William Bradford (governor) family tree

William Bradford Family Tree

Discover the captivating story of the William Bradford Family Tree, an enthralling journey through the lives and descendants of one of the Plymouth Colony’s most prominent figures.

Immerse yourself in this comprehensive guide, delving into the remarkable achievements and lasting legacy of Governor William Bradford. From his pivotal role in shaping the colony’s history to the profound impact he had on future generations, this article provides a detailed and accurate account of the influential lineage that the Bradford family embodies.

Join us as we uncover the fascinating history and explore the enduring connections that make the William Bradford Family Tree an essential piece of American heritage.

Key Takeaways

  • William Bradford married Alice Bradford
  • William Bradford Jr. was the Deputy Governor of Plymouth Colony
  • Mercy Bradford was the daughter of William Bradford
  • Major William Bradford was a military officer and deputy governor

Who was William Bradford

William Bradford, the influential 17th-century Pilgrim leader, was a renowned English Separatist who played a pivotal role in the founding and governing of the Plymouth Colony. Born in 1590 in Yorkshire, England, he came from a strong Puritan background. Bradford’s family tree can be traced back to his parents, William Bradford and Alice Bradford.

As a descendant of the Mayflower passengers, he embarked on the historic voyage to the New World in 1620. Upon arriving in Plymouth, Bradford became an influential figure in the colony, serving as the governor of Plymouth for over 30 years. He was a key author of the Mayflower Compact, a foundational document for self-governance.

Bradford’s marriage to Dorothy May and later to Alice Carpenter Southworth further solidified his legacy as a leader in the early days of the Plymouth Colony.

Plymouth Colony and Its Significance

Having played a pivotal role in the founding and governing of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford’s influence extended beyond his own family tree. The significance of the Plymouth Colony, under the leadership of Governor William Bradford, cannot be overstated. Here are five key aspects that highlight its importance:

  • Mayflower Passenger: Bradford, along with his wife Alice and their son William, arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, becoming one of the founding families of the Plymouth Colony.
  • Plymouth Plantation: Bradford was instrumental in establishing the Plymouth Plantation, a self-governing society that laid the foundation for democratic principles in America.
  • Mayflower Descendant: As a Mayflower descendant, Bradford’s legacy is deeply intertwined with the history of the colony and the early settlement of New England.
  • Society of Mayflower Descendants: Bradford’s contributions to the Plymouth Colony have been recognized and celebrated by the Society of Mayflower Descendants, further underscoring his significance.
  • Long-lasting Impact: The principles of religious freedom, self-governance, and perseverance that defined the Plymouth Colony continue to shape the values and ideals of the United States today.

Overview of Bradford Family

  1. The Bradford family comprises a lineage of influential figures who played a significant role in the history of the Plymouth Colony. William Bradford, a key figure in American history, was the governor of the Plymouth Colony and a signatory to the Mayflower Compact. His family tree includes notable individuals who contributed to the development and success of the colony. Here is an overview of the Bradford family:
NameBirth YearDeath YearRole
William Bradford15901657Governor of Plymouth Colony
William Bradford Jr.16241703Deputy Governor of Plymouth Colony
Mercy Bradford16271657Daughter of William Bradford
Major William Bradford16241704Military officer and deputy governor

The Bradford family’s commitment to the Plymouth Colony and their contributions to its growth and stability make them an integral part of American history.

William Bradford’s Descendants

The descendants of William Bradford have continued to leave an enduring impact on American history through their notable achievements and contributions. Here are some key members of the Bradford family:

  • John Bradford: William Bradford’s son, who followed in his father’s footsteps and became a prominent leader in the Plymouth Colony.
  • Alice Bradford: William Bradford’s wife, who played a crucial role in supporting her husband’s endeavors and maintaining their household.
  • Joseph Bradford: Another son of William Bradford, who also played a significant role in the Plymouth Colony and helped establish its success.
  • Mercy Bradford: William and Alice’s daughter, who went on to marry and start her own family, contributing to the growth of the Bradford lineage.
  • William Bradford married Alice Bradford, forming a partnership that would shape the future of their family and the Plymouth Colony.

The family of William Bradford continued to make their mark on American history, ensuring that their legacy would endure for generations to come.

Life of William Bradford

William Bradford, the influential leader of the Plymouth Colony, led a remarkable life filled with significant accomplishments and contributions to American history.

