|Notes for John Alden|
| From Caleb's Web Page |
"BORN: c1598-1599, England (possibly Harwich, Essex, England)
DIED: 12 September 1687, Duxbury, Massachusetts
MARRIED: Priscilla Mullins, c1623, Plymouth, daughter of William and Alice
NAME BIRTH DEATH MARRIAGE
Elizabeth cir 1623-1625, 31 May 1717, Little William Pabodie, 26
Plymouth Compton, RI December 1644, Duxbury
John cir 1626, 14 March 1701/2, Everill, 1 April 1660,
Joseph aft. 22 May 1627 8 February 1696/7, Mary Simmons
Sarah aft 22 May 1627 bef 13 June 1688 Alexander Standish
Jonathan cir 1632 14 February 1696/7, Abigail Hallett, 10
Duxbury December 1672, Duxbury
Ruth unknown 12 October 1674, John Bass, 12 May 1657,
Rebecca bef 1649 aft 13 June 1688 Thomas Delano, bef 30
Mary unknown aft 13 June 1688 unmarried
Priscilla unknown aft 13 June 1688 unmarried
David cir 1646 between 5 June 1718 Mary Southworth
and 1 April 1719
Extensive research has been done into the ancestry of John Alden, but
nothing has conclusively been found. There are two major theories that have
been presented over the years:
Charles Edward Banks, in his book The English Ancestry and Homes of the
Pilgrim Fathers, 1929, puts forward a theory that John is the son of George
Alden and Jane (---) and grandson of Richard and Avys Alden of Southampton,
England. Since Bradford says John Alden was hired in Southampton, this would
be a logical place to start looking for Aldens. No other supporting evidence
has been found, and it has been noted by many researchers that the names
George, Richard, and Avys do not occur anywhere in John Alden's family.
Naming children after parents and grandparents was an extremely common
practice in the seventeenth century, and the absence of such a name is
nearly enough evidence to disprove this theory.
The currently popular theory is that John Alden came from Harwich, Essex,
England. There was a sea-faring Alden family living there, who were related
by marriage to Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower. It has been
suggested John Alden may be the son of John Alden and Elizabeth Daye, but
this is not fully proven either.
Two commemorative broadsides (elegy poems) survive from John Alden's 1687
death. The first broadside is by an unknown author, and the second
broadside was written by John Cotton.
William Bradford wrote, in his history Of Plymouth Plantation: "John Alden
was hired for a cooper [barrel maker] at Southampton where the ship
[Mayflower] victualed, and being a hopeful young man was much desired but
left to his own liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed and
married here." and later wrote "John Alden married Priscilla, Mr. Mullin's
daughter, and had issue by her as is before related."
John Alden was an assistant for the Plymouth colony for many years, and was
deputy governor for two years. His marriage to Priscilla Mullins was the
subject of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, "The Courtship of Myles
Standish", which although a classic has little factual basis. John and
Priscilla were among the founders of the town of Duxbury.
In 1634, John Alden was on the Kennebec River assisting in the forceful
removal of John Hocking who was illegally fishing and trading on land that
had been granted to the Pilgrims. Hockings refused to leave, and when the
party arrived at his ship by canoe to board and remove him, he shot and
killed Moses Talbot. In return, Hockings was shot and killed. The
Massachusetts Bay Colony took matters into its own hands, and arrested John
Alden (even though he was not the one who fired the shot). Myles Standish
was sent by Governor Bradford to obtain Alden's release, which he
In his later years, John Alden was on many juries, including even a witch
trial--though in Plymouth's case, the jury found the accuser guilty of
libel, and he was fined and whipped. The alleged witch was allowed to go
free. Plymouth only had two witch trials during its history, and in both
cases the accuser was found guilty and punished.
John and Priscilla Alden probably have the largest number of descendants of
any Mayflower passenger, but with stiff competition from Richard Warren and
John Howland. They are ancestors to Presidents John Adams and John Quincy
Adams, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Vice President Dan Quayle.
John Alden's House built in 1653 still stands, and tours are given by the
Alden Kindred of America. For more information, click on the picture of the
house and you will go to the Alden Kindred web page.
Mayflower Descendant 39:111-122; 40:133-136, "John Alden: Theories on
English Ancestry", by Alica Crane Williams
Alicia Crane Williams, Families of Pilgrims: John Alden and William Mullins,
Mass. Soc. of Mayflower Desc. 1986
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, written 1630-1651
Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and Its People,
Susan Roser, Mayflower Births and Deaths, vol. 1, 1992
Susan Roser, Mayflower Marriages, 1990
Mayflower Web Pages. Caleb Johnson © 1997"
Also from Caleb's Web Page:
John Alden Broadside, 1687
This commemorative broadside was issued for John Alden just a short time
after his death on 12 September 1687. The author is unknown. Another
commemorative broadside for John Alden it thought to have been written by
John Cotton. One interesting thing to note is that this is a rhyming
poem--so look carefully at some of the rhymes to see how their pronunciation
differes from yours (above-remove, God-abode, here-where).
A Small Testimony of that great HONOUR
due to that Honourable Servant of GOD
and his Generation John Alden Esq;
Who changed this life for a better,
Sept. 12th. Anno Domini 1687. Annoq, Ætatis 89.
The memory of the just is blessed.
The just shall be had in everlasting remembrance.
GOD brought a choice Vine to this desert land:
And here did plant it with his own nght hand,
And from the heathen's rage did it defend.
The which its root, from east to west did send.
This precious Saint who now is gone to rest,
And lie in Jesus bosom to be blest,
A branch was of this vine, God did remove,
Protect, defend, and water from above.
A man to God's commands that had respect,
And by His word he did his course direct.
A lover of God's Habitation.
A servant of his Generation.
He was according to the Will of God,
While in this lower world he had abode.
Sincere & faithful unto God was he,
True Vertue's friend, to Vice an enemy.
Holy and humble, full of Faith, & Love
To Saints on earth, to God & Christ above.
He many years did serve this Colony,
Administering Justice impartially.
He in this desert many changes saw,
Yet closely kept unto Jehovah's Law.
He Served God betimes, even from his youth,
And constantly did cleave unto his Truth.
On Pisgah's mount he stood, and Canaan view'd
Which in his heart and life he most pursu'd.
On Tabors mount he saw transfigured
Blest Jesus, which within his bosom bred
That love that made him say, 'Tis good being here,
Its good, yea better than to be else-where.
He lov'd on earth, to be with Christ on high:
He did on wings of Contemplation fly.
To God in heaven he sent up many a dart,
Which issued from a truly broken heart;
Which reach'd the ear of God, and such Return
From heaven brought which made his heart to burn.
With Enoch he with God on earth did walk
With Abram he did with JEHOVAH talk.
With Moses he did on the mount ascend,
And to receieve God's mind himself did bend
That he such meditations had divine,
Which in Saints eyes did cause his face to shine.
With length of days God did him satisfy,
He liv'd so long, that he desir'd to die.
He with old Simeon had of Christ a sight,
Who was prepar'd to be the Gentiles Light:
Which made him willing hence for to depart,
To be with Him that gained had his heart.
He with good lacob in his aged state
Did earnestly for God's Salvation wait.
