War of 1812
Mahala Wells Huff
A Woman Older Than County of Lawrence
Mrs. Mahala Wells Huff, Living Near Louisa, is 104 Years Old.
It has been a long time since the city of Louisa and the county of Lawrence came into existence. We hardly expect to find anything animate that has lived on this earth long enough to remember as far back as the beginning of this centennial span. But we have with us a woman who has exceeded that hundred years by four. Not only that but she looks good for many more years.
This remarkable woman is Mrs. Mahala Huff, widow of a veteran of the war of 1812. The pension department has her record and she is the oldest person on their rolls. Doubtless she is the oldest woman in the state of Kentucky.
She lives three miles southeast of Louisa.
The picture shown at the head of this article was taken on the 18th day of August. She lives with her son Henderson Wells, who is in his 70th year.
When a reporter of the NEWS visited the home she was cutting weeds with a hoe. She is very active and industrious, keeping busy at all kinds of housework - cooking, sweeping, etc. Also, she takes care of a lot of chickens. Two weeks ago, she walked two miles over a mountain to visit some friends.
Mrs. Huff was born and raised on Wells Ridge on Twelve Pole, Va. now W. Va. in 1818 and moved to Fort Gay later on. 37 years ago she moved to Lawrence county with her son.
Notwithstanding her extreme age she is bright and happy and takes a lively interest in affairs around her. Her hearing is good and she can see well enough to thread a needle.
The following facts were taken from the pension records at Washington recently by a Louisville newspaper:
Washington, May 30. - On this Decoration day the thoughts of the second conflict in the nation's history fought 110 years ago, is uppermost in the minds of at least two score of women - forty some widows who had husbands in the war of 1812.
And on this Declaration day for the first time, Kentucky has the honor of being the home State of the eldest widow, whose name is on the Government pension rolls as the result of service rendered to the country by her husband in the first war after the foundation of the American Government.
For, according to the latest available record of the United States Pension Office, Mrs. Mahala Huff of Louisa, Ky. can claim that distinction.
Mrs. Huff, who is 103 years old, is the widow of James Huff who served as a private in Company G of the Virginia Militia in the war of 1812. He volunteered November 5, 1813, at Knoxville, Tenn., and served until March 10, 1814, when he was honorably discharged. James Huff, according to the Pension Bureau records was born in Virginia in 1794. He was 19 years old when he volunteered to fight for his country against the British and he was still under his majority when he was discharged, after serving with the Fourth Regiment of General Taylor's brigade and having participated in numreous skirmishes near Norfolk, Va.
Married When 50 Years Old
Two years fater he had doffed the uniform and returned to his farm he married Miss Anna Pennington in Harlan county, Kentucky. Later his wife died and December 5, 1869 when 75 years old, he married again, his second wife being Mahala Wells, who was then 50 years old. And the second Mrs. Huff, according to the records, still survives and is now a resident of Louisa, Ky. where the Government sends her monthly pension check. On Decoration day a year ago the distinction now held by Mrs. Huff went to Mrs. Elizabeth Tyler of Baltimore, Md. who died recently at the age of 104.
Source: Big Sandy News, September 1, 1922, Centennial Edition
Transcribed by Marlitta H. Perkins