Born in 1590 in Yorkshire, England, he grew up in a farming family. However, he developed an interest in the sea and became a carpenter in his early years.

In 1620, Bradford was among the Mayflower Pilgrims who set sail for the New World. After arriving in Plymouth, he played a crucial role in establishing the Plymouth Colony and served as its governor for over 30 years.

Bradford’s leadership and diplomacy helped the colony survive and thrive, and he documented its early history in his famous work, ‘Of Plymouth Plantation.’

His legacy as a founding father of America continues to be celebrated today.

Early Life and Arrival on the Mayflower

After his upbringing in a Yorkshire farming family, William Bradford embarked on a life-changing journey aboard the Mayflower to the New World. This marked the beginning of his involvement in the establishment of the Plymouth Colony and his significant role in American history. The early life of Bradford set the stage for his eventual leadership and contributions to the colony.

  • Bradford’s family tree traced back to his parents, William Bradford and Alice Bradford.
  • His voyage on the Mayflower in 1620 was filled with uncertainty and peril, as the ship faced treacherous storms and harsh conditions.
  • Bradford formed close relationships with other prominent figures on the journey, including Edward Southworth and William Brewster.
  • Upon arrival in Plymouth, Bradford faced the challenge of building a settlement from scratch, relying on the skills and cooperation of the Mayflower passengers.
  • Dorothy May, Bradford’s second wife, played a vital role in supporting him and the Plymouth Colony during its early years.

The journey on the Mayflower marked the beginning of Bradford’s remarkable journey as a leader and his lasting impact on the Plymouth Colony.

Role in the Plymouth Colony

Bradford’s role in the Plymouth Colony was instrumental in its establishment and early development. As one of the key leaders of the colony, he played a crucial role in shaping its governance, economy, and relations with the Native Americans.

To provide a visual representation of his contributions, the following table outlines some of the key aspects of Bradford’s role in the colony:

GovernorBradford served as the Governor of the Plymouth Colony for more than thirty years, guiding the community through its early challenges and ensuring its survival.
DiplomatHe negotiated treaties and maintained peaceful relations with the neighboring Native American tribes, such as the Wampanoag, which helped to foster cooperation and trade.
HistorianBradford’s written accounts, particularly his famous work ‘Of Plymouth Plantation,’ provided invaluable historical records of the colony’s early years and the struggles they faced.
Economic DevelopmentHe encouraged agriculture, implemented communal farming practices, and promoted trade, which contributed to the economic growth and sustainability of the colony.

Bradford’s multifaceted role in the Plymouth Colony demonstrates his leadership, diplomacy, and commitment to the success of the community. His contributions laid the foundation for the prosperous future of the colony.

Legacy of William Bradford

The lasting impact of Bradford’s leadership and contributions can be seen in the enduring legacy he left behind. His influence extended not only within the Plymouth Colony but also within his own family.

  • Family: Bradford was married to Dorothy May, and they had a son named John and a daughter named Mercy.
  • Governor: Bradford served as the governor of the Plymouth Colony for a total of 30 years, guiding the settlement through its early years and shaping its development.
  • Colony: Under Bradford’s leadership, the Plymouth Colony thrived, establishing peaceful relations with the Native Americans and implementing systems of self-governance.
  • Death: Bradford passed away in 1657, but his legacy continued to shape the future of the Plymouth Colony and influence subsequent generations.
  • Legacy: Bradford’s writings, particularly his journal ‘Of Plymouth Plantation,’ provide valuable insights into the early years of the colony and serve as a historical record of the Pilgrims’ experiences. His dedication to religious freedom and his commitment to the well-being of the colony have left an indelible mark on American history.

Plymouth Plantation and Its Impact

One significant aspect of Plymouth Plantation’s impact can be attributed to its establishment as a self-governing settlement. Led by William Bradford, the Plymouth Colony became a model for future colonies in America. As governor of Plymouth Colony, Bradford played a key role in shaping its governance and ensuring the survival of the settlers. His leadership was crucial in the early years, as the colonists faced numerous challenges, including harsh weather conditions and limited resources.

Despite these hardships, Bradford and his wife, Dorothy Bradford, along with other settlers of the Plymouth Colony, persevered and laid the foundation for a thriving community. The Mayflower voyage and the establishment of Plymouth Plantation marked the beginning of a new chapter in American history, with lasting effects on the development of self-governance and the settlement of future colonies.

