Cornelia Reese sits with her great-granddaughter Jerryanna Heard, called ‘Peaches,’ Monday morning. Reese will celebrate her birthday Tuesday, turning 104. Reese claims Peaches is the reason she has stayed so young, helping to take care of her since she was born. --Ashley Johnson
Cornelia Reese sits with her great-granddaughter Jerryanna Heard, called ‘Peaches,’ Monday morning. Reese will celebrate her birthday Tuesday, turning 104. Reese claims Peaches is the reason she has stayed so young, helping to take care of her since she was born. -- Ashley Johnson

Dallas County woman credits faith, family for longevity

Published 7:35pm Monday, July 22, 2013

Cornelia Reese will turn 104-years-old Tuesday — making her one of the oldest women in Dallas County.

She isn’t shy about her age either and is quick to talk about the things she still loves to do most, like fishing. Though she doesn’t walk around as much as she did in her younger days as a cotton sharecropper in Dallas County, her voice is still enthusiastic and strong.

Her family members reminded her of her age Monday — she leaned back into her couch in disbelief.

“I’m 104?” she asked her daughter Elizabeth Tyus, with whom she has lived with for years. Her family read her an invitation to a ceremony at the Alabama Citizens Hall of Fame on Aug. 4 in Montgomery. Still reading at 104, she took the invitation and read over it several times, surprised she would be traveling to Montgomery for a celebration.

“Who is going to Montgomery? I am going?” Reese asked.

She re-read the invitation, leaning even closer to the piece of paper.

When asked what helped her live this long she says one word with confidence, “God.”

She said He has allowed her to live this long because, “well, all I can say is I was just an obedient child to Him.”

Her advice to others is to, “take care of yourself, do right, and you live long.”

But possibly her secret to longevity lies in a cane pole.

“I tell you what I love to do, just sit on the creek with a pole,” Reese said loudly with gumption. “I love to fish. I can fish all day, everyday but Sunday. I don’t fish on no Sunday. I catch any kind of fish that bite my pole.”

Her daughter said she hasn’t taken her to fish in close to a year because it makes her nervous when Reese takes the pole and walks away abruptly. “She is just so active,” Tyus said.

The family also credits Reese’s great granddaughter Jerryanne Heard or “Peaches” for her longevity. They claim Reese has watched over Peaches since the day she was born and being around youth has in turn kept her young.

Born in 1909, Reese said plenty of things have changed. For one, she no longer picks cotton, she said, with her husband or has to work a cotton gin — something she did as a sharecropper in Dallas County for years.

As she sits on her front porch, she admits flirtingly she likes to watch the men drive by.

Editor's Picks