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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oldest Person in New Gretna- Part 1

(See Wednesday, December 3, 2008 for Part 2)

Tom Doherty sent me this email a few days ago, and it got me to thinking about who the oldest person currently living in New Gretna and/or the oldest person with New Gretna roots might be. Renard Wiseman, who I believe was the oldest New Gretna resident, recently passed away at age 94. 
My Mom (Marie Bishop Doherty) who grew up in my house in New Gretna (the old homestead of Irene and Sylvester Bishop), did some analysis yesterday and concluded that actually she is now the oldest person left on Earth with strong connections to that town.   So, though I have left New Gretna to visit down here (Yorktown, Va.), actually, I'm still in New Gretna.   No one leaves New Gretna once they arrive.   New Gretna gets in the blood, and then becomes an infectious disease which has no cure, other than an eventual return to it.   - Tom
I'm sorry to burst Tom's bubble regarding his mom being the oldest person with New Gretna ties, but Bennie Allen will be 91 this December 10th. Ben was born in New Gretna and lived here all his life. By my calculations that would make him 11 years older than Marie McAnney Doherty, Tom's mom. 

Anyone know of a New Gretna-ite [just invented a new word] who is older than Ben?    - Pete S.
(l-r) Marie McAnney [Tom's great aunt], little Marie Bishop [nee Doherty- Tom's mother], and Della McAnney [Tom's great grandmother]. Irene McAnney Bishop, Tom's grandmother,  likely took the photo. (Photo courtesy of Margaret Cramer McAnney.)

Ben and Elaine Allen at their 60th wedding anniversary party at the New Gretna Presbyterian Church on January 13, 2002. (Photo by Pete Stemmer.)

Ben and Elaine don't have a computer, but if you wish to send Ben a 91st Birthday Greeting, attach it to the comments section below, and I'll print the comments out and deliver them to Ben.  - Pete S.


  1. I'm not sure of her exact age, but I think Ethel (Cramer)Upton, my mothers oldest sister, is at least 96 years old. She now lives in Florida, but spent her childhood and much of her adult life in New Gretna. She and her husband, Frank Archer, lived in the house they built on Bass River.

  2. Jim,

    You're correct! I had forgotten about Ethel. That means, as of now we have the following:

    • Ethel Cramer Archer Upton, age about 96, is the oldest living person with roots to New Gretna.
    • Bennie Allen, age 91 this December 10th, is the oldest current resident in New Gretna.

    Anyone with information as to Ethel's exact age or information regarding older "New Gretna-ites", let's hear from you.

    Pete S.

  3. I checked out the age of Ethel Cramer Archer Upton in Murray & Jean Harris' Cramer genealogy book, "The Descendants of William Cranmer of Elizabethtown, NJ". Ethel was born February 27, 1911 which would make her 97 years old. Wow! Looks like we have a sure winner.

    Pete S.

  4. Happy 91st Birthday Ben Allen! Hello to Elaine also! Missed seeing you the last time I was "home". Next time for sure. I just addressed a Christmas card to you two. Ben, I remember watching you plow the field each Spring for our garden. Ford tractor if I recall!
    One of many wonderful New Gretna memories. Hello to all.
    Kind regards,
    Debbie West