William Bradford Facts: Learn About The Former Governor Of Plymouth | Kidadl


William Bradford Facts: Learn About The Former Governor Of Plymouth

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William Bradford was the governor of the Plymouth colony for over 30 years, assisting in the shaping and stabilization of the administrative systems of New England's oldest permanent base.

Bradford was a pivotal character among the Pilgrims. He was a key signatory of the Mayflower Compact and assisted in the planning of the first Thanksgiving.

William Bradford was a key figure in the Separatist movement of the Puritans. After a disastrous winter, he and other parishioners traveled from England on the Mayflower to found a colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where Bradford became the lifelong governor of colonial America.

Governor William Bradford also had the titles of treasurer and chief justice in his portfolio.

Continue reading to learn more information about William Bradford and his rule. After this, you may also look at other fun fact articles like our William Bligh facts and William Harrison facts.

Fun Facts About William Bradford

Bradford was a sickly child who passed the time by reading the Bible. During his adolescent years, he became aware of the Separatist church and soon converted.

In England, he and other church members were persecuted. They were able to find some peace in Holland, but they wished to establish a new world, complete with their own culture and religious freedom.

Bradford sold everything he owned at the age of 30 and came to America aboard the Mayflower. He became the governor of the Plymouth Colony, America's first colony, and stayed in that role for over 30 years.

The Pilgrims held a three-day feast in November of 1621, which we now refer to as the 'First Thanksgiving.' Bradford assisted in the planning of the event. This feast was both a celebration of their first successful crop and a means to express gratitude to the neighboring Indians who had taught them key survival skills in their new world in America.

Governor William Bradford declared Thanksgiving Day to express gratitude for the rain that had brought an end to the drought and rescued their harvest.

After settling in the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford led an active political life, serving as the elected governor of the Plymouth colony and in other political positions for the rest of his life.

Facts About William Bradford's Governance

By the time he was 30, Bradford was yet to acquire any substantial leadership role in the colony. Bradford volunteered to be a member of the exploring groups, looking for a spot to settle after the Mayflower arrived at Provincetown Harbor.

These teams made three separate trips from the Mayflower on foot and by boat in November and December, eventually discovering Plymouth Harbor in mid-December and settling there.

After the death of the first governor, John Carver, Bradford was appointed as the new governor of the Plymouth Colony. He made every effort to be fair and make the best decisions possible for his colony. He was instrumental in establishing amicable relations with the Native Americans.

Governor William Bradford kept meticulous records of the Plymouth Colony's activities, and the journals were compiled into a book called the 'History of Plymouth Plantation'.

The 'History of Plymouth Plantation' was never meant to be published; rather, it was intended to serve as a journal to inspire people in the Plymouth colony with a history of the town's beginnings and the hardships that the initial settlers experienced and conquered.

He composed the 'History of Plymouth Plantation' to depict the hardships faced by the settlers on their way to the new colony to the readers and also show how they persevered and stayed strong.

Although the Plymouth Colony was a key player in King Philip's War, one of several wars, the colony was eventually amalgamated in 1691 with the Massachusetts Bay Colony and other lands to establish the Province of Massachusetts.

William Bradford allowed religious freedom in the Plymouth colony.

Facts About William Bradford's Beliefs

Bradford turned to books when he couldn't help his uncle on the farm due to his illness. He became familiar with the Bible and famous works of literature. Some attribute this to his intellectual curiosity and subsequent interest in the Separatist branch of Puritan doctrine.

Bradford was invited by a friend to hear the Reverend Richard Clyfton preach at All Saints' Church in Nottinghamshire when he was 12 years old.

Bradford was moved by his preaching and continued to attend his sermons despite his uncles' prohibitions. Bradford was lured to the Separatists, a burgeoning Puritan group led by William Brewster and John Robinson in the adjacent village of Scrooby, while he was a teenager.

During his numerous trips, Bradford borrowed books from him, and Brewster regaled him with tales of church reform initiatives around the country.

In the Dutch Republic, the Separatists were free to follow their religion as they liked, but they were concerned that their children were being impacted by Dutch customs and language after over 10 years in the country.

As a result, they began three years of tough talks in England to obtain authorization to establish their own colony in Plymouth Bay.

His steadfast leadership was exactly what the colony required to stay alive. He strove to maintain peace with the local Native Americans and distributed farmland to all of the settlers.

Bradford was also a writer, and his book Of Plymouth Plantation gives a thorough account of the Plymouth Colony.

Facts About William Bradford's Family

In the year 1590, William Bradford was born in Yorkshire. He was just a baby when his father died and a tiny child when his mother and grandparents died. At the age of seven, William was an orphan. Robert Bradford, his uncle, raised him and his sister Alice.

In Holland, he married Dorothy May, and they had one child, John. When William and Dorothy embarked on the Mayflower, they left their infant with friends, but Dorothy fell from the ship and drowned while it was docked at Cape Cod.

In 1623, William Bradford married Alice Carpenter Southworth, a widow. They were the parents of three children called William Bradford, Joseph Bradford, and Mercy Bradford.

He had two stepsons, Thomas Southworth and (Constant) Constance Southworth, along with his children, growing up at home. The two stepsons were from Alice's first marriage with Edward Southworth.

During the winter of 1657, Bradford became unwell. He died in May of that year, at the age of 68. He had dedicated his life to the establishment of the Plymouth Colony.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our William Bradford Facts, then why not take a look at our William Harvey facts or William Golding facts?

Written By
Shagun Dhanuka

<p>With a Degree in Business Administration, Shagun is an avid writer with a passion for food, fashion, and travel, which she explores on her blog. Her love of literature has led her to become a member of a literary society, where she contributes to promoting literary festivals in her role as head of marketing for her college. Shagun also pursues learning the Spanish language in her free time.</p>

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