In 1910, William Howard Taft was the 27th president of the United States, automobiles were scarce, the Boy Scouts of America was established and Westside resident Wilma Jackson was born.
Jackson has lived on the Westside most of her life and turns 102 years old on Oct. 10. She was born in Mississippi, but came to Ohio after the death of her first husband, said Jackson’s daughter, Jessie Wilgfall.
According to Wilgfall, her mother worked as a housekeeper after moving in with her sister on the Westside.
“I was young,” Wilgfall said. “She left me with my grandma. She brought my sister with her because she was the baby.”
Eventually she met her second husband and the couple had four sons. Jackson has 19 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
Jackson lived on her own until she was 98 years old, then lived with Wilgfall. At the end of three years, at 101 years old, she was beginning to get frail and family members moved her to the Abaco Care Facility.
“She was up and doing good (at 98),” Wilgfall said. “She was still able to cook and do her housework. She worked in the yard. She would visit the sick. She went to church all the time and they would laugh because she was able to go up the steps to the church by herself.”
Jackson never acquired a driver’s license. She lived across the street from the Hilltop Church of God.
When asked what led to her mom’s long life, Wilgfall said her activity and good eating habits. Her mom stays away from processed foods.
Her son, Levester Jackson, said his mom does not eat foods for taste, but eats meals that are healthy for her. He never witnessed her take a drink of whiskey, wine or smoke a cigarette and she mainly drinks water.
“She was raised on the farm and was one of the ones chosen to do the cooking while her brothers and father were out in the field,” Levester said. “She canned her food.”
While Wilgfall cannot remember Jackson talking much about her life, she said her grandparents were sharecroppers in Mississippi.
Jackson never raises her voice, Wilgfall said.
“She is the kind of person with a really big smile,” Wilgfall said. “Even now when I lean over and kiss her she looks up and gives me a big smile. I read the scripture to her and we always have a prayer.”
Levester said his mom has the gift of hospitality. She cleaned houses by day and came home to cook dinner and minister to the people in her neighborhood.
“She was taking care of the sick people in the neighborhood … she was a very spiritual person and would pray for them,” Levester said.
Levester remembers a trip the doctor when his mom was in her 90s. He stepped out of the room and came back in to find his mom praying for the receptionist.