He with Barzillai, being near his end,
His thoughts above earthly comforts did ascend.
He with St. Paul, his course now finished,
Unclothed, is quietly put to bed.
His Family and Christian friends he blest
Before he did betake himself to rest.
He to Religion was a real friend
And Justice, till death brought him to his end.
A man for God, and for his Countries Good,
In all Relations wherein he stood.
Let ALDEN's all their Father imitate,
And follow him till they come to death's state:
And he will them most heartily embrace,
When he shall meet them in that blessed place.
And let New-England never want a Race
of such as may be fill'd with Alden's Grace.
Printed in the year, MDCLXXXVII.
Mayflower Web Pages. Caleb Johnson © 1997
From Caleb's Web Page:
John Alden Broadside, 1687
This commemorative broadside was issued for John Alden just a short time
after his death on 12 September 1687. The author of this poetic tribute is
thought to be John Cotton, and the elegy ends with the initials J.C. There
is also another broadside, of unknown authorship, made for John Alden after
Upon the DEATH of that Aged, Pious, Sincere-hearted
JOHN ALDEN ESQ:
Late MAGISTRATE of New-Plimouth Colony, who dyed
Sept 12th. 1687.
being about eighty nine years of age.
The staffe of bread, and water eke the stay
From sinning Judah God will take away,
The prudent Counsellour, the Honourable,
Whom Grace and Holiness makes delectable,
The Judge, the Prophet and the ancient Saint,
The deaths of such cause sorrowful complaint,
The Earth and its Inhabitants do fall,
The aged Saint bears up its pillars all.
The hoary head in way of Righteousness
A crown of glory is. Who can express
Th' abundant blessings by Disciples old!
In very deed they're more than can be told.
The guise 'tis of a wanton generation
To wish the aged soon might quit their station,
Tho' truth it be, The Lord our God does frown
When aged Saints dy death do tumble down.
What tho' there be not such Activity,
Yet in their Prayers there's such Fervency
As cloth great mercy for a place obtain,
And gracious presence of the Lord maintain.
Tho Nature's strength in old age cloth decay,
Yet th, inward man renew'd is day by day
The very presence of a Saint in years
Who lifts his soul to God with pray'rs & tears
Is a rich blessing unto any place
Who have that mercy to behold his face:
When sin is ripe and calls for desolation
God will call home old Saints from such a nation
Let sinners then of th, Aged weary be.
God give me grace to mourn most heartily
For death of this dear servant of the Lord,
Whose life God did to us so long afford:
God lent his life to greatest length of dayes;
In which he liv'd to his Redeemer's praise.
In youthful time he made Moses his choice,
His soul obeying great JEHOVAH'S voice,
Freely forsook the world for sake of GOD,
In His House with His Saints to have abode.
He followed GOD into this Wilderness;
Thereby to all the world he did profess,
Affliction with the Saints a better part
And more delightful to his holy heart
Than sinful pleasures, lasting but a season:
Thus said his Faith, so saith not carnal Peason.
He came one of the first into this Land,
And here was kept by God's most gracious hand
Years sixty seven, which time he did behold
To poor New-England mercies Manifold:
All God's great works to this His Israel
From first implanting what to them befel:
of them he made a serious Observation,
And could of them present a large Narration,
His walk was holy, humble, and sincere,
His heart was filled with JEHOVAH's Fear.
He honour'd GOD with much integrity,
God therefore did him truly magnify.
The hearts of Saints intirely did him love,
His Uprightness so highly did approve,
That whilst to choose they had their liberty
Within the Limits of this Colony
Their Civil Leaders, him they ever chose.
His Fait/'fulness made hearts with him to close.
With all the Governours he did Assist;
His Name recorded is within the List
of Plimouth's Pillars to his dying day.
His Name is precious to eternal Ay.
He set his Love on God and knew His Name,
God therefore gives him everlasting Fame.
So good and heavnly was his conversation,
God gave long life, and shew'd him His Salvation.
(His work now finished upon this earth;
Seeing the death of what he saw the birth)
His gracious Lord from heaven calls him home,
And saith, My servant, now to Heaven come:
Thou hast done pood, been faithful unto Me,
Now shalt thou live in bliss ETERNALLY.
On dying bed his Ailes were very great,
Yet verily his heart on GOD was set.
He bare his greifs with Faith and Patience,
And did maintain his lively confidence:
Saying to some, The work which God begun,
He would preserve to its perfection.
His mouth was full of blessings till his death
To Ministers and Christians all: his breath
Was very sweet by many a precious word
He utter'd from the Spirit of his Lord.
He liv'd in Christ, in Jesus now he sleeps:
And his blest soul the Lord in safety keeps.
JOHN ALDEN. Anagram End al on hi'.
Death puts an End to all this world enjoyes,
And frees the Saint from all that here annoyes.
This blessed Saint hath seen an end of all
Worldly perfections. Now his Lord does call
Him to ascend from earth to heaven high,
Where he is blest to all Eternity.
Who walk with God as he, shall so be blest,
And evermore in Christ His arms shall rest.
Lord, Spare thy remnant, do not us forsake,
From us do not thy Holy Spirit take.
Thy Cause, Thy Int'rest in this land still own:
Thy gracious presence ay let be our Crown.
Mayflower Web Pages. Caleb Johnson © 1997
"John Alden, the 'Pilgrim,' was born about 1599, probably in England, though his history prior to his joining the Mayflower Company at Southampton in August, 1620, is as yet unknown. The year of his birth is inferred from a deposition made at Plymouth, July 6, 1682, in which he stated he was then aged 83. He was one of the signers of the 'Compact' on board the Mayflower at Cape Cod, November 21, 1620, and landed with the other passengers at Plymouth in December. Governor Bradford, in his 'History of Plymouth Plantation,' wrote: 'John Alden was hired for a cooper at South Hampton where the ship victueled, and being a hopeful young man, was much preferred, but left to his own liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed and married here.' "
"After a few years to obtain more land, John Alden, with Captain Myles Standish and others, moved a few miles northward from Plymouth and founded Duxbury. Part at least of his land is still owned by Aldens, and the sit of his well is pointed out, near the 'Old Alden House,' built during his lifetime, and has always been owned and occupied by one of his discendants. It is now owned by 'The Alden Kindred of America,' and a meeting of the Association is held there each year. He died in Duxbury, September 22, 1687, but it is not known where or when Priscilla died, nor where either of them is buried. Goodwin in 'The Pilgrim Republic,' page 542, says that they were both present at the burial of Josiah Winslow in 1680, but gives no authority. John's Bible and several documents with his signature are preserved in Plymouth Hall at Plymouth. John Alden left no will, having, it is supposed, distributed his real estate while still living, but an inventory of other proberty and the settlement of his estate by his son Jonathan, the administrator, dated June 13, 1688 are recorded in Plymouth. They are transcribed in 'Mayflower Desendant," Vol. III, page 10."1101
More info to be entered. 1101, 757
Migration: 1620 on the Mayflower.
First Residence: Plymouth.
Removes: Duxbury 1632.
Occupation: Cooper (his inventory included 'coopers tools' valued at £1 2s. [PPR 1:10, MD 3:10]).
