One Lincolnville native is turning 100, but her age might not come as a surprise, given her family history.

At her birthday party on Sept. 2, Rev. Andre Thornhill draped a royal purple cape around Leola Duberry's shoulders and adorned her head with a little matching crown. 

"I crown you sister Duberry as the belle of the ball and queen matriarch of the family," he said, to applause from her family members who gathered to celebrate her.

Leola is one of hundreds of centenarians in South Carolina, which had 659 in 2010, according to a Census Bureau report. Though they make up far less than 1 percent of the population, their numbers are increasing as people achieve longer life.

For the Duberry family, long age seems to be a family trait. And they view it as a blessing from God. 

"We already know we're going to be around for a long time," said Annette Duberry, a great-niece of Leola's. 

Leola was born on Sept. 3, 1918, at the height of the first World War. Another family member, William Duberry, was exceptionally old when he died in 1991. He is an in-law of Leola's, though they share some of the same upbringing; both are true Southerners from rural Lincolnville.

The Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Census Bureau each recorded William's birth year as 1870, the Associated Press reported in 1989. 

That would make him 121 when he died, a year younger than the world's oldest person on record, Jeanne Calment. Calment died in 1997 at 122. Her age was independently verified. For others who have said they were older, like one Indonesian man who was said to be 146 when he died, it wasn't possible to make sure they were as old as they said. 

Their lives were extraordinarily long, but it's becoming less surprising to make it to 100. 

The United Nations recorded half a million centenarians in 2015, quadruple the number that were living in 1990. There will be 3.7 million people 100 or older in the world by 2050, the UN predicts. 

The United States is home to the greatest number of centenarians, according to the Pew Research Center. But Japan, by far, has the most relative to the size of its population.

In South Carolina, there were about 34,000 more people age 85 and older in 2016 than in 2000, according to the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. And far more women make it to 100 and beyond than men. 

Though genetics are understood to play a role, that's not the only reason for longevity.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health think certain personality traits have health benefits. People who are less neurotic and more outgoing tend to live longer lives, they found.

The Duberrys think their trend of long life comes from their lifestyles and faith in God. Leola's siblings didn't make it to 100 but lived well into their 90s. The woman has outlived all of her eight siblings. 

William's favorite dish was grits with bacon and ketchup on top. Leola's daughter said she made excellent biscuits. Other family members remembered her turkey wings and rice.

Both came up in religious communities in the neighborhoods north of Summerville. Leola attends Ebenezer AME Church.

Shirley Aiken, Leola's daughter, said her mother worked into her 60s and cooked for everyone she knew. She was active up until a stroke in 2009. Today, she struggles with speech and dementia, though Aiken said she still has a long memory. 

Aiken said Leola "tried to treat everybody right, black or white, and be kind to everyone." 

"I know I can never repay her," Aiken said.

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.