Mary was born in Chester, Indiana in 1885. Her parents soon moved to Tennessee in hope of improving the health of her father, a lifelong asthma patient. Life was hard for the family of six boys and one girl. At the age of 12 Mary began working as house help for the Stowers family and remembered kneading bread in a pan on a chair before she was tall enough to work at a cabinet.
Mary married James Leonard Bicknell when she was 18 in 1903 and on their 350-acre farm she bore 16 children, four of whom died in infancy. On that farm, Mary lived a life that most would consider drudgery, rarely stepping foot off the farm for years at a time.
Endowed with a strong constitution, Mary capitalized on that asset and enjoyed life for 103 years by following simple principles of healthful living. Mary’s exemplary life of cheerful, patient service is a priceless legacy for all.