Freeman: In 1633 Plymouth list of freemen, among those admitted prior to 1 January 1632/3 [PCR 1:3] and in list of 7 March 1636/7 [PCR 1:52]. In Duxbury sections of lists of 1639 and 1658 [PCR 8:174, 198] . . . [details to be entered]." 422
His birth is given as ca 1599 because "deposed aged 83 on 6 July 1682 [MD 3:120]; in his 89th year at death on 12 September 1687 [MD 9:129]; 'about eighty-nine years of age' at death on 12 September 1687 [MD 34:49}.757
This year Mr. Thomas Prince was chosen governor of the jurisdiction of New Plimouth. His assistants in government were Mr. William Bradford, Mr. Edward Winslow, Capt. Miles Standish, Mr. William Collier, Mr. John Alden, Mr. John Howland, and Mr. Stephen Hopkins." 340
This year Mr. William Bradford was chosen governor of the jurisdiction of New Plimouth. Mr. Edward Winslow, Mr. Thomas Prince, Mr. William Collier, Capt. Miles Standish, Mr. John Alden, Mr. John Howland, and Mr. Stephen Hopkins, were chosen to be his assistants in government."340
This year Mr. William Bradford was chosen governor of Plimouth. Mr. Thomas Prence, Capt. Miles Standish, Mr. John Alden, Mr. John Brown, Mr. William Collier, Mr. Timothy Hatherly, and Mr. John Jenney, were chosen assistants." 340
"Many suggestions have been made as to the English origin of John Alden. Alicia Crane Williams has recently examined all the relevant evidence carefully and exhaustively, and comes to the conclusion that, although one or two of the suggested origins are 'tempting', all are far from proved. By entering 'Southampton' under ORIGIN above, we are only taking note of Bradford's statement that Alden was hired at that port; we are not implying that he was born or raised there."757
From the American Rifleman magazine August, 1998, page 33, an article on the National Rifle Association Museum states "Symbolically placed between the exhibits from the Old World and the New World is a wheel lock carbine that Pilgrim John Alden, a signer of the Mayflower compact, brought with him from England". (quoted by Dscottwood@aol.com).
"John Alden lived in Plymouth until 1627 when he moved to Duxbury, Mass., on the north side of the village, on a farm which is still in possession of his descendants. He d. 9-2-1687 at Duxbury. He made no will, having distributed the greater part of his estate among his children during his lifetime. . . .With no evidence to the contrary, we assume him to have been born in England, but we know that he was born about 1599, as the Plymouth Colony records contain a deposition by him, dated July 6, 1682, in which it is state that 'John alden, Esq. Aged 83 or thereabouts'. We know nothing of his boyhood or education other than the two facts that he was 'hired for a cooper' and that he appears to have been much better educated than a great many others in the Colony, as is evidenced by his almost continuous service in an official capacity. "1058
More details to be entered. 1058
"April 3, 1637, a settlement was commenced at Sandwich, although the plantation was not recognized as a town until two years later. . . . These freemen had undergone the most rigid oaths and examinations to obtain this permission, and very early Mr. John Alden and Captain Miles Standish were sent to 'set forth the bounds of the lands granted there.'264
"The John Alden House Museum is the only house still standing known to have been built and lived in by Mayflower Pilgrims. It was, of course, the home of John and Priscilla Mullins Alden. The oldest part of the house was believed to have been built in 1627 and the larger house built around it in 1653. It has been owned and maintained by the Alden Kindred of America, the association of Alden descendants, since 1907 and has never been out of the Alden family". 1356
Details of the various theories of the English ancestry of John Alden have been presented by Alicia Crane Williams and need to be entered. 1357, 1358
"Both the Alden and Mullines families have been studied carefully for many years by exprienced genealogists of the highest reute. No ancestry has been proven for John Alden, although there is some evidence that he belongs to the Aldens of Harwich." 1359
The theory that John Alden is a brewer's son, of New Windsor, Berkshire to be entered. 1360
"I have visited Plymouth, examined the records, gravestones, and many authorities, and the result is I change all the dates of birth in John Alden's family. He was married between June 1, 1621, and the first part of 1623, - the second or third marriage. . . Bradford's journal says, in 1650 John Alden had eleven children. In division of land 1624, the number opposite John Alden's name is torn off, and Davies assumes it was 2, but I feel sure it was 3, for Elizabeth was born then. In division of cattle May 22, 1627, John Alden and Priscilla had Elizabeth 8 years old, and John 1 year. . . John Alden was the 'last survivor of those who signed the compact.' " 1110
"I do not pretend to trace John Alden on the other side of the water. I think he is of English stock, from the southern part of England, as evidenced by 'marriages in London,' etc. These Aldens were of the better class of yeomanry, some gentlemen. There is a 'coat of arms' of an Alden family, but there is no proof that Pilgrim John is connected with it. . . John Alden was not of the Leyden Congregation, for Governor Bradford tells us 'John Alden was hired for a cooper at South Hampton where the ship victualled; and being a hopful yonge, was much desired; but left to his own liking to go or stay, when he came here; but he stayed, and married here.' Nothwithstanding the prominence he attained, in his deeds of sale or gift, he almost invariably describes himself as 'cooper,' occasionally as 'yeoman', and only once, that I have discovered, as 'gentleman.' He was educated above the average, and took his stand very soon as a man of weight in the community. Tradition says he was of a fine Saxon type, 'the tallest man in the Colony.' 'He was the youngest signer of the compact.' " 1088
"By 1633 Priscilla's husband had become a leader in the colony. He was elected annually to the colony Court of Assistants, its highest governing body, and twice served as deputy governor. He was also one of the eight bondsmen who in 1627 accepted responsibility for paying off the debt to the English inventment company which had financed the settlement at Plymouth. The Aldens seem not to have been consistently prosperous; in 1660 John was so 'low in his estate' that the colony voted him a grant of £10 since he had spent 'much time at the courts on the country's occasions and so hath done this many years.' When John Alden died in September 1687, he left approximately £50, not including real estate which he had apparently given away before his death."1029
"A wheel lock musket owned by John Alden, one of the nation's first settlers" is on display at the National rifle Association's new museum in Fairfax, VA. "Alden's gun was a high-class weapon noted for its accuracy and, for its time, its quick firing. The Pilgrim's weapon has a bulbous wood stock and small metal wheel above the trigger that locks and spring-tightens lie a clock." 1361
"John Alden was born in 1599, and died Sept. 12, 1687, 'the last male survivor of those who signed the Compact.' There is a tradition that they were married in 1621 in the spring, but I feel sure i twas a little later, near the first part of 1622. This marriage was the second or third in the Colony." 1088
