Reverend Noah Alden

Erik M. Hanson

 

Born in interesting times and called to a public life in the service of God and his country, Noah Alden lived an active public life. Born in Middleborough, Mass, May 30, 1725, Noah left the Congregationalist church with his family to join the Baptist church in 1753; he is listed as one of the elders of the Bellingham Baptist Church, one of the first Baptist churches in North America. On 1755, he received a call to, and was ordained at Stafford where he was installed as pastor for ten years.

 

The formation of the Baptist Church of Bellingham, MA by itself has a colorful history, originating in nearby Mendon, a community literally built around the Congregational Church. The first meeting house was built in 1668. Several of the nearby Nipmuk Indians who lived nearby were also converted and became known as 'praying' or 'Christian Indians. However, on 14, July, 1675, Mendon was attacked by a tribe that was formerly thought of as being friendly, the first attack on a Massachusetts colony in what was to become known as King Philips War. After six months, Mendon was abandoned by the town members as they escaped to towns in the east (though they risked losing claim to their land). This turned out to be a wise move, as in early 1676, the Indians burned down what remained of Mendon's buildings. It appears that it was while they were in exile, the people of Mendon became acquainted with Baptist teaching. For in 1663, John Myles, a traveling preacher from Wales had arrived in Reboot, 15 miles southeast of Mendon and here started the fourth Baptist Church in America. After the quelling of the Indian uprising, many of the original families returned to Mendon; the population increased rapidly, with upwards of 200 people living in Mendon in 1685. However, within the next several decades several members of Mendon began to feel dissatisfied with life in Mendon, and after making a formal complaint, namely that they lived too far away from the Congregational church in Mendon and proposed the formation of a new town, Bellingham. Its establishment was opposed by the Elders of Mendon (who would be losing tax money from the families who formed the new town).

 

In 1736, several Bellingham men were baptized at the Baptist church in nearby Swansea (which had been formed by members of the Reboot Congregational Church for not giving support to it). The Baptists in Bellingham held informal meetings without an official pastor; an official pastor does not appear until 1742. In 1744, a member of the Baptist congregation (Elnathen Wight), deeded the church land to build a meeting house, which was raised March 20, 1744, and used for 50 years afterwards. Elanthan Wight studied for the ministry and was later accepted as the first pastor in August, 1750. A covenant was drawn up at that time, which was signed by members of the church when they joined. Among these were Noah and Lucy Alden (in 1753).

 

The Bellingham Baptist Church was growing, but Baptists throughout New England were being arrested for refusing to support the Congregational Churches. In 1753 John Jones and Jesse Holbrook of the Bellingham Baptist church were imprisoned for refusing to pay church tax (to the Congregational church), to which they refused; the Baptist church collected 100 pounds to send a representative to England to protest, but as the Revolution was at the door, no trip was made (one could speculate as to whether or not Noah and Lucy Alden were inspired by the arrests to join the Baptist church after the arrests of Jones and Holbrook, or if their arrests and their joining the church were merely coincidental).

 

Noah Alden was called to preach in 1755, and was ordained at Stafford in 1755, he served as pastor for this parish for ten years. In 1766, Noah returned to pastor the Baptist church in Bellingham. In 1767, he was one of four Baptist ministers who formed the Warren Association, an association dedicated to religious freedom in the American colonies. Bellingham Baptist became a center for the Baptists in the region, leading the struggle for freedom of religion. Among the notable converts was the famous Baptist preacher, Aaron Leland. Rev. Noah dispatched Leland to Chester, Vermont, after the former received a letter from 15 people desiring a church in their town. Aaron Leland was to survey the situation and after a few years, a Baptist church was indeed gathered and established there.

 

Details about the life of Noah Alden between the years of 1767 and 1780 are relatively sketchy. However, according to the 'Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index 1966, p. 9), he served with his son, Israel in the Continental army during the Revolutionary War (Israel served in the Berkshire County, Massachusetts militia in the Burgoyne campaign).

