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History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 546-549

JOSEPH ALDEN, who has for several years been retired from active life, has been a resident of Benton county for forty-four years in the fall of 1910. He was born in St. Lawrence county, New York, February 13, 1840, a son of Nathaniel and Hepzibah (Dolbier) Alden. His father, a native of Vermont, was descended from John Alden of Mayflower fame. The family association of Aldens now numbers some thirty thousand. Nathaniel Alden moved to New York in 1828, after his marriage, and settled in St. Lawrence county, where he followed farming chiefly. He later removed to Ohio, about 1844, locating in Holmes county, where he worked some years as a wagon maker. In 1859 he removed to Missouri, and in 1876 he and his wife came to Benton county, Iowa, and spent their declining years with their son Joseph. Nathaniel Alden was born in 1802 and died in 1888; his wife was born in 1806 and died in 1892. They were members of the Methodist church.

Nathaniel Alden and his wife had nine children, seven of whom reached maturity. There were six sons and three daughters namely: Milo, deceased; Cyrus, who died in 1850, at the age of nineteen; Samuel, who served in the Civil war from Illinois, and died in Kentucky, in 1908; Sophia, who married Mr. Drushe, also a soldier, who is buried at Vicksburg, and she is also dead; Henry L., who married in Benton county, in September, 1859, served in the Eighth Iowa Infantry during the Civil war, and now living in Shelton, Washington; Joseph; and Willard, who served in the Civil war, and lived in Benton county afterward until his death, about eleven years ago. Two unnamed daughters (twins) died in infancy.

Joseph Alden was nineteen years of age when he came to Missouri with the family; in his youth he learned the trade of a stone mason, but his chief occupation has been farming. He made practically all the improvements on his farm, which he always kept in fine condition. He has always been industrious and energetic, and now owns four hundred and eighty acres, operated by his sons, Joseph and John N. and his son-in-law, I. L. Case. At first he purchased eighty acres, which he cultivated, added more land as he was able; he was possessed of but a few hundred dollars when he came to Benton county in 1866, and has made the most of his fortune since making this his residence.

Politically Mr. Alden is a Republican; most of the time since 1867 he has served as school director, and he has also held the offices of trustee, township clerk and justice of the peace. He holds broad and liberal views in matters of religion, and is charitable and kindly in his disposition towards all sects. He has a large acquaintance, and is universally liked and respected.

Mr. Alden married (first), in Missouri, Eleanor Jones, who died in Benton county in 1868, leaving two children, Eleanor, who died in childhood, and Mrs. Jane Case, of Canton township. He married (second), in Illinois, in 1869, Elizabeth Meek, who was reared in Ohio, and came to Illinois when twenty years old. They have three children, namely: Lucy Ann, who died unmarried, at the age of twenty-five years; and Joseph and John, who carry on the farm.

Picture of Joseph and Elizabeth Alden



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