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Bessie Johnson celebrates 100th
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Bessie Johnson celebrates 100th

Bessie Boykin Johnson of Grifton, formerly of Kenly, was honored at a 100th birthday reception Feb. 3 given by her family and friends at Mount Zion Original Free Will Baptist Church, where she’s been a member for 81 years.

Johnson was born in Johnston County on Feb. 3, 1913, to Hardy and Dollie Boykin of Kenly. She never learned to drive a vehicle, never worked outside the home and has never voted in an election.

In remembering back over her life, Johnston tells about riding mules into town and to church on Sundays as a young girl before roads were paved. She remembers the invention of the radio, the television and drive-in picture shows. She said her family didn’t have a television but would go a neighbor’s house to watch "The Andy Griffith Show.” Johnson talks about World War I, where her oldest brother fought, and World War II, where her baby brother was injured and nearly died.

Johnson was married to Sanford Johnson for 81 years, until his death. She lives with her daughter and son-in-law, Janet and Jerry Cockrell in Grifton. Her other daughters are Jeanette Cockrell of Kenly and Peggy Pendergraph of Raleigh. She also had three sons, now deceased, Raeford Johnson of Winston-Salem, Billy Johnson of Kenly and Nathan Johnson of Piedmont, S.C.
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