 

Noah Alden also played a role in aiding Deborah Samson, his cousin, to impersonate a soldier at the time of the war, after she had unsuccessfully attempted to enlist as a sailor (in the end she wasn't happy with how the ship's captain treated his men). Rev. Noah ensured that she looked like a man, and told her how to find the money necessary for enlisting. When her disguise was complete, she enlisted as 'Robert Shurtliff' on May 20, 1782. As Private Shurtliff, and under the direction of Captain Thorp of Pelham, she marched to New York where she joined the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, and saw action near Tarrytown, fought Indians at Albany, and was sent to guard the congressmen in the State House (who were threatened by disgruntled soldiers that had not received their pay). She was later honorably discharged on October 23, 1783 after her identity had been found out.

 

When the Massachusetts State Constitutional convention was called, Rev. Alden was one of several delegates chosen, and served with John Adams (the later President and who was considered the 'voice' behind the United States Constitution to Thomas Jefferson's 'pen'). The Massachusetts State Constitution was later the model for the American Constitution. Reverend Alden (and perhaps John Adams as well), probably supported a 'separation of Church and State', but for different reasons than Thomas Jefferson (who had Deist leanings). For Reverend Alden had experienced a favoritism shown towards Puritan Congregationalism prior to the Revolution, and would clearly have supported the State not showing favoritism to one sect, or religion over another. The first draft of the Massachusetts State Constitution did not reflect his sympathies as regards favoritism of the State towards one religion over another, an ‘oversight’ that was corrected in later drafts and amendments of the Massachusetts Constitution. Nevertheless, it is probable that John Adams made sure that the issue was not forgotten at the Constitutional Convention of the United States, as such a separation has now been clearly spelled out in the First Amendment.

 

Noah Alden died May 5, 1797

 

 

Genealogy of the descendants of Rev. Noah Alden to Glenn Wilson

 

               

 

    1      Noah (Rev., Pvt.) Alden           1725 - 1797

....        +Mary Vaughn

.........   2          Israel (pvt.) Alden         1747 - 1817

...............                     +Lucy Thankful Markham        

....................    3          Abner Alden     1785 - 1870

..........................                      +Phebe Wade  1783 - 1853

...............................     4          Israel Timothy Alden     1824 - 1892

......................................                      +Hannah Johnson         1824 - 1908

...........................................     5          Hannah Rosetta Alden  1851 -

.................................................                       +David George Wilson 1851 -

......................................................      6          Joseph Israel Wilson     1882 -

............................................................            +Mary (Mamie) Victoria Widmark       1885 -

.................................................................       7          Glenn Alden Wilson      1910 - 1975

.......................................................................             +Lois Georgianna Peabody       1909 -

............................................................................        8          Alden Peabody Wilson

............................................................................        8          Nathan Robert Wilson  1940 -

............................................................................        8          Peary Alan Wilson        1944 -

............................................................................        8          Joseph Glenn Wilson    1946 -

............................................................................        8          Andrew David Wilson1950 -

............................................................................        8          Mary Lois Wilson         1953 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genealogy of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens (Mayflower Passengers) to Reverend Noah Alden

 

Generation No. 1

 

      1.  John1 Alden, Mayflower Pilgrim1 was born 1599 in Southampton, England2, and died June 13, 1688 in Duxbury, Mass..  He married Priscilla Mullens2. 

     

Children of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens are:

+    2            i.   Joseph2 Alden, born 1624 in Bridgewater, Mass.; died February 08, 1696/97.

      3            ii.   John Alden, born 1622.

      4           iii.   Jonathan Alden.

      5           iv.   Elizabeth Alden.

      6           v.   Sarah Alden.

      7           vi.   Ruth Alden.

      8          vii.   Mary Alden.

      9         viii.   David Alden.

 

 

Generation No. 2

 

      2.  Joseph2 Alden (John1)3 was born 1624 in Bridgewater, Mass.3, and died February 08, 1696/97.  He married Mary Simmons3. 

     

Children of Joseph Alden and Mary Simmons are:

+    10          i.   John3 Alden, born 1674 in Bridgewater, Mass.; died September 29, 1730 in Middleborough, Mass..

      11          ii.   Isaac Alden.

      12         iii.   Joseph Alden.

      13         iv.   Elizabeth Alden.

      14         v.   Mary Alden.

 

 

Generation No. 3

 

      10.  John3 Alden (Joseph2, John1)4 was born 1674 in Bridgewater, Mass.4, and died September 29, 1730 in Middleborough, Mass.4.  He married Hannah White4.  She was born May 12, 1681 in Weymouth, Mass.4, and died October 05, 1732 in Middleborough, Mass.4.

