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Six Generations of Daughters: From Baby to Great, Great, Great Grandmother

Courtesy Christian DeBaun(NEW YORK) -- A Virginia family will have a lot of moms to fuss over this Mother’s Day.

The family has an astonishing six generations of daughters still living.  The matriarch of the family, Mollie Wood, was born in 1901 and just marked her 111th birthday.  The youngest addition to the family, Braylin Marie Higgins, was born in March to Wood’s great, great, great granddaughter.

So what's the secret to the family’s longevity?

“We’re ornery,” laughed 39-year-old Marlo Shifflett.  “I think that’s a lot of it.  We’re too ornery to stop!”

But there might be another magic ingredient as well -- resilience.

Mollie Wood was a young married woman with two toddlers in diapers and another baby on the way when her husband was stricken by polio.  It took him three years to recover enough to go back to work.

Wood’s granddaughter, Betty Goodson, said Wood “had to raise all the food, wash clothes by hand, cook everything from scratch.  She has worked hard all her life.”

That work ethic was certainly passed down through the generations.  Three nights a week, you can find the 70-year old Goodson leading a combination yoga and Pilates class.

Wood’s daughter, Goodson’s mother, is still going strong at age 88, as well.  Octogenarian Louise Minter cleans houses.  She’s been doing so for nearly three decades, since retiring from General Electric.

Minter lives just five minutes from her mother, and visits the family matriarch a few times a week.

Despite the strong family ties, “We are very independent.  We definitely are not one to expect people to take care of us,” said Goodson’s daughter, Marlo Shifflett, who owns a beauty shop and day spa in Elkton. 

That independence extends to 16-year-old Savannah Shifflett, the mother of baby Braylin.

“My daughter has not asked for help,” Marlo Shifflett said.  “And I thought, ‘Where does she get that from?’  And I realized we’re all that way.”

The family admitted they were devastated when they found out that Savannah was expecting, but the women said the baby has made them even closer.

Savannah is engaged to the Braylin’s dad, and said of her infant, “She definitely wasn’t planned, but she’s my world.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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