Fountain of Youth

b Philpot sisters

Ann and Margaret Philpot, sisters born in 1857 and 1859 respectively, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On the 1860 census, Ann was two years of age and Margaret was 10 months old.  Their parents George and Anna (nee Nuzum) were immigrants from Ireland.  The girls had two older siblings, Thomas and Sarah.

Ann and Margaret, even as very young women, were quite vain when it came to their ages, always claiming to be 5-8 years younger.  This wasn’t a front they only put on for strangers.  At least in Margaret’s case, the fib was played out for her husband and children as well.  Margaret’s headstone gives her year of birth as 1867!  I often see peoples’ ages misreported in their favor, but usually, the truth comes back around when they are older or, at the latest, when they die.  In this case, Ann and Margaret found their version of the fountain of youth and never let it go.

Ann, also known as Nanna, married William George DeWitt, a popular young man from Appleton, Wisconsin, and had two children, Mabel Frances, and George Ashley.  Will was five years younger than Nanna, which I imagine played into her already evident need to be seen as younger than her true age.

1886 May 15 PHILPOT Nana MARRIAGE Appleton Crescent WI
Appleton Crescent (WI) ~ May 15, 1886


1886 May 20 PHILPOT Nana MARRIAGE Appleton Post WI
Appleton Post (WI) ~ May 20, 1886

Margaret married John E. Urban in 1891, in Chicago, Illinois.  Like Nanna, her husband was also a younger man, eight years her junior.  Her distaste for her true age is shown when her first child, Lucile, was born in 1892.  Margaret was 33 at the time, but the birth record lists her age as 25.  The couple had two more children, Marion and John.

Both women lived long lives.  Maggie died aged 83 and Nanna aged 92 years.  I wonder if they realized just how far they’d made it, or if the women fibbed about their ages for so long that those lies had become their reality.

These carte de visites (cdv) are the fifth and sixth photos I researched out of what I’ve dubbed the Waukesha album because of where I found it, in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  The few photos with names written on them are children that appear to have been born about the same time period, the late 1850s to early 1860s.  If you’re interested, here are links to the previous posts; The Butcher, The Baker, The Pottery Maker, The Inn Keeper.

Census records
Find A Grave
Chicago, Illinois birth records

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