"In the Division of Land in 1624, John Alden's family is given. The number opposite his name is torn off. Davis assumes, the number was two, but I feel sure it was three, for Elizabeth Alden was born then. In the Division of Cattle, may 25, 1627, the family is given as folows: John Alden, Priscilla Alden, Elizabeth Alden, ae. 3, and john Alden, ae.1. Till 1627, he lived in Plymouth. Davis's 'Ancient landmarks of Plymout,' pae 193, says: 'the earliest records indicate that all the land between Burial Hill, and Main Street, once belonged to John Alden, and William Bradford.' the land of Mr. Alden covered the site of the old school house, and School Street, and it is quite probably that refore his removal to Duxbury in 1627, he ther lived. On his removal, it was probably surrendered. As in later records it is called Town Commons. His home in Duxbury ws destroyed by fire. The locality of the cellar can be seen near the house of Jonathan Alden, with whom he lived when he died. Examinations of some old records sustain Justin Winsor in his statements in his History of Duxbury. 'He removed to Duxbury, and settled on the land, which had been granted to him on the South side of Blue fish river. he built his house on a rise of land, near Eagle Tree pond, and the sit is identified to the eastward of the present building, near the dyke, and here was his well, which long since having been filled up, it is now with dificulty that the precise situation be found. the second house stood a little further to the westwards; and the present house, which was erected by his grandson Col. John alden, stands still further to the West.' The original grant contained over one hundred and nene acres. I have seen a potograph of the Alden house, now standing, claiming to hve been built in 1653. Of course this is not so. It is said that when John Alden's house was burned, he and Priscilla took refuge with their son, Jonathan. Jonathan was married in 1672. And it is extremely improbable that he had a house before that time, and as the present Alden house was built by his son, John, it is probably that the date of erection was about 1700. In 1626, he, Standish, Brewster, and Howland and other of the principal men of the Colony, agreed to pay the Colony's debts, contracted in England, and 'otherwise to prevent the ruin of the Colony by want of credit; and during the following year, bargained with the people for the consignment of the trade to them, promising to free them from the payment of the Colony's debts.' In 1633, he was chosen a member of the Board of Assistants to the Governor, and continued with few interuptions to his death. He was not Assistant from 1640 to 1650, and during tht time was Deputy from Duxbury. In 166 to 1687, he was first on the Board of Assistants and was styled Deputy Governor, and 'on him devolved the duty of presiding in the absence of the Governor; and on these occasions he ruled with dignity and perseverance. Holding offices of the highest trust, no important measure was proposed, or any responsible agency ordered in which he had not a par. He was often one of the Council of War, many times an arbritrator, a Sureyor of lands for the Government, as well as for individuals, and on several important occasions was authorized to act as Agent, or Attorney for the Colony. He was chosen Treasurer in 1656, and held that ofice for three successive years.' In those days the salary of public officers was very small, and a refusal to serve was not received under the penalty of a fine. Constant devotion to the public service so 'reduced his estate,' that the Court took notice of it, and valuing him so highly, they felt the could not afford to lose him, and took immediate action as apears in the following record: 'In regard that Mr. Alden is low in his estate, and occationed to spend time at the Courts on the Contreyes occations, and soe hath done this many years; the Court have allowed him a small gratuity, the sume of ten pounds to be payed by the Treasurer.' 'He was possessed of a sound judgement, and of talents, which though not brilliant were were not no means ordinary, and disputable. The writers who mention him, bear ample testimony to his industry, inegrity and exemplary piety, and he has been represented as a worthy and useful man, of great humility, and eminent for the sancity of his life. He was decided, ardent, resolute, and persevering, indifferent to danger, a bold and hardy man; **** of incorruptile inegrity, and iron nerved Puritan, who could hew down forests and live on crumbs. He was a puritan, both in theory and in practice; and a professed disciple of Jesus Christ, he lived in accordance with his profession. He was a meek, humble, sincere, pious and faithful follower of the blessed Redeemer, and his end was peach and triumph. *** In addition to this spiritual blessings, he was crowned with that competence, which is vital to content, with an uncommon length of days, and with a goodly number of children, all of whom delighted in the ordinances of God, and finally left that good name in the world, whiich is better than precious ointment. He was always a firm supporter of the clergy and the church, and everything of an innovating nature received his determined opposition.'" 1088
"It has been claimed that he was a poor man, because the Inventory of his estate shows only £50. This is not so. He divided his estate amongst his children, before his death; and spent his last days with his son Jonathan. His deeds of conveyances are not all recorded, and very few at the time when given. Later, his sons and descendants in giving or selling their lands, refer to these deeds. I will give them, as I come to the different families. He left no will, but in 1687 Jonathan Alden is made administrator on the estate, and all the heirs sign a receipt to him, that they have received their part. In this settlement, June 13, 1688, first the sons sign that are present, then the unmarried daughter Priscilla, then the husbands of the daughters - where the daughters are dead they are mentioned, when alive, merelly the signatures of the men, as for instance William Pabodie and Thomas Delano, then Mary the wife of the absent or dead Zackariah. The deed is missing from the case in Plymouth, but it was copied in the Probate Records, Vol. 1. The settlement is as follows:
'We, whose names are subscribed personally interested in the estate of John Alden, senior, of Duxbury, Esquire, lately deceased, do hereby acknowledge ourselves to have received, each of us our full personal proportion thereof from Jonathan Alden, Administrator thereof, do by these presents for ourselves, our heirs and executors acquit, discharge fully the said Jonathan Alden, his heirs forever of and from all rights, dues, demands, whatsoever, relating to the aforesaid estate.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed and sealed this 13th day of June, Anno Domini, 1688.
John Alden. (Seal)
Joseph Alden. (Seal)
David Alden. (Seal)
William Paybody. (Seal)
Alexander Standish. (Seal) in the right of Sarah, my wife deceased.
John Bass. (Seal) in the right of my wife Ruth, deceased.
Mary Alden. (Seal)
Thomas Dillano. (Seal)"1088
"It has been claimed that John Alden was cruel to the Quakers in his later days, but I do not see that this is proved. The railings of Norton are of no value. A full account is given in Goodwin's Pilgrim Republic." 1088
"1632/3, Mch. 25. Vol. I, p 9 P C: 'According to an order in Court held the 2d of January, in the seaventh yeare of the raigne of or Soveraigne lord Charles - the p'sons heere under menconed were rated fpr publike use, to be brought in by each p'son as they are heere under written, rated in corne at vis p bushell, at or before the last of November next enruing.' In this list there are 88 names, william Bassett being the fortieth . . some of the others were: . . . John Alden, pounds 1-04-00 .. . .." 770
"1638/9, Jan'ry 7. P 183 Do: 'Mr. Edward Winslow, Mr. John Alden, Jonathan Brewster & Willm Bassett are appointed by the Court to viewe the North Hill land granted to Mr. Willm Collyer and to set fourh the bounds thereof.' "770
"The photograph shows John Alden's wheel lock carbine that was reportedly brought from England to Plymouth Colony aboard the Mayflower in 1620 [National Firearms Museum, National Rifle Association]. According to Doug Wicklund, curator of the National Firearms Museum, the carbine was uncovered in the Alden home during reconstruction many years ago and passed down through the family until it was donated to the National Rifle Association. The weapon is displayed in the NRA's National Firearms Museum at 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, Virginia." 1362
"The oldest volume of the Plymouth Colony Records is entitled
'Plimouths great Book of Deeds of Lands
Enrolled: from Ano 1627 to Ano 1651:'
On pages 50-57 of this book is entered the record of the Division of Cattle which was made June 1, 1627, new style:
At a publique court held the 22th of May it was concluded by the whole Companie, that the cattell wch were the Companies, to wit, the Cowes & the Goates should be equall devided to all the psonts of the same company & soe kept untill the expiration of ten yeares after the date above written. & that every one should well and sifficiently pvid for there owne pt under penalty of forfeiting the same.
