Newspaper Page Text
TULSA TWTT.Y WORLD. THURSDAY, .M'l.Y 1, 1020
A A V W SAlJW AkJf W TA li f
FACTS vs. FICTION
What is the Truth about Old Uncle John
Shell,of Greasy Creek.Kentucky? Is He"The
uiut'M Living rid ii
or Only a Youngster
of 95 to 100 Summers?
John Slid) turning a grindstone for his five-year-old
son, Albert, to sharpen a jack-knife.
JOHN SHELL AND FAMILY
John HtCMl nr. nncl wile and I TMi til
son. Al-.i A. II. Shrll, grandson i.l John ShcIL
Ins wile and their two dauihlcia.
III MM puzzle. "How old Is Ann," Is now pul
into the shade by the question lately agitated In tha
public press ns to "liow o J is John?"
OKI "1,'ncle" Johnny Shell, the Kentucky moun
t ! who paid a visit to (he Kentucky State FW
at Louisville last fall, lias become Utuous over
night as a result of this controversy.
Such papers as the "New York Herald", the "Literary
DlfWt"i and other periodicals ol national circulation, hava
printtd Ms picture, with comments on the question at Issue.
So Midi interest has been shown In the matter, that a
special Investigator was sent to Greasy Creek, Kentucky, by
The Chattanooga Medicine Company (whose medicine
Thedloid i Mack-Draught Liver Medicine had been used
In the Shell family for many years) In order lo get more In-
foimalkin on I lie subject.
The investigator's report is given on another column
ol this page. The results of this Investigation aeem to
show, on the testimony ol Mends and neighbors, that
John Shrll is about 112 years old, that his health Is good
lor n man of his age, and that his mind Is clearer than
that ol the avet.igc centenarian.
A statement from his grandson (A. II. Shell) regard
ing the use of Thedford's Black-Draught, by John
Shell himself, is given at the loot of this
I Gopyt ight.UNRW00D o I'MHRWOOD. ntj
"OHN SHELL is without doubt trie
' I most remarkable centenarian I
I I have seen, and he is about the
J I eighth 1 have met," says our investigator. "His memory is wm
J derful. The nearest that he and his familv can come to his mm
is 112 years. His family has never claimed him to be over that age.
The tax records that were burned in the court house at Harlan gave
the date of his birth, as near as they could make it out, as September, 1K08.
He also counts from the aye of his first wife, who died at the age of 107.
John Shell cannot read or write, but for many years he was an
expert maker of flint-lock rifles. John Shell rifles, marked with his private
mark Just behind the luck, are prized by collectors.
"In order to get a consensus of opinion as to his probable age, I
thought it best to secure statements and affidavits from members of the family
and neighbors, who have known hitn for many years. I therefore secured
such statements from Judge A. B. Cornett, T. H. Howard, attorney-at-law,
and W. B. Kelly, ex-United States Marshal, and others. These are auionf the
most substantial and reliable men of Kentucky. '
Extracts from their statements are given below.
Over 100, Says W. B. Kelly
I have known "Uncle" Johnny Shell for years, in fact, stayed with him pood deal,
bout 16 years ago. Prom the age Mr. Shell claimed to be, when I stayed with him, and the
time that has elapsed since, I would Judge him to be a good deal over 100 years old.
W. U. KELLY.
Ex-United States Marslial.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this April 24th, 1920.
E. F. BOGOEN, Notary Public, Harlan Co., Ky.
Shell Family Record Says 112
My Aunt, Mrs. Martha Garrison, says that the date in her Bible, containing rrandpa's
was September IS, H. I riave every ifason to believe that she speaks lite truth. My
.1 . n
The heneaih olrtii
finme at Oira
11 vr.l tor 50 ycara.
nti ol 107 yi tit.
shown llncte John Sheila
KrntiKhr. sshae lip
Ilia lllt Wile Jit 1 licit,
Shell, says this is the truth ao far as he has ever known; also my uncle.
father. W. C
A. B. Shell
A. If. SHELL
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 2Mh day of April, 1920.
