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Posey County woman turns 102

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Ashworth recalls a century of history

By Kelsey Schapker

Imagine living to the age of 102 and experiencing the  development of electricity, automobiles, the internet, air conditioning and more. Posey County resident Augusta Ashworth has done just that as she celebrated her 102nd birthday on June 17 with family and friends.

“I’m not as young as I used to be,” Ashworth laughed and said.

Born in 1914 in Perry County, Ind., her family migrated to Posey County by a horse and wagon. Ashworth has seven other brothers and sisters and said her favorite memory as a child was popping popcorn over a stove-fire with her siblings. She graduated from the eighth grade with high honors from St. Matthews; instead of attending high school when she turned 15, she decided to work at the overall factory located on Main Street.

“I started out by putting the bib pocket on the overalls. A lot of women worked there. I worked my way up and eventually was one of the women who used scissors to cut the excess thread off of the overalls.”

Her family did not purchase their first automobile until the 1920s, so Ashworth would catch a ride with a neighbor who owned a vehicle in order to get to work.

Ashworth married her husband, Wilber, in 1936. The two lived in Mount Vernon where they raised their three children, Melba Jean, Jerry and Thomas. Wilber and Ashworth were married for 46 years before Wilber passed away. Ashworth said some of her favorite memories are raising her children, dancing every Saturday night at the Eagles Club with her husband and traveling to Florida and California.

“I loved to dance with Wilber. We could really dance. I still enjoy spending time with my family.”

Ashworth was a farm wife and took care of a garden as well as pigs and chickens. She said she also made her own clothes, as well as her children’s clothes.

“I had to learn to be a farm wife. I was used to rough stuff. I would bring the boys lunch while they worked on the farm. We lived on a dirt road because the highway didn’t exist yet, so when it would rain, we would have to try to get back to the house.”

Ashworth said she remembers lighting a kerosene lamp at night and reading books by the lamp when her children went to bed as she loved to read. Her favorite color is pink and she used to enjoy crochet and making quilts.

The biggest change from 1914 to 2016, Ashworth said, is that everything is completed by machine.

When asked what is her secret to living to age 102 Ashworth said she was a worker. “Well I didn’t know I was going to live this long. My husband used to say that I am tougher than a pine knot. I never sat down, I worked and stayed busy.”

Ashworth kept her driver’s license until she was 98, and during her lifetime she was actively involved in Blacks Chapel Church and the Grafton Community Club. She said she enjoyed babysitting her grandkids and all the grandbabies slept in a family baby bed.

 

Her daughter-in-law, Becky Ashworth, described the family’s favorite story of Augusta.

“She was about 94-years-old when she went out one night to water her flowers. She stepped off the edge of the sidewalk, fell and broke her hip. She dragged herself around to the backdoor on the sidewalk but she could not reach up to grab a hold of the door handle, so she laid outside all night. She laid out there until about 4 p.m. the next day. Her son had just been there the day before to check on her, so when he came back the next day, he found her lying on the sidewalk. She would always tell everyone her asked her about it, “Well it was a beautiful night. The moon and the stars were shining bright.” She went to rehab and then went back home afterwards. We always tell the story because she wasn’t upset about it, she said she enjoyed laying there looking at the stars and the moon.”

Ashworth recently received a letter from Michelle Obama at The White House wishing her a Happy Birthday.

Ashworth has seven grandkids and eight great-grandkids.