That the old stock with halfe th increase should remaine for comon use to be devided at thend of the said terme or otherwise as ocation falleth out, & the other halfe to be their owne for ever.
Uppon wch agreement they were equally devided by lotts soe as the burthen of keeping the males then beeing should be borne for common use by those to whose lot the best Cowes should fall & so the lotts fell as followeth. thirteene psonts being pportioned to one lot.
4. The fourth lot fell of John Howland & his company
Joyned to him his wife
2 Elizabeth Howland
3 John Howland Junor
4 Desire Howland
5 William Wright
6 Thomas Morton Junor
7 John Alden
8 Prissilla Alden
9 Elizabeth Alden
10 Clemont Briggs
11 Edward Dolton
12 Edward holdman
13 Joh. Alden
To this lot fell one of the 4 heyfers Came in the Jacob Called Raghorne. ' "331
"The following tables comprise the two earliest tax lists of the Colony of New Plymouth that can be found. the first, taken 2 Jan., 1632-3, has never appeared in print; the second, being for the year 1633-4, was printed in the first volume of Hazard's valuable collection of State Papers. . .
1) John Alden 01: 04: 00 . . .
2) Joh. Alden 01: 04: 00 " 323
" August 1643. The names of all the males that are able to beare armes from XVI yeares old to 60 yeares wthin the seuerall Touneships.
Duxborrow. 1643. . .
Mr John Alden Sen " 332
"In the illustration facing this page, we reproduce an original deed from Major William (2) Bradford (Gov. William 1) of lymouth, to Paul Sears of Yarmouth. By this deed, dated 10 June, 1679, Major Bradford released all his rights in land which his mother, widow Alice Bradford, had sold, on 23 November, 1664, to Richard Sears of Yarmouth, father of Paul Sears. This old document has an added interest because the grantor acknowledged it before John Alden, the Mayflower Passenger, who acted in his official capacity as one of the Governor's Assistants, as shown by his autograph signature". Copy of document is on file.594
"John Alden, died at Duxbury on the twelfth of September, 1687, leaving no will, and the thirty-first of October the inventory of his estate was taken by his son Jonathan, who was appointed administrator on the eighth of November. John Alden had deeded certain parcels of land to his children during his lifetime,and since the inventory mentions no real estate it must all ahve been distributed before his death. This accounts for the smallness of the estate, only £49 17s. 6d. The records here transcribed are found in the Plymouth County Probate Records, Volume I, pages 10 and 16." Full text of inventory to be entered 1363
"April 3, 1637, a settlement was commenced at Sandwich . . . These freemen had undergone the most rigid oaths and examinations to obtain this permission, and very early Mr. John Alden and Captain Miles Standish were sent to 'set forth the bounds of the lands granted there.' " 264
"John Alden was working as a cooper at Southampton when he was hired as such by the Mayflower emigrants. He was free to return to England at the end of his contract, but married Priscilla Mullins and settled in the colony. He was evidently well educated, judging by the fact that he was involved in public service for over fifty years, including acting as deputy governor on two occasions, serving as colony treasurer, on the council of war, on committees to revise the laws of the colony, as deputy for Duxbury in the 1640s, as well as serving as an assistant to the governor from 1650 to 1686. He and Priscilla moved to Duxbury from Plymouth in 1632, where they brought up their six daughters and four sons. Although Alden was initially a cooper, he became actively involved in the fur trade, particularly through the Plymouth Kennebec trading post in Maine. He and Myles standish were closely associated, both moving from Plymouth to Duxbury in 1632, where they were neighbors,and his daughter Sarah had married Standish's son Alexander by 1660. Alden died in his eighty-ninth year on September 12, 1687." 269
"Anderson . . . gives 1632 as the date of Alden's move from Plymouth to neighboring Duxbury." 269
"John and Priscilla Alden and their young family moved to Duxbury in the early 1630s. The exact date does not appear to be documented, although Robert Charles Anderson in The Great Migration Begins gives 1632 as the date of Alden's move from Plymouth to neighboring Duxbury. In 1960 what was believed to be the site of Alden's first house (he built a second house nearby in 1653) was excavated by Roland wells Robbins near Eagletree Pond, some two miles from where Myles Standish built his Duxbury house." Some details of the excavation to be entered. 269
"[Plym. Col. Records, Judicial Acts, Pt. II, p. 32.]
' John Alden Esqr Aged 83 yeers or therabouts Testifyeth and saith That I this Deponant being one of the first Comers into New England to settle att or about plymouth which Now is about 62 yeer since Doth know and understand by Osamequine the Great Sachem of these prtes that then was; . . .
Plymouth the sixt of July 1682 Mr John Alden above named made oath in Court to the truth of the Testimony above written As Attesteth.' From this deposition we learn that John Alden was born about the year 1599. " 1289
He has an entry in the "Dictionary of American Biography" [to be entered]. 1364
"Through the courtesy of a member of the Socciety of Mayflower Descendants, who owns the original, the Editor has been permitted to reprint the rare broadside on the death of John Alden shown in the illustration facing this page. The original broadside is about thirteen and three-eighths inches high by eight inches wide, and as it bears the statement that it was printed in the year 1687 it must have been issued less thanf ourmonths after John Alden died. I have not found any mention of this broadside, or of any reprint of it, and think it probable that it is now for the first time reprinted. The Massachusetts Historical Society owns a reprint of another broadside on the death of John Alden, but no copy of the original is known. The reprint is signed 'J.C.' and bears the imprint 'Reprinted for T.A. Jun. 1806.' This was again reprinted by Rev. Timothy Alden,Jr., in 1814, in his 'Collection of American Epitaphs,' in which he stated that it had several times appeared in print and was supposed to have been written by Rev. John Cotton of Plymouth. The date of John Alden's death isnot found on the records of Plymouth Colony, or of the town of Duxbury, and the only comtemporary statement of the date heretofore known is that is Sewa;;'s Diary, which says that he died on Monday, 12 September, 1687. He was alive on 19 August, 1687,when he signed and acknowledged the first deed quoted in the 'Alden Notes' in the following pages, and the settlement of his estate, printed in our third volume, shows that his inventory was taken on 31 October, 1687. He must have died, therefore, between these tow dates, both in the year 1687,and the statement so often repeated, that he died in 1686, in an error. I have made no attempt to trace the first appearance of this error, but have noted it in Thacher's History of Plymouth, published in 1832, and in many publications of later date." Text of broadside to be entered. 1365
"John Alden died at Duxbury in 1687, but no record of his death has been found in the Duxbury town records or in the Sewall, of Boston, Mass., under the year 1687, where we find the following entry: 'Monday, Sept. 12. Mr. John Alden, the ancient Magistrate of Plymouth, died.' It is fortunate that Judge Sewall's entry stated that John Alden died on 'Monday', as this enables us to prove that he used old style dating in making his record. Monday, 12 September, 1687, in old style dating, was the same as Monday, 22 September, 1687, according to the calendar now in use; therefore the two hundred and fifieth anniversary of John Alden's death will be 22 September, 1937. The high esteem in which John Alden was held by his contemporaries is evidenced by the fact that within a short time after his death two entirely different memorial broadsides were printed.
