Three Score and Ten

The Old Dutch Burying Ground, Sleepy Hollow, New York

In the Old Dutch Burying Ground of Sleepy Hollow in New York lies the grave of Solomon Brewer, Revolutionary War soldier.  The epitaph on his gravestone makes a reference to a passage found in the King James Bible, Psalm 90 verse 10, “The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”  The Geneva Bible of 1650 says it this way, “The time of our life is threscore yeres & ten, and if they be of strength, foure score yeres: yet their strength is but labour and sorowe for it is cut of quickely, and we flee away.”

The term score was first found in the English versions of the Bible.  Score was an English term which was shorthand for 20, so three score was 60 years plus ten was 70.  Brewer lived to be 77, 3 years shy of fourscore.

Solomon Brewer

Who departed this life March

the 18th A. D. 1824

Aged 77 Years, 9 Months

and 14 days.

Life is at best a narrow bound,

That heaven allows to men;

While pain and sorrow fills the round,

Of three score years and ten.

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2 Responses to Three Score and Ten

  1. MARY KIM SCHRECK says:

    In a year plus a few months I too will be three score plus ten… how curious such a number sounds to me… none of my other birthdays have given me such cause to stop and consider… I will wear that number as a lovely crown!

  2. Ken K says:

    I first saw this stone most likely when I was in high school back in the mid 70’s. I copied another epitaph that had the same verse but was had the verse “ Our life is ever on the wing and death is ever nigh. The moment when our lives begin we then begin to die.
    Curious to know if there is such a stone at this cemetery and if so who. I live now in Chicago and hope to one day visit again.

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