When Ross Came Courting

1 Dec

The young man who Isabella Alden served pumpkin pie to on Thanksgiving day, 1863 would have a decided impact on her life (you can read about their first meeting in a previous post). That young man was Gustavus Rossenberg Alden, but everyone called him Ross.

Gustavus “Ross” Alden

When they met that Thanksgiving day, Ross was 31 years old and Isabella was 22. She was a teacher, living with her sister, Marcia and brother-in-law Charles Livingston while Charles attended Auburn Theological Seminary.

Isabella later wrote that her first impression of Ross was that he “was uncommonly tall.” He was also nine years older than she, in the process of changing careers, and he had weathered many life events that Isabella had yet to experience.

Ross came from a rather distinguished family. He was a direct descendent of John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, the first Mayflower Pilgrims to land at Plymouth Rock. You can learn more about John Alden by viewing the video below:

John and Priscilla’s love story was immortalized in the Hendry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, The Courtship of Miles Standish, which you can read here.

Ross’s grandfather, Benjamin Alden, was a founding father of Greene, Maine and a prominent citizen of the surrounding county. Here’s a simple genealogy chart showing Ross’s direct line of descent from John Alden;

Alden Pedigree

When Ross was 23 years old, he married a woman named Hannah Bogart. Within a year they had a daughter they named Anna; two months after Anna’s birth, Hannah passed away.

Very little is known about Ross and his life after his wife died; but seven years later, he was in New York. At the age of 31 he was ready to begin a new chapter in his life, and he enrolled at Auburn Theological Seminary. There he met fellow student, Charles Livingston, who introduced Ross to Isabella on Thanksgiving day, 1863.

Isabella wrote very little about the early days of their relationship, but she did hint at the make-up of the man she fell in love with. She described him as “a most unusual Christian.”

While he would argue good-naturedly over comparatively unimportant matters, or could with equal good nature often drop his side of the question and give himself heartily to the carrying out of the other’s plans, when it came to a matter of principle or conscience he was adamant, although still maintaining his habitual kind courtesy.

Also clear from her writings is the fact that Isabella loved and admired Ross Alden. She looked up to him, and enthusiastically partnered with him in his ministry.

Three years after they met, Ross and Isabella married, and they embarked upon a long and happy life together.

Next post: Isabella, the Baby Bride

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