Priscilla Mullins, "Mayflower" Passenger

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Priscilla Alden (Mullins)

Also Known As: "Molines"
Birthplace: Dorking, Surrey, England
Death: Died in Duxbury, Plymouth, Dominion of New England (Present Massachusetts)
Place of Burial: South Duxbury, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Mullins, "Mayflower" Passenger and Alice Mullins (unknown), "Mayflower" Passenger
Wife of John Alden, "Mayflower" Passenger
Mother of Hannah Alden; Elisabeth Pabodie; John Alden, Jr.; Joseph Alden, Sr.; Sarah Standish and 6 others
Sister of William Mullins, of Dorking and Braintree; Sarah Mullins and Joseph Mullins, "Mayflower" Passenger

Occupation: Spinner and weaver; schoolteacher, American Colonial Figure
Managed by: John Patrick McCaffrey
Last Updated:

About Priscilla Mullins, "Mayflower" Passenger

Priscilla Mullins (c.1603 – c.1688), Mayflower passenger and noted member of Plymouth's "Pilgrim" colony in Massachusetts, and wife of fellow colonist John Alden (c.1599-1687), was most likely born in Dorking in Surrey, England. The second daughter and fourth child of William (c.1578 - 1621) and Alice Atwood (c.1574 - c.1620), Priscilla was a 17-year-old girl when she and her family boarded the Mayflower, arriving at Plymouth in December 1620. Her parents and her brother, Joseph, died during the first winter in Plymouth, leaving her the only remaining member of her family in the New World (although another brother and a sister remained in England).

Sweet of temper and blessed with great patience, she rose above her grief and spun wool and flax for the colony, taught the children and helped with the cooking. Priscilla Mullins and John Alden were married at Plymouth circa 1622, likely the third couple to be married in Plymouth Colony. Priscilla is last recorded in the records in 1650, but oral tradition states that she died within a few years of her husband (who died in 1687). Although she was buried at the Miles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts and there is a marker at the Burial Ground in her honor, no one knows the exact location of her grave.

The Alden Children

Priscilla and John Alden had ten children, with a possible eleventh dying in infancy. Although not documented, it's presumed that the first three children were born in Plymouth, and the remainder in Duxbury.

  1. John Alden, Jr. (1623 - 1701) Born at Plymouth, John moved to Boston and married Elizabeth Phillips Everill, widow of Abiel Everill, 1 April 1660 at Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; John and Elizabeth 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 headstone is embedded in the wall there. On a trip to Salem John Alden was accused of witchcraft and spent fifteen weeks in a Boston jail. He escaped shortly before nine other accused were executed during the Salem witch trials. Later exonerated, Captain John Alden died at Boston, Massachusetts, on 14 March, 1701.
  2. Elisabeth Alden (c.1624 - 1717) married William Pabodie (also recorded as 'Peabody'), a civic and military leader of Duxbury, where all thirteen of their children were born. They later moved to Little Compton, Rhode Island, where Elizabeth died on 31 May, 1717, at the age of ninety-four.
  3. Joseph Alden (c.1627 - c.1697) Moved to Bridgewater where he farmed land purchased from the Indians by his father and Myles Standish. He married Mary Simmons and they had seven children. Died 8 February 1696/97 at Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts
  4. Jonathan Alden (c.1632 - 1697) married Abigail Hallett on 10 December 1672 at Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. Jonathan and Abigail lived in Duxbury and raised six children in the original Alden home, which he received from his father, and which passed to his son upon his death on 14 February, 1697.
  5. Sarah Alden (c.1628 - 1674), whose marriage to Alexander Standish, son of Miles Standish, belies any idea of a feud between the Aldens and the Standish family. Sarah and Alexander had at least seven children and lived in Duxbury until Sarah’s death on 12 August 1674.
  6. Ruth Alden (1634 - 1674) married John Bass 12 May 1657; had seven children; died 12 October 1674 at Braintree, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
  7. Priscilla Alden (1639 - 1689) No record of marriage nor children
  8. David Alden (c. 1645 - 1719) married Mary Southworth, daughter of Constant Southworth of Plymouth Colony, and had six children. Described as "a prominent member of the church, a man of great respectability and much employed in public business."
  9. Rebecca Alden (c.1649 - 1688), married Thomas Delano of Duxbury before30 October1667. They had nine children.
  10. Robert Alden (1649 - 1685)
  11. Mary Alden (c.1659 - c.1688) No record of marriage nor children

PLEASE NOTE: Zachariah Alden and Henry Alden have been incorrectly identified as sons of John and Priscilla Alden in various publications. For information on the genealogy of Henry Alden, see Mayflower Descendant 43:21-29,133-138; 44:27-30,181-184.


