Alvan Boyden was born on September 7, 1775, in Worchester, Massachusetts, to Darius and Lavina (Brown) Boyden. He married Mary Holmes Woodward (b. 1773) and had five children: Mary (b. 1799), Lavina (b. 1808), Nancy Holmes (b. 1810), Emilia (b. 1812), and William Henry (b. 1818). In 1805, Boyden worked as a county deputy sheriff in Paris, Maine. From 1809-1812, he was chosen as one of the Paris surveyors of lumber. From November 1812 to January 1813, Boyden served as a sergeant in the Massachusetts militia stationed in Norway, Maine. In 1813 he joined the United States Army's 45th Regiment of Infantry, made up of volunteers from Maine and New Hampshire and was appointed ensign in June 1814. In October that year, Boyden was promoted to third lieutenant and promoted again to second lieutenant in January 1815. During these appointments, Boyden was responsible for recruitment, and, after the war, for inventorying two regiment camps and distributing clothing and equipment back to the regimental depot. He was honorably discharged on June 15, 1815. After his time in the army, Boyden may have worked as an English teacher in Maine. He and his family moved permanently to Vermont where he established a farm. In 1824, he was elected pound keeper of Brookline, Vermont, served as town clerk for one year, and was a justice of the peace for Windham County, Vermont, in 1828. He died on March 14, 1844, in Newfane, Vermont.