2. Brick Path: Meet the Aldens

As you walk down the path, join us in stepping back into history. Take note of the names inscribed on these bricks. Several were donated by the direct descendants of John and Priscilla Alden. The personal histories of these two individuals have been obscured by myth and time. Today, historians, archaeologists, Alden descendants, and others are working to bring them back to life. 

John Alden was around 20 years old when he joined as the Mayflower cooper, or barrel-maker. Priscilla Mullins, a young woman from Dorking (about 30 miles south-west of modern London), was also traveling on the ship with her father William, mother Alice, brother Joseph, and a family servant. After surviving the two-month-long journey, all four of Priscilla’s family died during the first few months in Plymouth Colony. 

Despite this tragedy, Priscilla was able to continue creating her new life in the colonies. John signed the famous Mayflower Compact in November 1620; the two married within three years following this event. Their marriage inspired one of their descendants, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to write The Courtship of Miles Standish, a poem that instantly made John and Priscilla cultural icons of the 19th and 20th centuries.