     

Children of John Alden and Hannah White are:

+    15          i.   Noah4 (Rev., Pvt.) Alden, born May 31, 1725 in Stafford, Tolland County, Connecticut; died May 05, 1797 in Bellingham, Mass..

      16          ii.   David Alden, born May 18, 1702.

      17         iii.   Priscilla Alden, born March 02, 1703/04.

      18         iv.   Thankful Alden, born May 03, 1708.

      19         v.   Hannah Alden, born March 25, 1708.

      20         vi.   Lydia Alden, born December 18, 1710.

      21        vii.   Mary Alden, born November 18, 1712.

      22       viii.   Abigail Alden, born September 08, 1714.

      23         ix.   Joseph Alden, born September 11, 1716.

      24         x.   John Alden, born October 08, 1718.

      25         xi.   Ebenezer Alden, born October 08, 1720.

      26        xii.   Samuel Alden.

      27       xiii.   Nathan Alden, born June 12, 1723.

 

 

Generation No. 4

 

      15.  Noah4 (Rev., Pvt.) Alden (John3 Alden, Joseph2, John1)5,6 was born May 31, 1725 in Stafford, Tolland County, Connecticut, and died May 05, 1797 in Bellingham, Mass..  He married Mary Vaughn7. 

 

Children of Noah (Rev. and Mary Vaughn are:

      28          i.   Israel (pvt.)5 Alden8,9, born May 18, 1747 in Tolland, Stafford, Conn.10; died July 20, 1817 in Broome Cty, NY.  He married Lucy Thankful Markham11.

 

Notes for Israel (pvt.) Alden:

Although the 'Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index', 1966, p. 9, and 'Lineage Book National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution', p. 169, show Pvt. Israel Alden as having been born in 1747, the date and age at his death from the tombstone indicate that it is more likely that he was born in 1746. According to 'Lineage Book', he served in the Burgoyne campaign.

 

According to the Land Records of the County of Broome, Israel Alden is recorded as buying land from Aaron Markham Oct. 18, 1816 Town of Windsor. This may have been Lucy's father or brother.

 

More About Israel (pvt.) Alden:

Burial: Lester Cemetery, Broome, NY

 

      29          ii.   Joanna Alden.

      30         iii.   Lucy Alden.

      31         iv.   Ruth Alden.

      32         v.   Elisha Alden.

      33         vi.   Israel Alden.

      34        vii.   Noah Alden.

 

 

 

Endnotes

 

1.  'Memorial of the Descendents of the Honorable John Alden', E. Alden, Massachusetts, 1867, p. 1-2.

2.  'Memorial of the Descendents of the Honorable John Alden', E. Alden, Massachusetts, 1867, pp. 1-2.

3.  'Memorial of the Descendents of the Honorable John Alden', E. Alden, Massachusetts, 1867, p. 4.

4.  'Memorial of the Descendents of the Honorable John Alden', E. Alden, Massachusetts, 1867, p. 9.

5.  'Memorial of the Descendents of the Honorable John Alden', E. Alden, Massachusetts, 1867, p. 18..

6.  'Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index', 1966, p. 9, Alden, Noah b. 5-30-1725 d. 5-5-1797 m. Joana Vaughn Pvt PS MA.

7.  'Memorial of the Descendents of the Honorable John Alden', E. Alden, Massachusetts, 1867, p. 18..

8.  Lester Cemetery, Broome Cty, NY, "He" Here lies Israel Alden who d. July 20, 1871 ae. 71. SAR marker; courtesy Bernard Osborne, town historian, Windsor, NY.

9.  "Lineage Book National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution", 1889, p. 169.

10.  'Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War', 1896, p. 108, Alden, Israel. Private, Capt. Noah Lankton's co., Col. John Ashley's (Berkshire Co.) regt.; enlisted Sept. 19, 1777, discharged Oct. 16, 1777; service, 28 days; marched to Stillwater by order of Brig. Gen. Fellows.

11.  'Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index', 1889, p. 9, Alden, Israel b. 5-18 (?c.r.) -1747 d. 7-20-1817 m. Lucy Markham Pvt MA.