Priscilla Alden

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Priscilla Alden

Also Known As: "Not Priscilla Thurber"
Birthplace: Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Alden, "Mayflower" Passenger and Priscilla Mullins, "Mayflower" Passenger
Sister of Hannah Alden; Elisabeth Pabodie; John Alden, Jr.; Joseph Alden, Sr.; Sarah Standish and 5 others

Occupation: No record of birth or marriage. Died after June 13, 1688.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Priscilla Alden

No record of birth or marriage. She was living and unmarried on June 13, 1688. She has no spouse or children recognized by the Mayflower society. Please don't link her to John Thurber.

"Mayflower" Priscilla Alden was not the wife of John Thurber and mother of his children. John Thurber married a Do not confuse with Priscilla but her maiden name is not known. We do know that she wasn't the daughter of this John Allen nor the daughter of John Allen of RI.

See the Following on Priscilla Alden.

Priscilla Alden Priscilla Alden (née Mullins or Mullens), (c. 1602–c. 1680?), noted member of Massachusetts's Plymouth Colony of Pilgrims, was the wife of fellow colonist John Alden (c. 1599–1687). They married in 1623 in Plymouth.


Priscilla was most likely born in Dorking in Surrey, the daughter of William and Alice Mullins. Priscilla was a seventeen-year-old girl when she boarded the Mayflower. She lost her parents and her brother Joseph during the first winter in Plymouth.[1] She was then the only one of her family in the New World, although she had another brother and a sister who remained in England. She spun wool and flax for the colony, taught children, and helped with the cooking.

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins were likely the third couple to be married in Plymouth Colony. William Bradford’s marriage to Alice Carpenter on August 14, 1624, is known to be the fourth.[2] The first was that of Edward Winslow and Susannah White in 1621. Francis Eaton’s marriage to his second wife, Dorothy, maidservant to the Carvers, was possibly the second.[3]

Priscilla is last recorded in the records in 1650, but oral tradition states that she died only a few years before her husband (which would be about 1680). She lies buried at the Miles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts. While the exact location of her grave is unknown, there is a marker honoring her. Longfellow's poem A scene from Longfellow's The Courtship of Miles Standish, showing Standish looking upon Alden and Mullins during the bridal procession

She is known to literary history as the unrequited love of the newly widowed Captain Miles Standish, the colony's military advisor, in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1858 poem The Courtship of Miles Standish. According to the poem, Standish asked his good friend John Alden to propose to Priscilla on his behalf, only to have Priscilla ask, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”

Longfellow (a direct descendant of John and Priscilla) based his poem on a romanticized version of a family tradition, though there is no independent historical evidence for the account. The basic story was apparently handed down in the Alden family and published by John and Priscilla’s great-great-grandson, Rev. Timothy Alden, in 1814.[4] The Alden children

Priscilla and John Alden had ten children, with a possible eleventh dying in infancy. It is presumed, although not documented, that the first three children were born in Plymouth, the remainder in Duxbury.[5] The children were:

   John (1626–1701). Moved to Boston and married there Elizabeth (Phillips) Everill, widow of Abiel Everill. They also had thirteen children. He was a mariner and became a naval commander of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was a member of the Old South Church of Boston and his ancient slate headstone is embedded in the wall there. Perhaps the best known event of his life is when, on a trip to Salem, he was accused of witchcraft, spending fifteen weeks in a Boston jail. He escaped shortly before nine of the other victims were executed/murdered during the Salem witch trials. Alden was later exonerated.
   Elizabeth. (1624/25–1717). Married William Pabodie (Peabody), a civic and military leader of Duxbury, where all thirteen of their children were born. They moved to Little Compton, Rhode Island, where Elizabeth died in 1717 at the age of about ninety-four. Their descendants were prominent in settling areas of Rhode Island and Connecticut. From Elizabeth’s line comes the one individual most credited with spreading the fame of John and Priscilla far and wide, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his Courtship of Miles Standish.
   Joseph. (1627-1697) Moved to Bridgewater where he was a farmer on land purchased earlier from the Indians by his father and Myles Standish. He married Mary Simmons. They had a total of seven children. Joseph died sometime after.
   Sarah. Her marriage to Myles Standish's son, Alexander, undercuts any idea of a long-standing feud between the Aldens and the Standish clan. In fact, there is much evidence to suggest that John and Myles remained lifelong friends or, at the minimum, associates. Sarah and Alexander lived in Duxbury until Sarah’s death sometime before June 1688. (Alexander subsequently married Desire Doty, a twice widowed daughter of Pilgrim Edward Doty.) They had seven or possibly eight children. Their home, Alexander Standish House, in Duxbury still stands.
   Jonathan. Married Abigail Hallett December 10, 1672. Lived in Duxbury until his death February 14, 1697. Was the second owner of the Alden House which he received from his father. The house then passed to his own son, John. Six children. At his funeral oration, Jonathan was described as "a sincere Christian, one whose heart was in the house of God even when his body was barred hence by restraints of many difficulties which confined him at home."
   Ruth. Married John Bass of Braintree, Massachusetts, where they lived and had seven children. Of the more illustrious descendants of this union came Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Ruth died on October 12, 1674.
   Rebecca. Married Thomas Delano of Duxbury by 1667, a son of Philip Delanoye, one of the original settlers of Duxbury. They had nine children. Died in Duxbury sometime after June 13, 1688.
   Mary. No record of birth or marriage. Died after June 13, 1688.
   Priscilla. Same information as for Mary.
   David. Married Mary Southworth, daughter of Constant Southworth of Plymouth Colony. Died sometime during 1718 or 1719. Six children. A man described as "a prominent member of the church, a man of great respectability and much employed in public business.
A memorandum at foot of this inventory mentions "Priscilla Thurber, widow and relict of John Thurber." It is signed by John Carey, Reg. Aug. 7, 1706. The will is written on paper with a watermark of the Arms of Great Britain.

The family name Thurber or Thorber is a shortened form of Thorebern or Thorbern, the latter occuring in the Doomsday book A.D. 1086, and both in Hundred Rolls, A.D. 1273. It is traced back to Old Norse Thorbjorn, Thor-bear, and modern Thorburn.

It is believed that Priscilla, wife of John (1) Thurber was the daughter of John Allen or Alden and Elizabeth Bacon. See Salters History of Monmouth and Ocean Co., NJ. [I have checked the book by Edwin Salter. In it he says, referring to John Allen, ". . . (he) was probably the same named in Friends records of Newport R. I., as marrying Elizabeth Bacon, Oct. 14, 1650. He had children Elizabeth, b. 1651; Mary, b. 1652; John b. 1654; Priscilla b. 1659; Samuel b. 1661. All of his children were born at Newport. And he May have been the same John Allen named a few years previous at Rohoboth [sic], Mass. . ." The name Thurber is not mentioned. In addition, Priscilla, daughter of John Allen and Elizabeth Bacon born in 1659, could not be the wife of John Thurber. A memo on the back of John Thurber's will written in 1703/04 stated he had been married more than 57 years. That would mean he was likely married in 1646/7, 12 years before the birth of Priscilla Allen. Most of the children of John and Priscilla Thurber were b. before Priscilla Allen was born.]

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Priscilla Alden's Timeline

Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts
June 13, 1688
Age 49
Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts
June 27, 1936
Age 49
February 8, 1938
Age 49