They were cheaper by the 20 dozen.
The scene was like a multigenerational family drama captured in a photo: A 98-year-old Kentucky woman with more than 230 great-grandchildren women met her great-great-great-granddaughter for the first time, as seen in a moving Facebook photo that went viral.
In the moving pic, Cordelia Mae Hawkins, better known as MaeDell, is seen holding 7-week-old Zhavia Whitaker for the first time at her nursing home in Kings Mountain, Kentucky, on Feb. 18.
Along for the visit were the baby’s mother, aunt, grandmother and great-grandmother, marking a rare six-generation gathering of women from the same family, Fox News reported.
MaeDell Taylor Hawkins, 98, met her first biological 6th-generation granddaughter at her nursing home in Kentucky.
Gracie Snow Howell/Facebook
The resulting Facebook image shows the sextet, including MaeDell’s daughter, Frances Snow, 77; MaeDall and baby Zhavia; granddaughter Gracie Snow Howell; great-granddaughter Jacqueline Ledford, 29; and great-great-granddaughter Jaisline Wilson, 19.
“I know it’s rare for six generations … it’s even rarer for all of them to be the same gender,” MaeDell’s granddaughter Howell, 58, told “Good Morning America.”
“We’re all girls — girl power, as well.”
Howell said her clan didn’t initially intend to have an “all-female” family gathering, but that it happened to fall into place.
“We just kind of planned a day, and we just all met and grandma knew we was coming,” the Kentuckian, who now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, told “GMA” matter-of-factly.
Orchestrating the get-together, on the other hand, was logistically difficult given that many of the women lived out of state.
Thankfully, the meeting of youngest and oldest went even better than expected: Howell said they spent three hours with Hawkins, who was — perhaps unsurprisingly — a “natural” with little Zhavia.
“The baby got a little fussy,” she recalled. “She was like, ‘Here, give me that baby.’”
Interestingly, Zhavia is Hawkins’ second great-great-great-grandchild but her first great-great-great-granddaughter.
This marks a long time coming for the prolific parent, who first got hitched in 1940 while still in her teens — her first of three marriages.
“Grandma was 16 years old when she married my grandpa, Bill,” Howell recalled to WPDE in Myrtle Beach. “He was 50 and a widower with 10 children; his first wife died while giving birth to conjoined twins at home (the babies did not survive either).”
As a result, the young Kentuckian had to adopt the role of mother at a young age.
However, it was a role the housewife clearly embraced, as she went on to have 13 more kids with the same man.
Raising the massive brood was especially difficult given that the couple lived without indoor plumbing and other modern conveniences.
“Grandpa worked on the railroad and was gone all week,” said Howell. “With so many mouths to feed, grandma would rise early in the morning, stock the wood stove, go out and gather eggs, grab a couple of chickens (wring their necks and pluck the feathers), fry them up, make biscuits and gravy, and would have breakfast ready before the kids went to school.”
Hawkins also learned to improvise by growing and canning most of the family’s food and being aware of the potential medicinal of local plants — knowledge that was passed down by her mother.
Howell said that MaeDell “even made quilts out of the rags to keep them warm in the winter under the snow that would blow in through the cracks in the walls.
“She took care of everybody,” Howell told Fox News. “I’ve never heard my mom say anything about hearing her complain.”
It appears that MaeDell’s kin have followed suit when it came to furthering the family tree: MaeDell Hawkins’ descendants — Snow, Howell, Ledford and Wilson — all gave birth around the age of 19.
MaeDell now boasts a whopping 623 descendants, according to a family chart compiled by her daughter-in-law, Janice Taylor. They include 106 grandchildren, 222 great-grandchildren, 234 great-great-grandchildren and 37 great-great-great-grandchildren as of this writing.
The current world record for the family with the most living generations stands at seven, which was set in 1989 by a family from New York, according to Guinness World Records.
The matriarch — who turns 99 on July 19, 2023 — hopes to meet her third sixth-generation grandchild this summer, as another child, a boy, is on the way.
“If everything goes well, the baby’s doing well, grandma’s doing well — we’re all going to meet back in June and get another picture,” Howell told Fox News.