Definitions

pilgrim

pilgrim

[pil-grim, -gruhm]
pilgrim, one who travels to a shrine or other sacred place out of religious motives. Pilgrimages are a feature of many religions and cultures. Examples in ancient Greece were the pilgrimages to Eleusis and Delphi. Pilgrimages are well established in India (e.g., to Varanasi, or Benares, on the sacred Ganges River), in China (e.g., to Mt. Tai), and in Japan (e.g., to Uji-yamada and Taisha). The Temple at Jerusalem was the center of an annual pilgrimage of Jews at Passover. Every Muslim tries to make the pilgrimage to Mecca once in his life; this is the pilgrimage (Hajj) par excellence and has had a remarkable effect in unifying Islam. A favorite Shiite shrine is Karbala. The Christian pilgrimage to the Holy Places of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth, already well established, received great impetus in the 4th cent. from the supposed finding of the True Cross by St. Helena. The Crusades were launched to protect this pilgrimage. In Western Europe the principal shrine is Rome, sacred to St. Peter and St. Paul and the martyrs. Since 1300 the popes have set aside holy years (see jubilee) for special pilgrimages to Rome. Another historic shrine is Santiago de Compostela, NW Spain; one explanation of the origin of the Chanson de Roland connects it with songs sung to entertain the Compostela pilgrims. The chief shrine of medieval England was the tomb of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury—its pilgrimage was immortalized by Geoffrey Chaucer. Other English pilgrimages were to Walsingham and Glastonbury. Badges to show what pilgrimages one had made were a feature of medieval dress. Thus, a palm badge symbolized the visit to the Holy Land, and its wearer was called a palmer. Modern Roman Catholic centers of pilgrimage include Rome, the Holy Land, Loreto, Compostela, Montserrat (Spain), Fátima, Lourdes, Ste Anne d'Auray (see Auray), Einsiedeln, Częstochowa, Sainte Anne de Beaupré (Quebec), and Guadalupe Hidalgo (Mexico).

John Alden (1599–September 22 1689) was a tradesman who emigrated to America in 1620 with the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and was among the founders of the Plymouth Colony. He was originally hired by William Bradford and others to be their cooper. Though he could have returned to England the following year, he chose to stay in the new colony. On the 12th of May, 1622, he married Priscilla Mullins, with whom he had many children. He was one of the first settlers of Duxburrough or Duxborough, known today as Duxbury, Massachusetts, where he lived for most of his life. From 1633 until 1675 he was assistant to the governor of the colony, frequently serving as acting governor and also sat on many juries, including one of the two witch trials in the Plymouth Colony.

There are several theories regarding Alden's ancestry. According to William Bradford's Of Plimoth Plantation, he was hired as a cooper in Southampton, England just before the voyage to America. In The English Ancestry and Homes of the Pilgrim Fathers, Charles Edward Banks suggested that John was the son of George and Jane Alden and grandson of Richard and Avys Alden of Southampton. However, there are no further occurrences of the names George, Richard, and Avys in his family which would have been unusual in the seventeenth century.

Another theory is that John Alden came from Harwich, England where there are records of an Alden family who were related by marriage to Christopher Jones, the Mayflower's captain. In this case, he may have been the son of John Alden and Elizabeth Daye.

In 1634 Alden was jailed in Boston for a fight at Kenebeck in Maine between members of the Plymouth Colony and the Massachusetts Bay Colony. While Alden did not take part in the fight (which left one person dead) he was the highest ranking member the Massachusetts Bay colonists could get their hands on, and it was only through the intervention of Bradford that he was eventually released.

In later years Alden became known for his intense dislike of the Quakers and Baptists, who were trying to settle on Cape Cod. A letter survives complaining that Alden was too strict when it came to dealing with them.

At the time of his death, at Duxbury on September 12, 1687, he was the last male survivor of the signers of the Mayflower Compact of 1620, and with the exception of Mary Allerton, he was the last survivor of the Mayflower's company.

He is remembered chiefly because of a popular legend, put into verse in 1858 as The Courtship of Miles Standish by his descendant Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, concerning his courtship of Priscilla Mullins, whom he married in 1623 after having wooed her first on behalf of his friend, Miles Standish. There is no known historic basis to the legend.

John Alden's House, in Duxbury, built in 1653, is open to the public as a museum. It is run by the Alden Kindred of America, an organization which provides historical information about him and his home, including genealogical records of his descendants.

Alden and his wife Priscilla lie buried in the Miles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury.

John and Priscilla had the following children who survived to adulthood: Elizabeth, John (accused during the Salem witch trials), Joseph, Priscilla, Jonathan, Sarah, Ruth, Mary, Rebecca, and David. They have the most descendants today of all the pilgrim families.

Notable Descendants

Notable descendants include: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Ichabod Alden, Orson Welles, Dan Quayle, Raquel Welch, Frank Nelson Doubleday, Samuel Eliot Morison, Gamaliel Bradford, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Herbert Henry Dow, Martha Graham, Adlai Stevenson III, Jan Garrigue Masaryk, Dick Van Dyke, Julia Child, William Cullen Bryant, John Trumbull, Ned Lamont, Matt Hasselbeck and Marilyn Monroe. .

References

External links

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