|Duxbury, MA||August 20, 2015|
Of the 102 passengers that embarked from Europe aboard the Mayflower in 1620, only 28 were women. The most remembered of those female voyagers is Priscilla Mullins, who was roughly 18 years old at the time of the journey. Few written historical records document Mullins’s life, but her memory is preserved through oral tradition and literature. She and her husband, John Alden, lived in a portion of Plymouth Colony called Duxbury. In modern day Duxbury, Massachusetts, visitors can stop by the burying ground where the Aldens — and fellow pilgrim Myles Standish — are interred.
Priscilla Alden’s exact date of death is lost to history, as is the precise location of her burial plot within the Myles Standish Burying Ground. This commemorative tombstone was erected in memory of Mrs. Alden in 1930 by an organization of her descendants called the Alden Kindred of America. It is reminiscent of classic New England gravestones of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Alden’s slate stone is decorated with borders on its edges and topped with a death’s head carving. Her and John Alden’s stones were placed in the southwest corner of the field to be near the restored grave of their fifth born child, Jonathan. Jonathan died in 1697, and it is a possibility he was laid to rest with his parents.
The union of Priscilla and John Alden has yielded over one million descendants thus far. Mrs. Alden herself gave birth to nearly a dozen children, the first being a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1623. Elizabeth Alden Pabodie is reputed to be the first white woman born in New England. Some well-known Alden progeny included John and John Quincy Adams, two presidents from the early history of the United States. They descended from the sixth Mullins-Alden offspring, Ruth. Another of their kin was poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His pilgrim ancestors were main characters in his 1858 poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish.
Born: circa 1602 in Dorking, Surrey, England, Great Britain
Died: circa 1685 in Duxbury, Plymouth Colony
Age: approximately 83
Interment: Myles Standish Burying Ground, Duxbury, Massachusetts
"Mr. Molines, and his wife, his sone, and his servant, dyed the first winter. Only his dougter Priscila survied, and maried with John Alden, who are both living, and have 11. children."
- William Bradford
1651 in his journal, titled and posthumously published as Of Plimoth Plantation
Sources Consulted and Further Reading
Alden House. “John and Priscilla Alden, An American Story Documentary Film.” YouTube video, 11:54. March 26, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh7ItpWilq0.
Bradford, William. Bradford’s History “of Plimoth Plantation”. Boston, 1898; Project Gutenberg, April 14, 2019. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/24950/24950-h/24950-h.htm.
Bruton, J. Makali. “Memorial Stones of John and Priscilla Alden.” Historical Marker Database. Updated July 19, 2021. https://www.hmdb.org/m.asp?m=159950.