Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Life of Israel Alden

In honor of Thanksgiving and the 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower, I wanted to learn about Israel Alden, my maternal 6th great grandfather. Israel is the great-great grandson of John and Priscilla Mullins Alden. (click on highlighted names to view additional posts)

Israel was born to Noah and Joanna Vaughn Alden on 18 May 1747 in Stafford, Tolland County, Connecticut.

11 July 1765
Israel married Lucy Thankful Markham in Stafford, CT. 

Lucy and Israel would have 13 children: Israel, Noah,
Timothy (my 5th great grandfather), Lucy, Benjamin, Thankful, Samuel, Zilphah, Moses, Abner, Elisha, David and Ruth. Only their first child Israel was born in Stafford. The other children were born in Tyringham, Massachusetts. If oldest son Israel was born in 1766 and son Noah was born 6 March 1768 then Israel must have moved to Tyringham, Mass between 1766 and 1768.

14 June 1768 – Daniel Markham of Tyringham sold 41 acres of land to Israel also then of Tyringham, Massachusetts. Lucy also had a brother named Daniel but I believe they are referring to Lucy’s father here. Was the land sale the reason that the young couple moved to Tyringham? What was the area like when they moved there?

  • This area was first settled in 1735 and began as a town named Tyringham (after a village in Buckinghamshire, England) in 1762 shortly before Israel and Lucy moved here. The town started as an agricultural community. In 1786 the town had 182 dwelling houses, forty shops, two tanneries, four potash works, two iron works, four grist and saw mills. From the town valuations we also know that the townspeople made 1185 barrels of cider that year and there were more than 10,000 acres of wooded land and a bout 2500 acres improved for growing crops. There were 500 horses, 800 swine, 178 oxen, 500 cattle and 541 milk cows. Quite a thriving community when Israel and Lucy were raising their family here.

Israel Alden served as a private in the American Revolution from 19 September 1777 to 16 October 1777 serving in the Berkshire County Militia.

In 1790 US Federal Census, the first census, and in the 1800 US Federal Census Israel and family are living in Tyringham, Berkshire, Massachusetts.

26 July 1792 there is a sale of their rights in the thirds set off to their mother Thankful from Lucy’s siblings to Israel. On the same day Israel and Lucy sell 54 acres to Daniel Markham.

12 March 1816 Israel and Lucy, living in Tyringham, sold 50 acres of land (lot #104) for $400. I wonder if they intended to move to Windsor, New York and this was their money for the new land and the move.

25 December 1816 Israel Alden bought 60 acres in Broome County, New York. The village of Windsor, where Israel lived, is located on the Susquehanna River. In 1805 Windsor had a population of 1,000. On 2 March 1807 the township of Windsor was created. I always wonder why my ancestors moved to a different location. What were the possible reasons for the move when Israel was 69 years old?

  • In reading the book Binghampton It’s Settlement, Growth and Development I may have found an answer to my question. The editor William S. Lawyer explains that about 250 survivors of the Revolution came to this area and made homes for themselves and their families. As expected, I see “Israel Alden” in the list of Revolutionary soldiers who came to this area. Lawyer states “Nearly all of these patriots of the war for American independence were in modest circumstances, some of them very poor, while few indeed of the number could afford any of the luxuries of life as then enjoyed. They came to the region, as did other pioneers, hoping to benefit their condition and provide comfortable homes for their families. Their land was purchased at reasonable prices, and they at once set about its cultivation and development.”  Did Israel follow other soldiers of the Revolution to Windsor?

On 20 July 1817, only seven months after purchasing land there, Israel died in Windsor, Broome County, New York at the age of 70.

I am amazed at how far Israel moved in his life during that time period.  He was born in Stafford, CT.  He then moved his family to Tryingham, MA and later he would move them yet again to Windsor, NY.

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

Enjoy the journey,


  1. Excellent research Debby. You've just inspired me to write a few more stories about my Mayflower ancestors.

    1. Thank-you Diane. Yes, so very interesting to see the areas he lived in and maybe now understand why he moved when he did.