98-Year-Old Matriarch, MaeDell Taylor Hawkins, Meets Great-Great-Great-Grandchild for the First Time

Today, we’re honoring MaeDell Taylor Hawkins – a 98-year-old matriarch who was born and raised in Kentucky, where she now lives in a nursing home after suffering a bad fall roughly two years ago. And while most of you have likely never heard of Maedell, we’re going to share her incredible story with you. 

Maedell was just 16 years old when she married her first husband, Bill Taylor, in 1940 – he was 50 years old at the time and already had 10 children from a previous marriage. He needed someone to care for his children while he worked on the railroad and Maedell was willing to step up as the mother of the house. 

98-Year-Old Matriarch, MaeDell Taylor Hawkins, Meets Great-Great-Great-Grandchild for the First Time
via Facebook (Gracie Snow Howell)

Her household would continue to grow over the next few decades as she welcomed 13 more children of her own – in addition to the 10 she was already caring for – and did it all without the conveniences we take for granted today (running water, indoor toilets, insulation, washing machines, electric stoves, etc.).  

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Fast forward to today and she’s the matriarch of a family tree that includes more than 620 people – yes, you read that right. In fact, Maedell’s daughter-in-law created a family tree that lists 106 grandchildren, 222 great-grandchildren, 234 great-great-grandchildren, and 37 great-great-great-grandchildren. 

It's not something that happens every day – six living generations appearing in one photo. MaeDell, 98, has lived to see her 7-week-old great-great-great-granddaughter and will soon get a third.

Posted by KOKH FOX 25 News, Oklahoma on Thursday, March 2, 2023

On February 18, a photo of Maedell went viral as she held one of her great-great-great-grandchildren in her arms. What made the photo extra special is she was also joined by one of her daughters, one of her granddaughters, one of her great-granddaughters, and one of her great-great-grandchildren. 

The photo contained six generations of women – something we don’t get to witness often – and marked just the second time Maedell Taylor Hawkins had an opportunity to meet one of her sixth-generation grandchildren. The ages of those in the photo range from 98 years old to just seven weeks old. 

The baby in the photo is named Zhavia Whitaker and is the daughter of Jaisline Wilson – the 19-year-old great-great-granddaughter of Maedell. Also pictured in the photo are Maedell’s daughter, Frances Snow, her granddaughter, Gracie Snow Howell, and her great-granddaughter, Jacqueline Ledford

MaeDell Taylor Hawkins’ Daughter Praises Her Mother 

In March, Gracie Snow Howell – the 58-year-old granddaughter of Maedell Taylor Hawkins, spoke of the historic visit in a phone interview with Fox News Digital. She praised her grandmother for always taking care of everyone and doing it without a single complaint – helping to lay the foundation for her family.

“She would often say, ‘Hard work is what keeps you going,’” Howell said of Maedell. She acknowledged how rare it is to have six living generations in a family and noted how different things are today – women don’t often get married young and they often don’t have large families (or at least as large as Maedell’s). 

The all-female trip to Kentucky in February lasted about three hours and it was a ‘really good visit,’ but Gracie noted that it won’t be the last. The family was supposed to welcome another sixth-generation grandchild in June and they were hoping to meet again for a second photo – this one with the newborn. 

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We’re not sure if that trip ever ended up happening, but it’s clear Maedell Taylor Hawkins isn’t done seeing her family grow one-by-one. And for those that are wondering, the Guiness Book of World Records states that the most generations alive in a single family was seven – her family is close!

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