Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Priscilla Mullins Alden

"Prithee John, why do you not speak for yourself?"

~ Priscilla Mullins

Who is Priscilla (Mullins) Alden?

Priscilla Alden was one of the few "teenage" maidens aboard the Mayflower heading towards the New World leaving behind her homeland of England. Being that she was one of the youngest to be married in Plymouth, she could probably be considered one of the main matriarch's of the Christian women in New England because she started her family fresh in America.

Interesting facts about her life:
  • She was seventeen years old when she boarded the Mayflower, enduring all the hardships of sailing at sea in that time.
  • She lost both her parents and brother in the first winter in Plymouth (one of each siblings remained in England) leaving her the only one of her family in the "New World".
  • She spun wool, flax, taught the children and helped to cook for the colony.
  • Her courtship story is probably one of the most romantacized in U.S. History, especially after the poem written about it in the writings of Longfellow (her descendent) titled "The Courtship of Miles Standish". It was said that the recently widowed, Captain Miles Standish, implored the young John Alden to ask for her hand on his behalf (which was normal of the time). When John finished declaring his intentions, young Priscilla responded to him, "Prithee John, why do you not speak for yourself?" He apparently bowed and went on his way that day. But shortly after, John Alden and Priscilla were married.
  • John and Priscilla were probably the third "Christian" marriage in Plymouth colony.
  • They had ten (possibly eleven) children with most of them having at least six children of their own and according to the records, they all seemed to be sincere Christians as well. 
  • Some of their decendents include the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
Web Source 1, Source 2

What is truly special about the memory of Priscilla Mullins Alden is what she is remembered for. She wasn't a writer, a poetess, or a painter but was well known for simply being a virtuous woman.  What an excellent example to maidens as she endured many hardships at a young age and yet she continued to serve the Living God. She is also famous for being the mother of many and her claim to fame is all the descendants that came through her family tree. Priscilla was one of the women who was responsible for creating a country that documented the worthy words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.How many women can boast that kind of fame in today's society? 


A Light Kindled ~ The Story of Priscilla Mullins by Tracy M Leininger (For ages 6 - 10 years)

Priscilla by George H. Boughton

Coloring Page of John and Priscilla Alden for Younger Maidens


  1. What an interesting glimpse into history! I was familar with the Longfellow poem, but I hadn't read much about what happened to Priscilla Mullins after she and John Alden married.

  2. Proud to say I am descended from this Lady.. I was raised in England .. Cousins to Presidents John Quincy Adams and Stephen Grover Cleveland.

    1. How neat! You have got some good blood in your veins :) Thank you for sharing!


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