People in Shellman live long lives - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

People in Shellman live long lives

By Jay Polk - bio | email

January 5, 2009

SHELLMAN, GA (WALB) - Shellman Mayor Paul Langford was surfing the Internet one day when he saw something interesting.

"(I) saw an article where Arnold Schwarzenegger was honoring a lady for her birthday."

After a little investigation he discovered that the woman - Gertrude Baines - was set to become the oldest person alive. What was interesting was that Baines was born in Shellman.  In 1894. Langford knew what he had to do.

"Back this Summer, the council and I we sent her a key to the city and we did a proclamation naming it Gertrude Baines Day," said Langford.

Becoming the oldest living person has a certain level of fame attached to it. The local paper even did a nice story on Gertrude.

"I found an article that was in the Los Angeles paper. I double checked it and it was true. 114 years old," said Dave Brown, the Publisher of the Citizen News.

And she's become quite the topic of conversation in this town of 1200 in Randolph County. But as it turns out, Gertrude is not alone when it comes to living a long life.

In the 16th century, Ponce DeLeon came to Florida searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth, but if he wanted to live to a ripe old age all he had to do was take a little trip to the north to this small town in Southwest Georgia.

That's because, in Shellman, there are a number of people who have also lived into their 90s and beyond.

"We've got one resident here right now that's 102, still living. We've got another lady, just below town. Her son lives here in town, she's 98. She lives alone, drives, mows her own grass and she's got a big yard," said Langford.

So what allows the people here to live so long?

"I think it's the stress free atmosphere," said Brown.

So maybe you won't find the Fountain of Youth, but you can still live a stress free life here. And that's not so bad.

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