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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 successfully did.
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 the alleged witch was allowed to go free. Plymouth Colony 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.
Alicia Crane Williams, ""John Alden: Theories on English Ancestry", Mayflower Descendant 39:111-122; 40:133-136
Alicia Crane Williams, Families of Pilgrims: John Alden and William Mullins (Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1986).
Robert C. Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1:21-26 (Boston: New England Historical and Genealogical Society, 1995).
William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, ed. Samuel Morison (New York: Random House, 1952).
Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and Its People, 1620-1691 (Ancestor Publishers: Salt Lake City, 1986).
Harry Hollingsworth, "John Alden--Beer Brewer of Windsor?", The American Genealogist 53(1977):235-240.
While John Alden is famous as a Plymouth colonist, he actually had been hired to serve as the Mayflower’s cooper, in charge of the barreled supplies and provisions during the voyage. In his history, Bradford stated, "John Alden was hired for a cooper at Southampton where the ship victualled, 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." He was born circa 1599 and died in Duxbury in 1687. Nothing is known definitively about his parentage. He may have been related to Christopher Jones. His mother, Sibill Jones remarried after Christopher Senior’s death, to a Robert Russell, whose sister Ellen married a John Alden, who had a grandson John Alden of the right approximate age to be the man in Plymouth Colony. He married fellow Mayflower passenger Priscilla Mullins and they had ten children.