John Alden (Jr) was born about 1626, and certainly before the 22 May 1627 division of cattle. He was the first son and second child of John Alden and Priscilla (Mullins) Alden, who both came to Plymouth in 1620 on the Mayflower. It is known that his parents married in Plymouth, and therefore it is assumed that John was born there.
The Division of Cattle made 22 May 1627, placed John Alden (Sr), Priscilla Alden, and their children Elizabeth and John Alden (Jr) in a lot together. Using the death record of Elizabeth Alden (eldest child of John and Priscilla), we can estimate that she was born about 1624-5, placing the marriage of their parents about 1623.
The Alden family began building their home in Duxbury during the summers, possibly completing the home by 1631, and likely living in Duxbury year round. By April 1632 the family was returning to Plymouth during the winter. The burden of getting the family to public worship and church meetings became great for all families living in Duxbury and the Alden family was one of many that returned to living in Duxbury year round.
John was a member of the Old South Church of Boston. He married at Boston, Massachusetts on April 1, 1660 (or more probably 1659). The birth of a child in 1659 suggests the earlier date is correct, and the record of their marriage is imbedded among others for 1659. His wife and mother of their children was Elizabeth Phillips, widow of Abiel Everill, married 6 July 1655 Elizabeth the daughter of William Phillips, was born before 1640.
For most of his adult life he maintained his residence at Boston. He was a freeman. He was a mariner (sea captain), and later he became a naval commander of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was involved with trade from Virginia to England. He also traded with the French in Nova Scotia. He lost cargo to the Bermuda Company and lost a ship to the Dutch. As a prominent and respected citizen, he also negotiated for the release of captives taken by Indians.
On January 13, 1686, John Alden (Sr) willed “for that natural love and affection which I bear to my firstborn and dutiful son John Alden of Boston,” 100 acres at Pekard Neck, 100 acres at Rootey Brook, and other deeds of property to John Alden (Jr). The will stipulated that should John (Jr) decide to sell the Rootey Brook property, he was required to give first right of purchase to his brother, David Alden.
Captain Alden was summoned by the magistrates of Salem on 28 May 1692 to answer an accusation of witchcraft. He "was confronted by a lot of wenches whom he had never before seen, and accused of bewitching them." One of the accusers first identified the wrong man, but was corrected by that same man, and she then pointed to Alden. She stated, "There stands Alden, a bold fellow with his hat on, sells powder and shot to the Indians, lies with the sqaws and has papooses." He was jailed. The other accusers claimed that Alden pinched them when he was standing at a distance from them. Even one of the judges, Bartholomew Gedney, said he had known Capt. Alden for years and had thought him an honest man, but now was changing his mind. Alden was told to look at his accusers, and they fell down on the floor. He was committed to a Boston jail with no bail. He was imprisoned for 15 weeks. Friends convinced him to escape and absent himself until the situation had cooled down. There were about 100 people then accused and imprisoned for witchcraft. He escaped just before the execution of nine victims, and perhaps went back to relatives in Duxbury. He returned to Court in Boston in April 1693, turned himself in, but no one appeared to prosecute. He and 150 others were discharged.
Elizabeth Phillips Alden was buried at Boston, February 16, 1695/6.
The will of "John Alden Senr. of Boston... Mariner being Sick & weak of Body" was written on 07 February 1701 [/02]. He desired that his full estate, after debts were paid, be divided into 5 equal shares, one part each to eldest son John Alden, son William Alden, son Zechariah Alden, daughter Elizabeth Walley, and to the children of son Nathaniel Alden deceased to be equally divided among them. His sons John and William were named as executors. The will was proved at Boston on 13 April 1702.
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