MILTON, Ga. — A Milton woman who turned 110 years old marking the milestone birthday in a very special way!
Elsada Miriam Duncan was honored by the City of Milton Monday night, as they declared it "Elsada Miriam Duncan." Ms. "Elsie," as she is known, was present city hall Monday night as they made the proclamation.
Duncan was born to farmers on Jan. 15, 1908 in a tiny village in Jamaica. The seventh of 13 children, she has outlived all but one of her younger siblings, Lisetta, who is now 100 years old.
At 13, Duncan started teaching Sunday School and became interested in education, a profession that deviated from typical occupations of that time. From age 8 to 15, Duncan rode her family's donkey to and from school, eventually becoming a teacher's aide.
In her spare time, Duncan studied dressmaking and for almost a decade, she "made sure everyone in her village wore dresses and suits of her own design." Her skills and determination caught the eye of WWI veteran Charles McLaughlin, who eventually became her husband.
Eventually, they moved to bustling Kingston, Jamaica with her adoptive niece. In 1940, the couple welcomed another child, Norma Denton and a few years later, when her adoptive niece had a son, the couple adopted him as their own, too. But, life with Mr. McLaughlin was not what she hoped for, so they soon parted ways.
Duncan continued with creating garments and built her own business. She also remained active in an Apostolic church and went on to become an Evangelist, traveling the world to spread her faith.
Family said she was known to give anyone in need the shoes from her feet and the clothes from her back, "and if the clothes did not fit, she would make new clothes for whomever needed it."
Duncan migrated to the United States in the 1980s with her family when she was in her 70s. They settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where she served at a local church. After battling illness, she eventually relocated to to Alpharetta, Georgia at the age of 87, because the "warmth and sunshine reminded her of her home in Jamaica."
Through the years, Duncan has survived breast cancer at 104, and other illness. She no longer gets around without her wheelchair, but is quick to point out it's not because of "old age."
Family said "you will never hear her say that she’s old." Instead she announces her age with a hearty, “I’m 200 years young” (because she is already looking towards the next century of her life). Duncan is said to have a great sense of humor and alert mental health as she continues her evangelical work and attributes her long life to a strong faith in God.
As for advice to others, she encourages young people today to "take care of themselves" and take enough time to rest.