WINNSBORO — In 1915, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected a women’s suffrage proposal, the Ottoman Army began a raid on the Suez Canal, Charlie Chaplin starred in a motion picture called “The Tramp” and Henrietta Free was born.
On Thursday, the Fairfield County native and resident of Blair turned 100 years old.
“I feel pretty good,” Free said.
Six generations of Free’s family are gathering together in celebration of a century of life.
“Most of all we’ll be celebrating love,” Carrie Lemon said.
Free’s descendents are traveling to be with her, and after a service at St. Matthews Church, they will celebrate with a family dinner, including her children Carrie Lemon, James Free, Mary Free, Brownie Feaster, Nancy Patrick, Joe Free, John Free and Minnie Lemon.
“We’re celebrating 100 years for our queen,” said Minnie Lemon, daughter of Free. “We’ve got a special cake for our Queen.”
Lemon explained she bestowed the regal nickname upon her mother because the 100-year-old matriarch is deserving of respect and special treatment.
“To me, that’s my name for her,” Lemon said. “She might not be in London, but she’s our queen.”
Family of Fairfield County’s centenarian describe her as a Godly, hardworking woman, who lived a clean life.
“She never smoked or drank — not even coffee,” said Carrie Lemon, Free’s eldest daughter.
Instead, she said her mother was partial to Diet Pepsi.
Free’s daughters said she administered tough love while always deeply caring for her family.
“She did not spare the rod to spoil the child,” Minnie Lemon said. “She took very good care of her family.”
Mary Free, Free’s daughter, said her mother also loved to eat.
“She loves to eat,” Free said. “She won’t eat breakfast if she don’t have her fatback.”
The 100-year-old Free agreed with her daughters’ sentiments.
“Don’t call me too late to eat,” Free said.
The matriarch, who will celebrate her 100th birthday surrounded by six generations of family and her eight children, said her longevity comes from the good will of God.
“By God’s grace, I’m still here,” Free said.
Reach Ben Hohenstatt at 803-635-4016. Follow him on Twitter @WinnsboroHerald