Elizabeth Pabodie

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Elisabeth Alden Pabodie's grave in Little Compton, Rhode Island, the original headstone was inserted in a new monument in 1882

Elisabeth Pabodie (1623–1717), also known as Elisabeth Alden Pabodie or Elisabeth Peabody, was allegedly the first white woman born in New England.[1]

Elisabeth Pabodie was born Elisabeth Alden in 1623, the first-born child of the Plymouth Colony settlers John Alden and Priscilla Mullins, who were both passengers on the Mayflower in 1620. She married William Pabodie (Peabody), a leader of Duxbury, Massachusetts, on December 26, 1644. All thirteen of their children were born in Duxbury before Elisabeth eventually moved to Little Compton, Rhode Island in the 1680s. She died on May 31, 1717 in Little Compton and was buried in the cemetery on Little Compton Common.[1]

Elizabeth Alden and William Pabodie gave birth to a daughter named Lydia, and to a son, also named William. Lydia was their first born, and married a man named Daniel Grinnell Jr, they married in 1683, and had 13 children together. William the younger and his wife Judith had a daughter Rebecca Peabody who married the Reverend Joseph Fish. Their daughter Mary Fish Noyes Silliman[2] married Gold Selleck Silliman (1732–1790), and they were the parents of Benjamin Silliman, the first person to distill petroleum, and grandparents of Benjamin Silliman, Jr.. The Sillimans were Yale professors of chemistry who started the Chemistry Department at Yale, a forerunner of the Sheffield Scientific School. Benjamin Silliman, Jr. married Susan Huldah Forbes, giving birth to Alice Trumbull Silliman, who married William Richardson Belknap (1849-1914). It is through this lineage that the Belknap and Humphrey families of Kentucky descended. Other descendants of Elizabeth Alden Pabodie and William Pabodie include Priscilla Pabodie, Rebecca Pabodie, Eleanor Belknap Humphrey (1876-1964), William Burke Belknap the younger, Alice Belknap Hawkes, Dr. Edward Cornelius Humphrey, Alice Humphrey Morgan, economist Thomas MacGillivray Humphrey, and Barbara Morgan Meade, co-founder of the Washington, D.C. bookstore, Politics and Prose.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was also a descendant of Elisabeth Pabodie and made her parents John Alden and Priscilla Mullins famous through his poem The Courtship of Miles Standish.

Elizabeth Alden Pabodie 5.jpg


  1. ^ a b Elisabeth (Alden) Pabodie and Descendants By Mrs Charles L Alden, Mary Langford Taylor Alden (E. Putnam, 1897)[1]
  2. ^ Schechter, Steven, Mary Silliman’s War, Review by: Carol Berkin, The Journal of American History, Vol. 81, No. 3 (Lincoln, Neb., 1994), pp. 1396-1398