MILAN—With her 97th birthday only a few weeks away, Miss Phebe A. Minzey, Milan’s oldest resident, is getting a lot of enjoyment out of life, but at every opportunity she’ll put in a word for “the good old days.”
Despite her recollection of living in windowless houses and of cooking in iron pots over open fireplaces, Miss Minzey is firm in her contention that the young people of her day “had better times, probably because they were more easily satisfied.”
She ascribes her own cheerful disposition as due to her ability to look on the bright side of life’s happenings, and in proof of that her friends tell of the way she enjoyed herself during a period of convalescence in a hospital, where she was taken at the age of 80 to undergo a serious operation.
“I certainly had no more fun at any time in my life than I had at that hospital,” Miss Minzey said in referring to the incident.
Born Oct. 8, 1840, in Augusta township, she has been a lifelong resident of Washtenaw county. She lived for 72 years on the farm where she was born and since then has resided in her home at 148 W. Main St. here with a woman companion.
Miss Minzey, who describes herself as a “Scotch Presbyterian,” still attends church services fairly regularly. Her hearing is excellent but she is able to read only large type and depends on the radio for her knowledge of current events.
Third of 12 Children
She was the third of 12 children, all of whom she has survived. There were three daughters, only one of whom married. Miss Minzey and the other sister stayed on the farm and helped with the housework. She recalls the regular Saturday night chore of rubbing their shoes with tallow in preparation for attendance at Sunday school the following day.
Her only vivid recollection of the Civil war is of making the trip to Ypsilanti to see some of the boys in the neighborhood as they boarded a train for the war area.
Miss Minzey’s parents came to Washtenaw county in 1835 from New York state.
IMAGE TEXT: THINKS ‘GOOD OLD DAYS’ WERE BEST: Miss Phebe Minzey, Milan’s oldest resident, will be 97 years of age on Oct. 8, and although she’s enjoying herself she goes on record in favor of the “good old days” whenever the opportunity offers. The third of 12 children, she is the only surviving member of her family.