The Man Who Claimed He Was 137 Years Old

Samuel Reason | March 1st, 2019

A native Indian from the Chippewa tribe called John Smith always claimed he was 137 years old. And since his death people have been trying to prove him wrong. He lived in the Northern woods of Minnesota and spend most of his time by the Cass Lake.

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His own people referred to him as the “wrinkled meat” which was undoubtedly a nickname for his wrinkled leathery skin which was famous – but at that age, it is only normal to have some wrinkles. According to the Chippewa people and many eye witness accounts, John Smith was born in 1785 which means he was 137 years old when he died in 1922. His age is extremely contested but nobody has actually ever been able to confirm exactly when he was born.

One man called Paul Buffalo who lived with the Chippewa when he was a child, states that Smith told him many times he has been eight or ten years old when the stars fell. This refers to the Leonid meteor shower in 1833. If this is true, then he would have died when he was just under 100 years old.

Yet Smith clearly remembers battles and fights with neighboring tribes the Sioux, that are said to have taken place at the turn of the 19th century. Historians also know that he was elected by his tribe to be a chief, but he decided to turn down the job as he did not want the responsibility and we also know he was married 8 times. This sounds like someone who has lived an extremely long time!

He only had one son who was actually adopted, Tom Smith, and he maintained that his father was actually 137 years old when he died. And he also confirmed his father was extremely active during his old age. In fact, he was once hit by a train in 1920 and only required a three week recovery time to get back on his feet.

In February 1922, he suffered from pneumonia and with his advanced age, this was what resulted in his death.

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