At the bottom of one of these broadsides is printed the following note: 'Printed in the year MDCLXXXVII'. This proves that it was issued in the year 1687, and, therefore, within only a little more than three months after Alden's death; but the author has not been identified. The Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants own the only copy of this broadside known to me. The other broadside, signed 'J.C.', bears no date, but it probably was printed at about the same time. On account of this signature 'J.C.', it has been supposed that Rev. John Cotton of Plymouth was the author, but I have found no evidence to confirm this claim. The only copy of this broadside known to me is owned by the Boston Athenaeum. In 1806 the broadside by 'J.C.' was reprinted for Rev. Timothy Alden, Jr., of Portsmouth, N.H., and the Massachusetts Historical Society of Boston owns two copies of this reprint, which measures nine and three-fourths inches by seven and one-half inches. Through the courtesy of that Society we reproduce one of these copies in the illustration accompanying this article. The complete text is also pirnted in the following pages. The compositor who set up this 1806 reprint for Timothy "Alden made an amusing typographical error at the end of the fourth line, where we read 'detectable', instead of 'delectable' as written by 'J.C.'" 1366
"John Alden, the 'Pilgrim,' was born about 1599, probably in England, though his history prior to his joining the Mayflower company at Southampton in August, 1620, is as yet unknown. The year of his birth isinferred from a deposition made at Plymouth, July 6, 1682, in which he stated he was then aged 83. He was one of the signers of the 'Compact' on board the Mayflower at Cape Cod, November 21, 1620, and landed with the other passengers at Plymouth in December. Governor Bradford, in his 'History of Plimoth Plantation' wrote: -' John Alden was hired for a cooper, at South Hampton wher the ship victules; and being a hopfull yong man, was much defired, but left to his own liking to go or ftay when he came here; but he ftayed and maryed here.' . . . Through a long life was a devoted and useful member of the colony. For forty-three years hhe was a Governor's Assistant, being at times First assistant and Deputy governor; for thirteen years he was Treasurer of the Colony, and for eight years Deputy to the General Court, sometimes filling several offices at once. He was a member of the Council of War of the Colony for eight years." 1102
"After a few years, to obtain more land, John Alden, with Capt. Myles Standish and others, moved a few miles northward from Plymouth and founded Duxbury. Part at least of his land is still owned by Aldens and the site ofhis well is pointed out, near the 'Old Alden House' built by one of his early descendants and still occupied by a late one. He died in Duxbury, September 22, 1687, but it is not known where or when Priscilla died nor where either of them is buried. Goodwin in 'The Pilgrim Republic,' page 542, says that they were both present at the burial of Josiah Winslow, in 1680, but gives no authority. John's Bible and several documents with his signature are preserved in Pilgrim Hall at Plymouth. John Alden left no will, having, it is supposed, distributed his real estate while still living, but an inventory of other property and the settlement of his estate by his son Jonathan, the administrator, dated June 13, 1688, are recorded in Plymouth." 1102
"The following list, containing, in part, the names of those in the colony who were taxed by order of the Court, March, 1633, will show the comparative wealth of some of them.
Mr. John Alden £1 4s [listed 8th]" 333
1646. This is a list of the freemen of Duxbury for this year; . . . "The elections and other business of the Colony were confined to the freemen, who were, on special application, admitted to those rights, church-membership, however, being a necessary qualification. This was a requisite until about 1664, when it began to be discontinued; but was not, however, entirely given up until 1686. A certificate from the pastor of a good moral character, was nevertheless required.
Mr. John Alden. . ." 333
"1670. Freemen of Duxbury -
. . . Mr. John Aldin . . . "333
"The story of John Alden is too familiar for much comment here. He lived a long and useful life of unselfish devotion to the public interest, and died, full of honors, but poor in its service. John Alden left no will. He died at Duxbury Sept. 12, 1687 (O.S.) and on Oct. 31st, the inventory of his estate was taken by his son Jonathan, who was appointed adminsitrator Nov. 8th. During lifetime he had deeded land portions to his children, and since the inventory mentions no real estate, it must have all bee disposed of before his death. The estate was very small, amounting to only £49 17s. 6d. The papers relating to the settlement of this estate are found in Ply. Co. Probate Recs., Vol. I, P. 10, 16. P. 10. The Eighth day of November 1687 ADministration was Granted unto Leutt Jonathan Alden to adminsiter upon the Estate of hs father Mr. John Alden late of Duxbury deceased. The Inventory of the Estate of the late deceased Mr. John Alden Oct. 31 day 1687. The assets were few, probably, having been distributed among his children previously. There were, however, some 'Neate Cattell sheepe swing & one horse,' 'adirons pot hookes and hangers,' 'augurs and chisells,' '2 old gund,' 'one Spitt 1s 6d & baggs 2s,' 'one horse bridle and Saddle liberary and CAsh and wearing clothes,' 'table linen & other linen' and some other small items." 249
"Mr. Partridge was probably interred in the first burial place of the town, which was a knoll in the south eastern part at Harden Hill, as it is called. If any stones were ever placed here they have since been destroyed by the ravages of time or otherwise, as non at the present day exist. Probably, however, none were erected, in hopes of concealing from the Indians their loss by death, and consequent weakness; or in the earliest periods the difficulty of procuring stones from England was so great, that few, in any, could have been placed here. This was probably used as a place of sepulture for about sixty years, and here were, doubtless, buried most of the founders of the town and church. Here, probably, rest the remains of Standish, Alden, Collier, Partridge and others, whose memory we delight to cherish, but whose graves must forever remain unknown. We have the most positive evidence that there was a burying ground here. Some years ago, while a sloop was building in this vicinity, there were found by the workmen, the bones of a female and an infant buried together. About the close of the last century a small sloop grounded on the marsh near by in a severe gale, and a party of workmen proceeded to get her off. While here, they discovered in the bank lately washed by the sea, the appearance of a coffin, and on closer examination they perceived the nails, though all were in a very decayed state. On the shore beneath there were found three skulls and several bones, apparently of the thigh. The teeth in one were perfect, and in one there were two. On one there was some light sandy hair. The bank here has washed away some twenty feet within fifty years. Some, however, incline to the belief that this was an Indian yeard, bu tthe fact that it was near the first church, and other considerations influence me to believe that it was an English burial place. There were fifty or seventy years ago, traditional reports, that there was a burying ground a short distance to the West of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Esq. Sprague, when plowing, used always on that account to leave undistrubed this portion. Maj. Alden was accustomed to observe that he believed John Alden, the Pilgrim, was buried here, and that this was the first burying ground, and the one at Harden Hill cliff was an Indian one. However, there is no positive evidence on this point either way." 333
"On 3 December 1660, 'the Court have ordered, that Mr. Collyare, Mr. Aldin, and the Treasurer are to meet the first Tuesday in January next, to settle matters about the estate of Goodwife Hunt, betwixt her and her children.' [PCR 3:202] . . . We note first the record of a Goodwife Hunt, with children, just three years after the presentation of the inventory of Edmond Hunt [24 Oct 1657]. The three men designated to assist this family group were William Collier, John Alden and Constant Southworth (the colony treasurer), all of whom resided at Duxbury at the time." 413
