PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When Barbara Gibbs Barton died last year at the age of 113, everyone knew she had lived a remarkably long life.
Now we know it was a record-setting one.
LongeviQuest, an organization that tracks people who live past the age of 110, announced this week that researchers have validated Barton as the oldest person ever documented to have lived and died in Rhode Island. At the time of her death last August, she was thought to be the fourth-oldest living person in the United States.
“LongeviQuest congratulates Barbara Barton’s family on her posthumous recognition,” the organization said in a statement.
Born in Barrington in 1908, Barton graduated from the town’s high school and went on to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, according to her obituary. She and her husband, Pete, owned a company called Rico Header Tools, and also were active for years at Warren Methodist Church.
At the time of her death in August 2022, Barton had 13 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren (with an eighth on the way). She had lived independently until the age of 104, later moving into the Hattie Ide Chaffee Home in East Providence, according to LongeviQuest.
Another way to look at her longevity: Barton lived during the presidencies of both Theodore Roosevelt (born in 1858) and Barack Obama (born in 1961). She was alive for 44% of the entire existence of the United States dating back to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Rhode Island currently has no known living supercentenarians, the term for individuals who live into their 12th decade. Massachusetts has one, Herlda Senhouse, a 112-year-old who lives in Wellesley.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.