Longevity Lies
Our ancestors were fond of stretching the truth about longevity. A family story says that my great-great-great-grandmother died at age 108. In fact, a candle from her 100th birthday cake was given to my grandmother as a keepsake. However, research revealed disproved this story. 

“Life Expectancy for Social Security,” Social Security History, which explains that life expectancy at birth in 1930 was 58 for men and 62 for women, with 65 then retirement age. It also provides tables depicting life expectancy for Social Security between 1940 and 1990, and the number of Americans age 65 or older by decade from 1880 to 2000.


This photograph is identified as being Peter Mankins at age 111 years on 8 June 1881. A Marylander by birth, he settled in Washington County, Arkansas, in 1832. (Courtesy of Washington County Historical Society)