  • Priscilla Mullins Alden is known as the unrequited love of the newly-widowed Captain Miles Standish 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?” A direct descendant of John and Priscilla's, Longfellow based his poem on a romanticized version of a family story, though there is no independent historical evidence for the account. Prior to Longfellow's version, the story was originally published by John and Priscilla’s great-great-grandson, Rev. Timothy Alden, in 1814.


Her parents and younger brother Joseph all died between February and April of 1621. From the landing of "Mayflower at the second site on December 16, 1620 as many as 47 passengers perished (Only about 50 survived by the time "Mayflower" returned to England in April of 1621) from the harsh crossing and eight weeks at sea, and the harsh winter conditions experienced without sufficient shelter. She has been the subject of a star-crossed love story "The Courtship of Myles Standish" in which the bashful Captain (Whose wife Rose died three days after arriving at Plymouth) asked the twenty-one year old cooper John Alden to propose for him. John wound up being Priscilla's husband.

Arrived on first Mayflower voage with Father (William Mullins), Mother (Alice Atwood) and Brother who all died first winter 1621. Married John Alden another Mayflower passenger in 1622-1623 and had 10 or 11 childern.
At age 17, came to the US with her parents on the Mayflower (recruited passengers) in November 1620. Married John Alden, crew member on the Mayflower, 3 years after arriving in the US.
American Colonial Figure. One of the charter members of the Plymouth Colony, arriving on the first voyage of the "Mayflower", her marriage to John Alden is the third known marriage in the Plymouth colony. Born in Dorking, Surrey, England, she was a young girl of 16 or 17 at the time of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620 for America, when she arrived with her parents. When her parents died in the first winter ashore, in early 1621, a hard time when about half of the colony perished, she chose to stay with the Pilgrims even though she had a brother and sister surviving in England. Between the time of her parents' deaths in 1621 and her marriage to John Alden about 1623, it is not known whom she stayed with or how she survived. John married Priscilla Mullins about 1623, but the exact date has been lost to history. A legend of a rivalry between John Alden and pilgrim Miles Standish for Priscilla Mullins arose, and was first published in the book, "Collection of American Epitaphs and Inscriptions" in 1814, by Timothy Alden. The story was popularized by the poem, "The Courtship of Miles Standish" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1858, however, there is no documentation of such a rivalry to have existed in any of the records of the Plymouth Colony. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson)

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Priscilla Mullins, "Mayflower" Passenger's Timeline

Dorking, Surrey, England

1602 Dorking, Surrey, England

Age 15
Braintree, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States
November 1620
Age 17
Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States

The Mayflower Compact is a written agreement composed by a consensus of the new Settlers arriving at New Plymouth in November of 1620. They had traveled across the ocean on the ship Mayflower which was anchored in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Mayflower Compact was drawn up with fair and equal laws, for the general good of the settlement and with the will of the majority. The Mayflower’s passengers knew that the New World’s earlier settlers failed due to a lack of government. They hashed out the content and eventually composed the Compact for the sake of their own survival.

All 41 of the adult male members on the Mayflower signed the Compact. Being the first written laws for the new land, the Compact determined authority within the settlement and was the observed as such until 1691. This established that the colony (mostly persecuted Separatists), was to be free of English law. It was devised to set up a government from within themselves and was written by those to be governed.

The original document is said to have been lost, but the writings of William Bradford’s journal Of Plymouth Plantation and in Edward Winslow’s Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth are in agreement and accepted as accurate. The Mayflower Compact reads:

"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord, King James, by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, e&. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the General good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In Witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, King James of England, France and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620."

One of the first lists of the Mayflower Compact’s signers was provided by William Bradford’s nephew, Nathaniel Morton. The names are published in his 1669 New England’s Memorial. They are also posted by the Avalon Project of Yale University. Some of the more familiar names includes are those such as: John Carver, William Bradford, Edward Winslow, William Brewster, Isaac Allerton, Myles Standish, and John Alden.

John Alden was not a Pilgram but hired as a Cooper. it is said he was the first passenger from the Mayflower to set foot on lnad at Plymouth Rock, MA.

Age 17
Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
May 12, 1623
Age 20
Plymouth Colony (Present Massachusetts), (Present USA)

Married about 1623

Age 21
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts
June 1, 1626
Age 23
Plymouth, (Present Plymouth County), Plymouth Colony (Present Massachusetts), (Present USA)
May 22, 1627
Age 24
Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States
Age 25
Duxbury, Plymouth
Age 29
Plymouth, Plymouth Colony