Besse Cooper was born Bese Berry Brown on August 26, 1896 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. Her parents were Richard Brown (1861-1932) and Angeline Berry (1866-1927) and was the third of eight children.She graduated from East Tennessee Normal School in 1916. Besse Cooper became a teacher during her young adult years. She taught in Tennessee. She moved to Georgia around the time America entered World War I in 1917. She then taught in Between, Georgia until 1929. In 1924, Besse Cooper married Luther Cooper and had 4 children with him: Angeline, Luther Jr., Sydney, and Nancy. Their first child was born in 1929 and their last in 1944. Her husband, Luther died in 1963. Besse Cooper has made a lot of milestones in her longevity including:
  • She's in the Getronology Research Group's list for Guiness World Records sinc November 8, 2006 at the age of 110 years, 74 days.
  • Oldest Person in Georgia since Beatrice Farve died at the age of 113 on January 19, 2009.
  • 2nd oldest person from Tennessee since Elizabeth Bolden died at the age of 116 years, 118 days on December 11, 2006.
  • Oldest person in the United States since Eunice Sanborn died at the age of 114 years, 195 days on January 31, 2011.
  • Last living American born in 1896 since Walter Breuing died at the age of 114 years, 205 days on April 14, 2011.
  • Oldest person in the world since Maria Gomes Valentim died at the age of 114 years, 347 days on June 21, 2011.
  • Last living person in the world born in 1896 since Chiyono Hasegawa died at the age of 115 years, 12 days on December 2, 2011.
  • etc.
Besse Cooper continued to live on her farm until the age of 105 when she moved into a nursing home.
Besse Cooper contributes her long life to "minding her own business" and avoiding junk food.