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ALDEN, JOHN, New England sea-captain and trader; b. 1625 or 1626 in Plymouth, Mass., son of John Alden, the Mayflower Pilgrim, and Priscilla Mullens; d. in Boston, 14 March 1701/2.
For many years Alden was the commander of a sloop in the colonial service, supplying eastern forts with provisions and stores. In 1688 and 1689 he made trading voyages to Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.) and Les Mines (Grand Pré, N.S.) He made a truce with the Indians at Sagadahoc in November 1690. Earlier that year he had taken part in the capture of Port-Royal under Phips*, and had gone with Captain Cyprian Southack* to reduce La Hève and Chedabouctou (Guysborough, N.S.).
The following year Alden was master of the vessel carrying Colonel Edward Tyng*, newly appointed governor of Acadia, to Port-Royal and the Saint John River. Also on board were Alden’s son, William, and the Boston merchant John Nelson. At the Saint John River, their vessel was captured by the French frigate, Soleil d’Afrique, commanded by Simon-Pierre Denys de Bonaventure and carrying the new French governor of Acadia, Robinau* de Villebon. Alden was sent to Boston on parole with a letter to the governor requesting an exchange of prisoners. Villebon sought the return of about 60 soldiers captured by Phips in 1690. Alden’s son and Colonel Tyng were held as hostages, and Nelson was sent to Quebec. Alden returned to the Saint John in May 1692, bringing with him only six French soldiers. Villebon sent two men to take them ashore, but Alden landed the soldiers on an island and carried these two men off with him when he set sail for Boston. Villebon protested Alden’s conduct, accusing him of bad faith in the matter of the prisoners Alden’s son and Colonel Tyng were subsequently sent to France.
Earlier in 1692, Alden had been accused of witchcraft and sent to Salem, where he was in jail for 15 weeks. He escaped and was eventually cleared of the charge in 1693. In 1696 he took part in an unsuccessful attempt to drive Villebon from his fort on the Saint John River Two years later he was one of the commissioners sent to Pentagouet (on Penobscot Bay) to settle the preliminary terms for peace with the Abenakis.
Alden was married twice. He had one child, a daughter, by his first wife, Elizabeth His second wife, whom he married 1 April 1660, was a widow, Elizabeth Everill, daughter of William Phillips of Boston and Saco She and Alden had 12 children, seven of whom died young.
AN, Col., C11A, 12, f.4 (calendared in PAC Report, 1885, lvii) Charlevoix, History (Shea), V. Coll. de manuscrits relatifs à la N.-F., II, III. Hutchinson, Hist. of Mass.-bay (Mayo), II, 36–37. “Journal of expedition against Port Royal, 1690.” NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 527, 532. PRO, CSP, Col., 1689–92 Webster, Acadia, 32–34, 37–39 “Alden genealogy,” New Eng. Hist. and Geneal Register, LII (1898), 162–67 Brebner, New England’s outpost, 51–52. Pierre Daviault, Le baron de Saint-Castin, chef abénaquis (Montréal, 1939).