HAROLD, Ky. — In 1909, the number of households with a telephone was 8 percent, and the average wage was 22 cents an hour. The automobile was still a new invention, and a buyer had to choose whether they wanted theirs powered by gasoline, electricity or steam.
Closer to home, Pikeville Collegiate Institute, which would later become the University of Pikeville, was celebrating 20 years, but it would be another 15 years before the forerunner to Pikeville Medical Center treated its first patient.
One other thing happened in 1909 — Mary Brown, of Logan County, W.Va., was born on the Fourth of July.
On Friday evening, many of her six children, five grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren and 18 great great grandchildren gathered at the Harold home of her great grandchildren, Orlando and Amber King, to help her celebrate her 109th birthday with a Hawaiian luau-themed party. The celebration is an annual event and serves as the center of a family reunion.
When asked the secret to her longevity, Brown immediately knows where credit lies.
Brown worked for many years as head cook at Buffalo High School, before becoming a social worker for PRIDE Community Services in Logan County. She was married to Walter A. Brown for 75 years before his passing.