In 1901, when two journalists from The La Porte Herald went to interview Mrs. Ferdinand Reese in Hudson Township in La Porte County, she was 107 years old! At the door of the two-room cabin, her husband met the reporters with a revolver for fear the guests were robbers! The couple was also a little skeptical when they had their pictures taken with a camera for the first time. But it proved to be a most interesting visit for the reporters too, because they learned about the multi-century-spanning life of Maria Pavleschinky Chappon Katschisky Reese.
Mrs. Reese was born Maria Pavleschinsky in Volgravitz, Poland, in 1794! She was from a poor, lower class family and as soon as she was able, she helped care for the crops in the fields and went to the forests to collect bark for fuel. In 1812, when she was 15, Maria escaped to hide for safety after seeing Napoleon on horseback and thousands of French soldiers invade her native country, burn the crops and pillage the houses. When the French army returned from defeat in Russia, she saw hundreds of French soldiers freeze to death as they struggled to return to France through Poland.