"John Alden, born in 1599, came to New England in the 'Mayflower' in 1620. He was not of the Leyden Church, but was employed as a cooper at southampton, where the ship victualed. He married probably in 1621 Priscilla, daughtter of William Mokins or Mullins, who with his wife came also in the 'Mayflower,' and both died in Febryary succeeding their landing. Their residence after a few years was in duxbury, on the north side of the village, on a farm which is still in the possession of their descendants. John Alden was distinguished for practical widsom, integrity and decision, and early acquired and retained during his long life a commanding influence over his associates. He was much employed in public business; was an assistant to the governor for many years; and in every position he occupied fulfilled his duties promptly and to the satisfaction of his employers. Tradition represents Priscilla to have been very beautiful in her youth; and John was a comely person. He died at Duxbury Sept. 12, 1687, the last male survivor of those who came in the 'Mayflower' and signed the compact in her cabin in 1620." 211
"At the home of John Alden and hs wife, visitors can view a white bonnet in a glass case in the master bedroom. The bonnet, which dates from the 1680s, is still spotlessly white and crisp, as if Priscilla might have just taken it off to go to sleep. In 17th century New England, married women weren't allowed to show their hair to anyone except their husbands, so they tucked it under bonnets or hoods, explains tour guide Chris Daley. . . .John Alden was a barrel maker in England who became a farmer after arriving in the colony. He died in 1687. It is not known when Priscilla Alden died. The couple is immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfelow's 1858 poem, 'The Courtship of Myles Standish,' which relates how Priscilla rejected Myles Standish as a suitor in favor of John Alden. Longfellow embelished the peom with fictional details that added to the family's legend. Over the years, American painters like George H. Boughton have turned John and Priscilla into the prototypical Pilgrims, often used for commercial purposes at Thanksgiving. On display throughout the house are artifacts, including a small wooden box called a 'baby minder' - an early version of a crib - a loom,, double boiler, corn roaster for making an early version of pop corn, toaster, small pots on legs for making stew, a spit for roasting meat, butter churners and hoops which women wore under their dresses. . . Their 11-room house has its original beams, rickety staircases and fireplaces that once doubled as stoves. " 1367
"The following list of 51 people believed to have been living in December 1621 has been compiled from Eugene A. Stratton and Robert S. Wakefield, 'A Historical Background for Easly Plymouth Colony Genealogical research, Genealogical Journal 13(winter 1984-5): 145-162:
1. John Alden . .
28. Stephen Hopkins
29. Elizabeth Hopkins
30. Constance Hopkins
31. Giles Hopkins
32. Damaris Hopkins
33. Oceanus Hopkins
34. John Howland . . .
39. Priscilla Mullins . . .
44. Elizabeth Tilley . . .
46. Richard Warren . . . "341
The Alden Halberd is on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA and was viewed by Barbara Fleming in November, 2003. A bookmark, sold at the Museum, states "John Alden (1600?-1687) was hired as a cooper for the voyage of the Mayflower, with the essential duty of keeping barrels of fresh water and food safe during the voyage. Alden and the Pilgrims found each other congenial and, instead of returning to England with the Mayflower, he stayed in Plymouth. John Alden married Mayflower passenger Priscilla Mullins (a romance immortalized in Longfellow's Courtship of Miles Standish); they had 10 children. John Alden served in many positions of official responsibility during his long life. The Aldens were among the first settlers of the Town of Duxbury. The iron head of the halberd was found in the cellar of the John Alden House in Duxbury. Halberds were largely a sign of rank by the 1600s, and were not used as weapons." 799
The Alden Cupboard is on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA and was viewed by Barbara Fleming in November, 2003. A bookmark, sold at the Museum, states "The Alden Joined Cupboard was made in Plymouth Colony of oak between 1650 and 1700, and descended in the Alden Family. Cupboards such as these usually displayed ceramics and large pewter plates on top."799
Barbara Fleming visited the Alden House Historic Site in November, 2003. Their literature states "John Alden and Priscilla Mullins arrived in Plymouth Colony on the Mayflower in 1620 and were married about 1622. In 1627, they moved to Duxbury. The land they acquired has never been out of the Alden family. Their present house, which tradition says was build in 1653, is the only standing structure in which original Pilgrims are known to have lived. Open to the public since 1955, the house receives thousand of delighted visitors." 1368
"In 1657 Sachem Janno claimed that lands belonging to him in Yarmouth (Cummaquid) were purchased by Mr. Thacher and Mr. Howes and had not been paid for. John Alden and Thomas Southworth of Plymouth were appointed by the court to settle the controversy. In the court order of June 1658 it was reported by Alden and Josiah Winslow that apportionments had been made among various men and the town and 'this be the final end of all differences.' "272
"Although they had deferred to the 'resolution' of the partners, in 1635 the Governor (Mr. Prence), Mr. Collier, Mr. Alden, Mr. Brown and Mr Howland were directed 'by the Court to view that portion of the ground on the north side of the North River and if they find it more beneficial for farms to Scituate than to these parts, then to allot it to them; if not to reserve it.' They reserved it. " 337
[Plymouth Colony Deeds, Vol. II, Pt. I, pp. 106, 107]
[p. 106] 1660: Prence Govr:
A writing appointed to bee recorded as followeth
Att a generall meeting of the Purchasers att Plymouth the seaventh of march 1652 It was ordered and fully agreed unto and Concluded by the whole that all that Tract and tracts of lands lying fromt he Purchassers bounds on the west side of Acoughcusse to a river called accusshaneck and three miles to the Eastwards of the same; with all Ilands meddows woods waters rivers Creekes and all appurtenances therunto belonging Should bee giaven to those whose names are heerunder written Containing thirty four shares and was then given alloted Assigned and sett over to them by the whold to have and to hold to them and their heires and Assignes for ever; to Devide and Dispose of the same as they should see good; and they are to Satisfy the Indians for the Purchase therof and to beare all other Due Charges that shall any way arise about the same According to their severall proportions. . . .
mr Aldin. . . " 783
"When the Quakers began coming to the colony in 1656-7 Cudworth was an Assistant in the Plymouth Colony. The laws proposed for the punishment of the Quakers and their banishment did not meet with his entire approval. He was not at once convinced that their religious principles were without merit, or their personal presence int he colony undesirable. He was tolerant of them and woule not condemn and punish, upon what he considered the pretexts advanced by the anti-Quakers. His opinions were largely those of his friend Hatherly. Of the men who sat on the magistrate's bench with him Governor Bradford and John Alden were more radical. Thomas Prence, always an enemy of Cudworth, was insultingly aggressive. Josias Winslow was inclined toward in a friendly way and William Collier held himself in haughty reserve.." 337
"JOHN ALDEN (c. 1599-12 Sep. 1687)
Seventh Signer of the Mayflower Compact
"John Alden was hired for a cooper, at South-Hampton, but left to his owne liking to go or to stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here.'
Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation, Mass. Hist. Soc. Ed., 1912, 2:400" 250
"Bradford tells us that John Alden was hired at Southampton as a cooper; an Act of Parliament (1543) required that a ship carrying beer should have a cooper aboard to replace lost 'barrel-stock.' He was the seventh signer of the Mayflower Compact.
