Now at the age of 100, local resident Essie Mae Batts Sauls Loper is the oldest living NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) member of not only the Slaughter Neck Branch but in the entire state of Delaware. Living a life filled with family and hard work, Essie has almost lived as long as the organization has been around; the NAACP began in 1909. With a total of 5 generations still alive today, Essie has 23 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren.
On September 10, 1912 in Wilson, North Carolina, a daughter was born to the late Charles and Nettie Batts, they named her Essie. She was later joined by other siblings Geneva, Beatrice and Richard. Those that know her say that she grew into a great lady.
She met, and following a brief courtship, married Agelee Sauls, a truck driver. To which seven children were born; Annie, Jesse, John Thomas (deceased), Elsie, Nettie, Rosa and Russell. They moved from North Carolina to Delaware where Ageless continued as a truck driver. She was employed as head cook at the Milford Memorial Hospital for more than 25 years.
When her marriage ended, as she was always one to think in a positive direction for her life, she moved on. She accepted employment with a prominent family in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where she was delighted in cooking and assisting with the raising of their two daughters.
“My mother always had a passion for cooking and she shared it with everyone,” commented her daughter Elsie. “Her way of showing love was by feeding you.”
While working in Pennsylvania she met and married Elias Loper. When they decided it was time to retire they came back to Delaware and quietly settled in Slaughter Neck. After a prolonged illness, with her constant attention and care, Elias was called home to be with the Lord.
“We are appreciative of the blessing that her life has afforded each of us and are thankful the legacy that we proudly share because of the grace of God and His mercy in allowing her to be the matriarch of our family,” commented her daughter Elsie. “A strong woman with deep faith and conviction, Essie has continued her steadfast walk with God. She delights in being with her large and loving family. One of her special joys is having her children around her, assisting her and attending to her immediate needs.”
Essie still resides in the Greater Milford Area with her family by her side. On July 28, 2012 the family celebrated this special lady in the recognition of her 100th birthday. On Saturday October 6, Essie will be honored by the local chapter of the NAACP, alongside several others, by Reverend S. Everett, President of the Slaughter Neck NAACP.