In The Faversham and North East Kent News of Saturday, November 18, 1916 the following article is written:
The Faversham District has now the interesting distinction of possessing among its inhabitants a centenarian, in the person of Mrs. Elizabeth Elvy, of Kettle Hill, Eastling (widow of the Late Mr.Edmund Elvy), who completed her 100th year last month.
So far as our knowledge goes the district has not previously had this rather uncommon distinction, though it came very nearly to doing so in the early part of last year when we chronicled the death of Mr. James Austin of Faversham, who was within 80 days of his centenary, when he died on the 9th. March, he having been born on the 28th May 1815.
Mrs.Elvy was born on the 29th October 1816, at Sheerness, but she was quite an infant when her father came to Slate Farm, Otterden, so that she may almost be said to be a native of this district. She was baptised in the Dockyard Church at Sheerness, but the record of that is lost. A good many things happen in the course of a century, and it seems that the old Dockyard Church was burnt down and the records destroyed. Proof of Mrs. Elvy's age however, is not dependant on the baptismal record. Besides the usual family record there is that of her marriage. She was 25 years of age when she was married, and her eldest son is now in his 75th. year, so that the century is easily established.
The representative of the "Faversham News" called on the centenarian last Saturday afternoon and had a very interesting conversation with her, in the course of which she spoke of some of the outstanding events of her long life.
Mrs. Elvy is a wonderful old lady, to look at her no one would imagine that a hundred winters have passed over her. Many a person of eighty looks older then she. Her face is practically free from wrinkles, and its fullness and remarkable freshness of colour go to make her great age seem quite incredible. She is not at all deaf and converses quite easily and in a manner which makes it a delight to listen to her. Her sight is also pretty good. For reading small print she uses a magnifying glass, but large print she reads without any assistance, and up to a couple of years ago she could see to thread her needle without glasses.
The old lady is also by no means helpless; indeed she is astonishingly active. She gets about quite well, occasionally mounts the hills surrounding her home, and she makes no difficulty of steps. She has lived an industrious life, brought up six children (one other having died in infancy), and even today, with a hundred years behind her, she likes to occupy part of her time in doing little domestic duties. A good proportion of the remainder of her time she spends on reading. Physically, she is extremely well preserved, not at all a shrunken figure one might expect to see, and she generally enjoys very good health, though a slight malady to which she is subject necessitates her remaining in bed for a day now and then. Her memory too, is remarkably clear; she recalls some of her experiences and the happenings of her early days with an amount of detail that is astonishing. Neuralgia has been one of her greatest trials, she having suffered from this a great deal at different times in her life. Only a couple of years ago she had the misfortune to fall and fracture a shoulder bone. Dr. Selby attended her and the old lady eventually got about again and now feels no ill effects from the accident.
Mrs. Elvy has lived under six sovereigns, for she was born during the reign of George III. Some of her ancestors lived to a great age, but she has passed the record of them all. Her mother was within three weeks of 91 when she died, while her grandmother lived into her 92nd year.
As a young woman Mrs. Elvy had an uneventful life. The parish of Otterden today is one of the most rural of spots, and a hundred years ago it was not exactly the hub of the universe. Mrs. Elvy, who, by the way, was the only child of her parents, helped in the dairy work connected with the farm, and in the household duties, but subsequently she took up dressmaking. She was married in 1841, the marriage taking place at Otterden on the 9th November - the day that the late king Edward VII was born. Thursday in last week was therefore the 75th anniversary of her wedding day. The marriage ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr Goodhew, who was Rector of Otterden at that time.
Mrs Elvy's husband, Mr Edmund Elvy, who belonged to Eastling, was a wheelwright by trade, and at the time of their marriage he was working at Faversham. Accordingly their married life was commenced in Faversham, their home being one of the old cottages in the corner of the East end of Abbey Place, abutting the Shooting Meadows, and the old Sextry Orchard. Thither they came on their wedding day and learned that the bells of Faversham Church had been ringing all day in honour of the birth of Prince Edward.
For sixteen years Mrs. Elvy and her husband resided in Faversham, where all their seven children - four sons and three daughters - were born. Mr. Elvy worked for a while under the late Mr Tindall and also for Mr Jones at Ospringe.
On the death of her father, Mrs Elvy and her husband left Faversham and went up to Slate Farm, Otterden, which Mr Elvy - whose father was an agriculturist - carried on for some time. But they only stayed there for three years and then moved to the house where Mrs. Elvy has now lived for 56 years. In this house Mrs Elvy's mother who moved there with her daughter and son-in-law died in her 91st year.
Mrs. Elvy's husband passed away in his 87th year, some eighteen years ago, their married life having then extended some 57 years, so they celebrated their golden wedding and were approaching the diamond anniversary.
On the occasion of her 100th birthday the old lady received many congratulations. Someone, it seems, had acquainted the Queen of the event and Mrs Elvy received the following letter of congratulation written on her Majesty's behalf:-
October 19th 1916.
From the Rev. T. Musgrave Burton, Rector of Eastling, and Mrs Burton, Mrs Elvy received a handsome Prayer and Hymn Book in large print, appropriately inscribed, and Dr. Selby sent her a silver caddy spoon.
Unlike most centenarians, Mrs Elvy is unable to boast of a long line of descendants. Of her seven children, five survive, but she has only one grandchild. One daughter, and also a son, reside with her and are devoted in their care of their aged mother. The eldest son is in California, whither he went as a youth and has been successful in fruit growing. About twelve years ago he came home on a visit to his mother whom he had not seen for 44 years.
In conclusion we may echo the kindly wish of her majesty, the queen, that the centenarian may continue for some time longer to enjoy a happy old age.