1. Charles Edward Banks, in his book The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers, 1929, puts forward a theory that John was the son of George Alden and Jane --- and grandson of Richard and Avys Alden of Southhampton, England. Since John was hired in Southampton, this would be a logical place to start looking. Nothing else conclusive 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 names is almost enought evidence to disprove the theory of this parentage.
2. A 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 has not been proven.
John and Priscilla were established as legendary romantic characters
in the peom " The Courtship of Miles Standish", written by their 5th great-grandson
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem undoubtedly mingles both fact and
fiction, which is the poet's prerogative. It has immortalized John and
Priscilla, making them perhaps the most widely recognized of those hardy
people who landedat Plymouth in 1620. John Alden was born in 1599. He was
hired as a cooper (barrelmaker) at Southampton shortly before the Mayflower
sailed. He was the youngest signer of the Mayflower Compact and the last signer to die. Reputedly the tallest man in the Colony, he founded Duxbury in 1627, and lived there the rest of his life. He was very active in the government of the colony - for 43 years he was a Governor's Assistant, being at times First Assistant and Deputy Governor. In 1622 he married Priscilla Mullins, daughter ofWilliam and Alice Mullins. Her parents and brother Joseph died during the first several months of the sickness which proved fatal to about half of the Colony the first winter and spring. John and Priscilla were the parents of ten children. Family tradition tells of the"vivacity of the dark-haired and dark-eyed Priscilla, and that she was noted for her dainty cooking." John and Priscilla were among the founders of the town of Duxbury.
John and Priscilla Alden probably hade the largest number of descendants of any Mayflower passenger. They are ancestors to Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Vice President Dan Quayle.
The John Alden House was built in 1653 on a large land grant given to
John and Priscilla in
1627. At first the family spent only summers in Duxbury, returning to Plymouth for the rest
of the year. They moved to Duxbury for good in 1632 with the gathering of a church there by
Elder William Brewster. A smaller home was build on a rise of land behind the present school
complex. The foundation of that house is visible today. It is believed that this first home was moved to the location of the present house and was incorporated as the kitchen, borning room,
and pantry of the "new" structure. John and Priscilla died in the existing home, Priscilla in 1685 at age 80 and John in 1687 at age 88.
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 and you will go to the Alden Kindred