G. W. HOWARD, County Court Clerk.
At Least 110, Says T. S.Ward
I will be fil year old the lOttl of July, 1920. I was born and raised In Harlan County,
Kentucky, In 1863 I met Johnny Shell, who was called "Uncle Johnny" then. I was dodg
ing the Confederate army and met "Uncle Johnny". He was too old then for service in the
Civil war. I am satisfied he is at least 110 years old. as he is a much older man than I am.
Most everyone in Harlan County knows me and will take my word. tor anything I say. I
would not make a statement unless I believed itlo be true.
T. S. WAKtX
Subscribed and swornto before me, this 23rd day ol April, 1920.
M. G. SMITH, Notary Public. Harlan Co., Ky.
Attorney Howard Saya Over 100
In dlllerrnt conver-.alloni with Jnhn Shell, he ottrn told about COffllSJ to Ke nturky with hi father In the
aummer ol ISIS. and Ihal H" gcampi-.l lirn the ton ol Harlan. K v. . is now lo.aieil. and that at i hat time he u 12
year old In abstiactuiB old land papers I found one where an entry was made by S Shell llnhn's lather! in the
ym 1810. In the ncitnboihood where he njw lives. 1 have cveiy rcaaon to beh. ve John Shell la a jjod dial over IU0
T. II. HOWARD, Attorney at Law,
Subscribed an J sworn to ticlora me. thai 23rd day ot April. 1920.
M. a S.VITIL Notary l'ublic. Harlan Co.. Ky.
Copyright 1tiD.MOO 6 uNDUtwOOO- Nj tot
OLD "UNCLE" JOHN SHELL
A Remarkable Old Mountaineer.
Now Llvlnii at Greasy Creek, Kentucky.
Was thought tiy Rome to be 131 years old, but a full investigation
does not disi lose .my uli.ible records ku'"K back so far,
Over 100 and an Honest Man
! hvi ktv " hi I--hnny Shrll for ibnut 50 yrirs. I havr iold film onds for 40
mm W Kelly toldol a man Smith. Id ami Siull gtew up lugr thrr. about The anie ape.
1( Smiih had iived hi would be htile over a Imiulitd now. kichatj WiIvmi. who w rtittd
law mil" ffoin Shell uya Bnell has turned Iuj I talked tj Mu ll latl year. Me knew nc
and talked to inc aa UlteUlfVattl ai 1 ever lie aid hitu 1 have alwayi found juhu bheU an
on,,ln,a a C. HOWARD.
Judge Cornett Says All of 108
I have knwn "I 'tide Johnny" Shell for 311 or more ye.irv I have known ol him aa
an obi old man hon all repnrU Iroin the lew who lived here w nen he aaid he came here at
the aae ol about Ii he is now at least 108 year, old. and I believe older. I have talaed
with him in the last year arid he uemed to be intelbieid and Just as rational as I ever saw bun.
tJudjt) A. U. CORNETT, HaiUn. Ky.
"Older Than My Mother, 104"
I have krosu n "I'nele Johnnv" Shell all my lite. I am almost SS. I would place
6ia gaj j iori lohnni Shell was older Uian my mother, and site would tiavc been IU4. had she
ved till now. ri O. LEWIS.
In justice lo John Shell and his family, it should be said
that neither he nor they have ever claimed the extreme old ajje
that was given in some of the reports published In the daily
press. A Story ol the kind grows in the idling, and the desire
lor something startling to make good reatting is no duubt the
cause for the Interesting fiction (founded on fact) that has been
published about old "Uncle" Johnny Shell.
Facts, however, In many cases, are just as interesting as
fiction, and we have endeavored in this article to give the lacts
as we'have been able to find them.
THE ClIATTAtlOOOA MEDICINE CC
Statement by John Shell's Grandson
A. H. Shell, aged 45, of Chappell, Kentucky, grandson of John Shell,
whose picture is shown In the group at top of this page, authorized publication
of the following statement: -
"My grandfather has lived to a remarkable age. When a young man, he
took very little medicine. Of late years lie lias needed medicine and my wife
lias looked after it for him. . .He needed something as a laxative and to
keep his liver acting, so she sends to the store for
and makes him 4 tea from that and it keeps him in splendid shape."
L A. 0