In 1627, he ws one of the eight who assumed the Colony's debt. In 1634, he went with John Howland to the Kennebec (Maine) tradiing post.
He was a surveyor of highways; a member of a committee for raising a force against the Indians; deputy from Duxbury from 1641 to 1649 ; a member of the Colony's council of war, 1646, 1653, 1658, and 1667; treasurer, 1656-1658; Governor's Assistant, 1632-1641; and from 1650 to 1686. Twice he was deputy governor, 1664-1665, and in 1677.
About 1621, he married Priscilla Mullins (Molines), daughter of William, who with his wife also came in the Mayflower of Plymouth. (Both Mr. and Mrs. Mullins died in February, 1621, the first winter in Plymouth.)
'Tradition represents Priscilla to have been very beautiful in her youth; and John also was a comely person . . . '
Their residence, after a few years in Plymouth, was in Duxbury, on the north side of the village. Near the site of his home a house has been occupied by alden kindred since early colonial days." 250
"John was reputedly a fine speaker and was interested in military affairs. 'Though not of the Leyden church, Alden was distinguished for practical wisdom, integrity, and decision, and early acquired and retained a commanding influence over his associates. In every position he occupied, he fulfilled his duties promptly and to the satisfaction of his employers.' "250
"In Story of a Pilgrim Family by Reverend John Alden, 1890, we find 'Pilgrim John Alden was a man of whom his numerous descendants are justly proud; not for his high station, great wealth, or colossal intellect, but for his recatitude of character, fidelity to duty, and his eminently pious, practical and useful life. . . He was probably one of the seven well persons left at one time to care for the sick and dying in that terrible first winter. The death of the father, mother and brother of Priscilla, leaving her an orphan in a strange land, together with the beauty and grace that distinguished her, led the young John, from sympathizing with her sorrows, to cherish a tenderer feelin in his heart for the fair young girl . . . '
There are two reasons why the name, JOHN ALDEN, is particularly well known. One is the famous poem, 'Courtship of Myles standish,' written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a descendant of Alden's in the eighth generation. The other reason is that John Alden had, probably, the largest number of descendants, as compared with those of other Mayflower Pilgrims.
John Alden was the last survivor of the signers of the Mayflwoer Compact. He was born c. 1598, and died at Duxbury, 22 Sep. 1687, 'in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people, - and his sons buried him.' He made no will, having distributed the greater part of his estate among his children during his lifetime. His wife Priscilla and died previously, sometime after 1650." 250
"With a demand for beaver furs in England, they found that the fur trade with the Indians on the Kennebec River provided them with the opportunity to repay their London investors. Either men of the 'Old Comers' signed a lease agreeing to undertake the repayment of this debt for the colony. These eight men would operate the trading posts in Maine: John Howland, Edward Winslow, William Bradford, John Alden, Myles Standish, Isaac Allerton, William Brewster and Thomas Prence. In about twelve years, the industry of this group of 'Undertakers' had successfully repaid the debts." 338
"The fifth and last section of Bradford's list contain the hired seamen: cooper John Alden, seamen John Allerton and Thomas En[g]lish, and seamen William Trevor and 'one Ely.' " 425
JOHN ALDEN, 1599-1687, of Duxbury, Mass. Came in the 'Mayflower,' 1620, from Dorking, Surrey, Eng.
Arms - Gules, a bezant betw. three crescents within a bordure engr. ermine.
Crest - Out of a ducal coronet, per pale gules and sable, a demi-lion or." [black and white picture on file]. 407
31 October 1687
Plymouth County Probate Records 1:10, 16
Mayflower Descendant 3(1901):10-11
[p.10] The Eight day of November 1687 Administration was Granted unto Leiutt Jonathat Alden to Administer upon the Estate of his father Mr John Alden late of Duxbury deceased
An Inventory taken of the Estate of the late deceased Mr John Alden october 31 day 1687
L s d
Neate Cattell sheep Swine & one horse 13 .. ..
one Table one forme one Carpit one Cubert & coubert Cloth .. 15 ..
2 Chaires .. .3 ..
bedsteds Chests 7 boxes .. 15 ..
Andirons pot hookes and hangers .. .8 .6
pots Tongs one quort kettle .. 10 ..
by brass ware .1 11 ..
by 1 ads 1s 6d & saws 7s .. .8 .6
by Augurs and Chisells .. .5 ..
by wedges 4s to Coupers tooles 1L 2s .1 .7 ..
one Carpenters Joynters .. .1 .6
Cart boults Cleavie Exseta .. 13 ..
driping pan & gridirons .. .5 ..
by puter ware 1 pound 12s by Iron 3s .1 15 ..
by 2 old guns .. 11 ..
by Table linen & other linen .1 12 ..
To beding .5 12 ..
one Spitt 1s 6d & baggs 2s .. .3 .6
one mortising axe .. .1 ..
marking Iron a Case of trenchers with other things .. .7 ..
hamen and winch exse .. .2 .6
by one goume and a bitt of linnine Cloth .. .7 ..
by one horse bridle and Saddle liberary and Cash and wearing Clothes 18 .9 ..
by other old lumber .. 15 ..
Before Nathaniel Thomas Esqr Judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas the 8th day of November 1687 Leiut Jonathan Alden made oath that this is a true Inventory of the Estate of his father Mr John Alden deseased soe farr as he knoweth & when he knoweth more he will discover the same
Nath11 Thomas Cler.
[p.16] Wee whose names are Subscribed being prsonally Interested in the then Estate of John Alden senior of Duxbury Esqr lately deceased doe hereby acknowlege our selves to have Received Each of us our full Personall proportions thereof from Jonathan Alden administrator & therof Doe by these prsents for our selves our heires &c Exonerate acquitt & Discharge fully the said Jonathan Alden his heires &c for Ever of & from all Rights dues demands whatsoever Relateing to the aforesd Estate In Witness Wereof we have hereunto Subscribed & sealed this thirteenth day of June Ano Dom 1688.
Jacobi 2di 4to
Elexander Standish (Seal) // John Alden (Seal)
in ye Right of my wife // Joseph Alden (Seal)
Sarah deceased // David Alden (Seal)
John Bass (Seal) // Prisilla Alden (Seal)
in ye Right of my wife // William Paybody (Seal)
Mary Alden (Seal)
Thomas Dillano (Seal)" 281
"As with almost all 17th century burials, the precise location of John Alden's grave is not known. There are monuments (erected by the Alden Kindred of America in 1930) for John and Priscilla in the Old Burying Ground on Chestnut St. in Duxbury. It is all but certain that they were buried there, likely near where their son Jonathan was buried. Although Thatcher transcribed the Old Burying Ground (as 'Old Cemetery at S. Duxbury') that transcription was done decades before the Kindred erected those monuments. Jonathan's 1697 is the oldest extant stone in the yard, although that yard (next to the site of the first meetinghouse) was undoubtedly used very early in the town's history. John and Priscilla's graves may have originally been marked with the wooden markers or the thin slate stone that were commonly used in the 17th century, so they may have been marked with field stones." 1369
|Last Modified 18 Jan 2009||Created 18 Jan 2009 using Reunion for Macintosh|
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids