Noted member of Massachusetts's Plymouth Colony of "Pilgrims", was the wife of fellow colonist John Alden (c1599-1687); they married in 1623 in Plymouth. 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".
- Daughter of William Mullins (c1572-1620) and Alice Mullins
- Born probably 1602 in Dorking, Surrey, England
- 1620 traveled to America in Mayflower with parents
- 1621 Marriage to John Alden (c1599 -1687) at Plymouth
- September 12, 1687 probable time of death
Priscilla was 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. 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.
John Alden and Priscilla Mullins were likely the second couple to be married in Plymouth Colony. William Bradford’s marriage to Alice Carpenter on 14 August 1624 is known to be the fourth. 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.
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.
1629 Alden House in Duxbury
By 1629, John Alden, Sr. and his family had moved to Duxbury, Massachusetts where they built their first family home, only 38 feet x 10 feet big, in which he would raise a family of 10 children. He would build a much larger home in 1653, which much of the business of Plymouth Colony was transacted as he served as court clerk. Today, 1653 Alden House, which stands on Alden Street, is operated as a Alden family history museum by Alden Kindred Society.
Marriage and Family
Courtship of Myles Standish
The colony's military leader, Myles Standish (c1584-1656), desired the hand of Priscilla in marriage, but being to shy to speak himself, employed John as a go-between. However, Priscilla fell in love with John.
Set against the backdrop of a fierce Indian war, the tale focuses on a love triangle among three Pilgrims: Myles Standish (c1584-1656), Priscilla Mullins (1602-1680), and John Alden (c1599-1687). Longfellow claimed the story was true, but the historical evidence is inconclusive. Nevertheless, the ballad was very popular in nineteenth-century America, immortalizing the Mayflower Pilgrims.
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 (1771-1839), in 1814.
Priscilla and John Alden had ten children, with a possible eleventh dying in infancy. Zachariah Alden and Henry Alden have both been incorrectly identified as sons of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins in various publications.
1. John. Born 1622. 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.
2. Elizabeth. Born 1623. 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.
3. Joseph. 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 1696/7.
4. Sarah. Her marriage to Myles Standish's son, Alexander, undercuts any idea of a long-standing feud between the Aldens and the Standish clan.
8. Mary. No record of birth or marriage. Died after June 13, 1688.
9. Priscilla. Same information as for Mary.
10. David. Married Mary Southworth, daughter of Constant Southworth of Plymouth Colony. Died sometime during 1718 or 1719. Six children.
Bradfords Passenger List
From Gov Bradford's list of Mayflower passengers (written circa 1650):
John Alden was hired for a cooper, at South-Hampton, wher the ship victuled; and being a hopefull yong man, was much desifed, but left to his owne liking to go or stay when he came here; but he stayed, and maryed here.
Mr. William Molines, and his wife, and 2 children, Joseph and Priscila; and a servant, Robert Carter.
Mr. Molines, and his wife, his sone, and his servent, dyed the first winter. Only his dougter Priscila survived, and maried with John Alden, who are both living, and have 11 children. And their eldest daughter is maried, and hath five children.
|Offspring of William Mullins and Elizabeth Wood (c1575-1604)|
|William Mullins (1593-)||1593 Dorking, Surrey, England||1674 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts|| Unknown Mullins (c1595-)|
Mary Ann Bell (c1595-)
|Sarah Mullins (c1597-)||1597 Dorking, Surrey, England||England|| Mr. Blunden (c1600-)|
|Elizabeth Mullins (1598-)||11 December 1598 Baptism at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford, Surrey, England||1620 Surrey, England|| |
|Priscilla Mullins (1602-1680)||1602 Dorking, Surrey, England, Kingdom of England||12 September 1687 Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Kingdom of England|| John Alden (c1599-1687)|
|Offspring of William Mullins and Alice Brown (1574-1621)|
|Joseph Mullins (1606-1621)||1606 Surrey, England||1621 Plymouth Colony, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts|
- ^ The Mayflower Descendant, vol. 30:4.
- ^ Timothy Alden, Collection of American Epitaphs and Inscriptions, pp. 264-271.
- Mayflowerhistory.com page on Priscilla Mullins
- John and Priscilla Alden's descendants (through three generations) at Alden Kindred of America.
- Wikipedia Biography for Priscilla
- Immigrant Ships To America/First Families/Mayflower
- John Alden List of Famous Descendants
- Alden House Museum