Governor William Bradford

As the governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford played a pivotal role in shaping the governance and survival of the settlers. His leadership and decision-making abilities were instrumental in establishing a successful and sustainable community in the New World.

Here are five key aspects of Governor William Bradford’s contributions:

  • Establishment of Self-Government: Bradford implemented the Mayflower Compact, a governing document that provided a framework for self-rule and cooperation among the settlers.
  • Diplomatic Relations: He developed alliances and negotiated treaties with Native American tribes, ensuring peaceful coexistence and trade opportunities.
  • Economic Development: Bradford encouraged agriculture and trade, promoting the colony’s economic growth and self-sufficiency.
  • Religious Freedom: He supported religious tolerance, allowing different denominations to practice their faith freely within the colony.
  • Historical Documentation: Bradford’s detailed writings, such as his journal ‘Of Plymouth Plantation,’ provide invaluable insights into the early years of Plymouth Colony and the challenges faced by the settlers.

Governor William Bradford’s leadership and contributions laid the foundation for the success and endurance of Plymouth Colony.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Were William Bradford’s Religious Beliefs and How Did They Influence His Actions in the Plymouth Colony?

William Bradford’s religious beliefs were rooted in Puritanism, emphasizing a strict adherence to biblical principles. These beliefs influenced his actions in the Plymouth Colony, as he sought to establish a society based on religious freedom and moral values.

How Did William Bradford’s Leadership Style Differ From Other Governors of the Time?

William Bradford’s leadership style differed from other governors of the time due to his emphasis on consensus-building, open communication, and a strong sense of community. He valued the input and participation of all members of the Plymouth Colony, fostering a more inclusive and democratic approach to governance.

Did William Bradford Have Any Siblings or Close Relatives Who Played a Significant Role in the Plymouth Colony?

William Bradford had several siblings and close relatives who played significant roles in the Plymouth Colony. These individuals contributed to the establishment and growth of the colony through various positions and responsibilities.

How Did William Bradford’s Writings, Particularly His Book “Of Plymouth Plantation,” Shape the Historical Narrative of the Early Pilgrim Settlers?

William Bradford’s writings, particularly his book “Of Plymouth Plantation,” played a significant role in shaping the historical narrative of the early pilgrim settlers. His detailed and accurate accounts provide valuable insights into their experiences and challenges.

What Were Some of the Major Challenges and Obstacles That William Bradford Faced During His Time as Governor of Plymouth Colony?

During his time as governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford faced numerous challenges and obstacles. These included food shortages, conflicts with Native American tribes, political tensions within the colony, and the constant threat of disease and harsh weather conditions.

Q: Who was William Bradford?

A: William Bradford was a prominent figure in American history who was born in Austerfield, England. He later became the elected governor of Plymouth Colony.

Q: When was William Bradford born?

A: William Bradford was born in the year 1590.

Q: Who were William Bradford’s parents?

A: William Bradford was born to William and Alice Bradford.

Q: Where did William Bradford and his wife Alice get married?

A: William Bradford and his wife Alice were married in Plymouth.

Q: What happened on May 9, 1657?

A: William Bradford died on May 9, 1657.

Q: Where is William Bradford buried?

A: William Bradford is buried on Burial Hill in Plymouth.

Q: Who was William Bradford’s first wife?

A: William Bradford’s first wife was Dorothy May Bradford.

Q: Did William Bradford have any children?

A: Yes, William Bradford and his wife Alice had children, including a daughter named Mercy Bradford.

Q: What is the history of Plymouth Plantation?

A: The History of Plymouth Plantation is a historical account written by William Bradford about the early years of the Plymouth Colony.

Q: How did William Bradford become an orphan?

A: William Bradford became an orphan after numerous deaths in his family, including the death of his parents.


In conclusion, William Bradford played a significant role in the establishment and success of the Plymouth Colony. As the governor of the colony, he showed strong leadership skills and made important decisions that shaped its future.

His descendants continue to honor his legacy, and his writings, such as ‘Of Plymouth Plantation,’ provide valuable insights into the early years of the New England settlement.

Bradford’s contributions to American history and the development of democracy in the New World cannot be overstated.