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Nellie Cross (USA, 1889-2002)

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I noticed that it was the 20th anniversary of Nellie Cross's passing, so I decided to make a thread about her life.

Nellie Florence Wakefield was born on October 28, 1889 in Plano, Iowa, the daughter of Samuel Milton Wakefield (1853-1928) and Serena Ellen Sales (1858-1939). She had a fraternal twin brother, William Lawrence Wakefield, who died on December 18, 1972 at the age of 83. In addition to William, Nellie had eight other siblings - Jesse (1878-1948), James (1880-1908), Lillian (1882-1912), Clara (1884-1972), Earl (1887-1961), Almer (who died at just 15 days old in 1892), Bertha (1895-1934), and Bessie (1897-1918).

Nellie married Jacob Thomas "Jake" Parton (1887-1964) on March 1, 1906 in Brazil, Iowa. They had one son together, Clyde (1906-1973). The marriage did not last and Nellie and Jake divorced after about a year of marriage. Clyde eventually went to live with his maternal grandparents.

Nellie then married William Adam Rouse (1872-1952) around 1907. They had three sons together - Arthur (1912-1992), Harold (1914-1993), and Merle (who died at the age of just seven months in 1918). However, this marriage ultimately ended in divorce too sometime in the 1920s.

Nellie's third marriage was to Roy Chariton Yates (1888-1938), on September 5_ 1928 in Chillicothe, Missouri. The couple had no children together, but Nellie and Roy stayed together until Roy died in 1938.

Nellie's last marriage was to James Cross (c. 1907-?) around 1939. I don't know when James died, but they were still married in 1950 at least.

Following Clyde Wakefield and his wife's death in a car accident in 1973, Clyde's side of the family lost contact with the rest of the family for many years, and many assumed that Nellie had passed away already. It came as a great shock when Clyde's branch of the family reconnected with the other descendants of Nellie in 2001 and learned that she was still alive.

Nellie stayed active even as a centenarian. She still tended to her garden, and her granddaughter spoke often of an incident in which Nellie raked 28 bags of leaves in her yard at the age of 104. She took trips to casinos every year on her birthday until her final trip for her 110th birthday, a trip that was talked about on Nightline on ABC. She cited not smoking or drinking as her secrets to longevity.

Nellie Cross passed away on April 3, 2002 in Des Moines, Iowa, aged 112 years, 157 days.

Nellie in 1999, with two great-great-great-grandchildren.

Date unknown.