John Alden (Pilgrim)

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John Alden (1599 – September 12, 1687) is said to be the first person from The Mayflower to set foot on Plymouth Rock in 1620.[1] He was a ship-carpenter by trade and a cooper for The Mayflower, which was usually docked at Southampton.[2] He was also one of the founders of the Plymouth Colony and the seventh signer of the Mayflower Compact. Distinguished for practical wisdom, integrity and decision, he acquired and retained a commanding influence over his associates.[3] Employed in public business he became the Governor's Assistant, the Duxbury Deputy to the General Court of Plymouth, a member under arms of Capt. Miles Standish's Duxbury Company, a member of Council of War, Treasurer of Plymouth Colony, and Commissioner to Yarmouth.[4]

Contents

Biography

John Alden was among the original settlers of the Plymouth Colony. Although not himself a Pilgrim he had been hired to repair The Mayflower while she lay off Southampton, England and decided to journey when she set sail, perhaps with the hope of being prosperous in the New World, or because he wished to follow Priscilla Mullins.[2] John was not the only man who would fall for Priscilla. His friend, military Captain Miles Standish came to love the maiden throughout the long voyage of 1620. A love triangle ensued with the result of John ultimately winning Priscilla's hand.[5] They married on May 12, 1622. That denouement plus Alden's engagement with rivaling Indians who plotted to kill newcomers[6] is told elaborately in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish.

From 1633 until 1675, he was assistant to the governor of the Plymouth Colony, frequently serving as acting governor and also on many juries, including one witch trial.

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