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At ages 104 and 101, sisters have pretty much seen it all

Sisters Caroline Oliver and Pearl Morgan have spent a lifetime together. A long lifetime.

At 104, Caroline got a head start over 101-year-old sister Pearl, and for more than a century, both sisters have experienced some of the most pivotal moments in history.

They each have lived through the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, the days of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, on through the 70s, 80s, 90s and into the new millennium.

 The sisters have seen it all. Era after era and generation after generation have changed right before their eyes with advances in technology and know-how that neither woman could ever have imagined.

Born and raised in the Bold Springs community of Halifax County to a family of farmers on April 10, 1908, Morgan came into the world with a twin brother who passed away in 1984. 

Oliver was born a little over two years later on Aug. 2, 1910. Morgan and Oliver are the only two remaining siblings out of 10 children born to John and Amanda Long.

“I had a good childhood,” Oliver recalled in an interview at her Bold Springs home.

 Morgan graduated from Halifax County Training School in 1927, and Oliver attended the same school up through the eighth grade.

 On Oct. 25, 1931 Morgan married John Hamlett Morgan, and they remained married until he passed away June 26, 1997. Together they reared a daughter and five sons, one of whom died in 1998. 

Morgan has 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

 Oliver got married in 1934 to the late William Thomas Oliver. She also remained married to her husband until his death in 1999. Together they had three children, three grandchildren and two great- grandchildren.

 Morgan and Oliver are both members of the Dan River Bethel Baptist Church.

For 28 years Oliver served as church secretary. She also served as treasurer of the missionary society, secretary of the senior choir and was one of the first church ushers.

Morgan served as Sunday school teacher, president of the junior missionary circle and president of senior choir. She also served as the church sexton for a number of years. 

Those who know Morgan describe her as a strong-willed person.

 Her daughter-in-law, Sue Morgan, said she was active in the church and has been a person of character throughout her long life maintaining high morals from which she never strayed.

 Her son, Malcolm Morgan, said she loved to cook for her children and was a babysitter for all the children in the neighborhood rearing not only her own children but other people’s children as well. 

Malcolm and Sue said that for 27 years Morgan lived in their home and helped them raise their daughter, Cynthia. 

“She was really bossy when she lived with us. She told me what I better do and what I had better not do,” Malcolm said with a chuckle.

He described his mother as a strict disciplinarian who said what she meant and meant what she said.

 “She didn’t sugar coat anything,” Malcolm said. 

He recalled a time when he was racing cars in front of the house at 3 a.m. in the morning, and she got out of bed and told them she would call the cops if they didn’t stop.

According to Sue, all the children in the community respected Morgan. 

“She didn’t just have friends her age but friends who were younger than her who looked up to her,” Sue said.

 Oliver’s children remember their mom as a stay at home mom who raised her kids, her nieces and nephews. All the working mothers would send their children to her house after school.

Her daughter, Thelma Oliver, said her mother wasn’t too strict, but if they got out of line, they were disciplined.

According to Thelma, Oliver took care of all her siblings before they died. She said her mother was always willing to share the produce from her garden with others in the neighborhood.

 Thelma said when she was a child, she remembers her mother teaching her and her siblings how to cook, wash, clean and iron.

She told her children those were the most important things they needed to know when they grew up.

 Thelma describes her mother as a very loving person.

“She loves all of her grandchildren, but she also made sure they behaved,” she added.

 She always took an interest in the children’s schoolwork, Thelma said.

“I’m glad I’ve got her. I’m just glad she’s still here,” Oliver said.

Oliver’s sister, Morgan, was a traveler visiting places like Chicago, Canada, New York, Philadelphia, Maryland, Maine and many others.  

According to Thelma, her mother has never been a traveler. She has only traveled as far as Richmond, Philadelphia and Texas. 

Now days Morgan lives at Berry Hill Health and Rehab, a place she has called home since 2000 after experiencing a stroke while visiting her daughter in Maryland. 

Oliver lives with her grandson and daughter in the Bold Springs community.

Oliver said it feels good to live to be 100, and she credits the Lord for keeping her going for so long. 

Morgan credits her longevity to “keeping her mouth shut and tending to her own business,” her children said. 

Although they don’t see each other as often as they would like, both sisters are happy they have been blessed with such long lives and good memories.