Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sunday Obituary-Timothy Alden

As genealogists we are always looking for obituaries to find those missing pieces of information such as a birth location, a missing family member, etc.  When I found the following obituary for my maternal 5th great-grandfather Timothy Alden, I was amazed at how different this obituary was from the others that I have been able to locate.  This has no mention of his wife or children, his year or location of birth, or even his connection to his very famous 5x great-grandparents John & Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower.  Yet, I feel like I know so much about him as a man from the following very eloquent description of the personality of the man Timothy was.  I believe it also shows the author’s admiration for Timothy.

The Bradford County Historical Society was able to locate the obituary for me from the
Bradford Reporter dated Thursday, Oct. 13, 1859:


Transcription:  In this village, on the 20th ult, Capt. Timothy Alden, of Monroe township, aged 89 years and seven months.
Capt. Alden was one of the pioneer settlers of northern Pennsylvania; emigrated from Massachusetts, and fixing his home in these sylvan wilds in December of the 1880.  His axe cut the road for the teams as he approached the place which he had selected for a home. -- He grappled manfully with the inconveniences of frontier life, and the wild beasts of the mountains, and the forests alike stood out of his way, and the earth and his mechanical industry were compelled to yield him a support.  He has lived until all the original surroundings have changed while he gazed upon them-the village, the church, the railroad, and all the accompaniments of thirst, now occupy the cities upon which he gazed, in their original attire.  The red man has gone to his imaginary hunting ground, the sturdy pioneer has fallen a martyr to his privations and hardships; and two generations have passed away from this western home, leaving a patriarch to tell us of events that were well nigh a century agone; and thus to stand as a connecting link, associating us with men and events of quite another era of time.  The aged oak has finally fallen and the connecting link is broken and forever gone.  Bowed with age and with locks whitened by the frosts of many winters, the sluggish stream is stayed and the weary wheels of life have ceased to move.  Panoplied by a life of rich experience, and fed by fruitful thought and meditation, and nerved for the event, by long and careful observation, he wrapped around him the mantle of his christian faith, and sat down to await the day of his appointed time as quietly as the infant reposing in the arms of maternal affection.  He has gone on that long journey.  Verily, “As the waters fail form the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up; so man lieth down and riseth not, till the heavens be no more.”

I wish I could thank the author of this obituary for the care he/she took in preparing this and the style of writing used.

See also Tombstone Tuesday-Timothy Alden and Using County Histories to Find Information-Timothy Alden for additional information.

If you have any corrections or additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.

Enjoy the journey,


  1. As nice as these type of obits may be to read, they always leave me wanting more. I have one for a 2nd great grandfather, written in a similar manner. If the author would have just mentioned his parents I wouldn’t still have that brick wall in front of me. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Thanks Diane. I find that some times there are more important things then the dates and names. Luckily on Timothy I have lots of information already. I am glad I found this one and know more about Timothy's character. I can really picture him there as I read this obituary and that is priceless.

  2. Debby, did you do something to your blog feed recently? The last article in my Feedly reader for your blog was 23 October.

    Thanks -- Randy

    1. No haven't changed anything Randy but I will double check my settings. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Very nice obituary from those times but, the transcription has several obvious mistakes.

    1. Thanks Rick. I believe on Facebook you said you double checked and didn't see an error. Thanks for checking. I always go over my posts several times but we sometimes miss things. I appreciate the proof reading.