The Alden Family

Passenger Profile

John Alden was one of the single men who traveled on the Mayflower. He was recruited at Southampton to be a cooper on the voyage. John’s parentage and origins are unknown; he was born by 1599 to be old enough to sign the Mayflower Compact.

John married at Plymouth, circa 1623, Priscilla Mullins who came on the Mayflower with her parents, William and Alice Mullins, and her brother Joseph. Priscilla alone survived the first winter. John died 12 September 1687 and was buried at Duxbury. Priscilla’s death date is unknown, however she is said to have been present at the 1680 funeral of Governor Josiah Winslow. Gravestones for the couple were placed in the Old Duxbury cemetery in the 1950’s. At his death in 1687,  John was described as the “ancient Magistrate of Plymouth.”

John was a signer of the Mayflower Compact, 11 November 1620, while the ship was anchored at Provincetown. In the 1623 land division he would have been granted one acre. In the 1627 Cattle Division he is listed with wife Priscilla, daughter Elizabeth and son John.

In 1634, John was involved in an incident at Kennebeck where a violent quarrel broke out about trading rights and two men were killed, one being John Hocking. John Alden happened to be in Boston at the time arranging supplies for the trading post and was arrested, being the nearest official of Plymouth Colony, but was released when the events became known.

John was respected in the community and by 1633, and for many years after, served the town as one of the Assistants to the Governor. He often served on committees to set land boundaries and determine taxes, and as the colony’s treasurer. In 1660, having spent many years working for the colony, and at that time being “low in his estate,” he was granted a “gratuity” of £10. In fact, he continued as an Assistant right up to 1686, the year before his death. In one area John was said to be a disappointment, being a “notorious persecutor” of Quakers that came before him in court.

In a deposition dated 6 July 1682, John Alden, Esq. testified that he was “aged 83 yeers, or thereabouts, testifyeth and saith, That I…being one of the first comers into New England, to settle att or about Plymouth, which now is about 62 yeer since, doth know…that the little iland lying neare the southerly point of Mount Hope neck, called by the Indians Chessawanucke, by the English Hoge Iland, did then belonge…to the said Sachem Osmequin.”

Children of John and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden:

  1. Elizabeth Alden, born at Plymouth, circa 1624-5; died at Little Compton, RI, 31 May 1717; married at Duxbury, 26 December 1644, William Pabodie; they had 13 children: John, Elizabeth, Mary, Mercy, Martha, Priscilla (died young), Priscilla, Sarah, Ruth, Rebecca, Hannah, William and Lydia Pabodie.
  2. John Alden, born at Plymouth, circa 1626; died at Boston, 14 March 1701/2; married at Boston, 1 April 1660, Elizabeth (Phillips) Everill; they had fourteen children: Mary, John (died young), Elizabeth (died young), John, William (died young), Elizabeth, William (died young), Zachary (died young), Nathaniel, William, Zachariah, Sarah (died young), Nathan and Sarah Alden.
  3. Joseph Alden, born at Plymouth or Duxbury, circa 1627; died at Bridgewater, 8 February 1696/7; married circa 1660, Mary Simmons and had seven children: Sarah, Isaac, Joseph, Mercy, Hopestill, Elizabeth and John Alden.
  4. Sarah Alden, born probably at Duxbury, between 1630-40; death unknown, before 1688; married circa 1660, Alexander2 Standish (Myles1) and had eight children: Lorah, Lydia, Mercy, Elizabeth, Sarah, Miles, Ebenezer and David Standish.
  5. Jonathan Alden, born probably at Duxbury, circa 1633; died at Duxbury, 14 February 1697; married at Duxbury, 10 December 1672, Abigail Hallett and had six children: Elizabeth, Anna, Sarah, John, Andrew and Jonathan Alden.
  6. Ruth Alden, born at Duxbury, circa 1637; died at Braintree, 12 October 1674; married at Braintree, 3 February 1657, John Bass and had seven children: John, Samuel, Ruth, Joseph, Hannah, Mary and Sarah Bass.
  7. Rebecca Alden, born at Duxbury, before 1649; died before 5 October 1722; married at Duxbury, before 30 October 1667, Thomas Delano and had nine children: Benoni, Thomas, Deborah, Jonathan, David, Mary, Sarah, Ruth and Joseph Delano.
  8. Mary Alden, born at Duxbury, date unknown; died before 13 June 1688, unmarried.
  9. Priscilla Alden, born at Duxbury, date unknown; died before 13 June 1688, unmarried.
  10. David Alden, born at Duxbury, circa 1645-50; died at Duxbury, circa 1718-19; married by 1674, Mary Southworth and had six children: Ruth, Elizabeth, Priscilla, Benjamin, Alice and Samuel Alden.

 Sources:

Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, John Alden, vol. 16, part 1 of 3, by Esther L. Woodworth; Alicia C. Williams, ed.

Mayflower Passenger References (from contemporary sources and scholarly journals), by Susan E. Roser, 2011, pp. 1-29.

Descendants of John Alden are invited to join Alden Kindred of America.

Alden House
Photo credit: Alden Kindred of America

The Alden House Historic Site (AHHS), and the property upon which it rests, are part of the original land grant given to John and Priscilla Alden in 1627. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2009, the house is an important piece of American history that provides visitors will an intimate look at one of Americas founding families. The core of the present house was built circa 1700 by Jonathan Alden, probably before the death of his father John, perhaps around the time of his marriage in 1672.

Over the next three centuries the Alden family would occupy and in time preserve the home so that future generations can engage with the story of one of America’s founding families. Today, the Alden House, with its two and a half acres of land, has the distinction of being the unique instance of still belonging to the same family to which it was originally issued in the land division of 1627. The house has been operated as a museum by the Alden Kindred since 1960, and continues to welcome visitors from across the globe.