still has seed potatoes from slips she brought with her.
She began housekeeping near where she now lives. Later she bought a small tract of land, paying $300 purchase price in cash which she carried in a flour sack, with no coin higher than a 50-cent piece included in the total.
Mrs. Darting remembered how she saved the money for the land from income she obtained through washing clothes at 25 cents a day and selling dried fruit at two to three cents a pound, and occasionally selling eggs and other farm products.
When she moved 60 years ago to the house where she now lives, she continued to walk from two to five miles and wash at 25 cents a day until a short time ago.
She attributes her long life to the fact that she had to be “up and doing” and to keeping her feet “warm and dry.”
Always she has worn brogans and homemade wool stockings.
Now, her chief joy is the companionship of a dog given her 10 years ago by a grandson and a chicken given her at Easter by a granddaughter.
Source unidentified. The newspaper clipping was found in the “Grainger County” vertical files at McClung Collection.
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