Mayflower Families: William Bradford

Just as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many.

2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony. Commemorative publications, programs, and tours are planned in the US, the UK, and the Netherlands by various organizations, including the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and Plymouth 400, Inc.

In preparation for the festivities, we will be blogging about our resources for different Mayflower families throughout the year. This week we’ll explore the descendants of William Bradford!

William Bradford was born 19 March 1590 in Austerfield, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England. He married Dorothy May of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on 10 December 1613 in Amsterdam, Holland. Dorothy died on 07 December 1620. Bradford then married Alice (Carpenter) Southworth on 16 August 1623 in Plymouth. William Bradford died on 08 May 1657 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. 

Bradford was governor of Plymouth Colony from 1621-1657. He was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact. His journal, “Of Plymouth Plantation”, is considered the most authoritative account of the pilgrims and the early years of Plymouth Colony. 

The first generation of William Bradford descendants:

  1. John, born ca. 1617 in Holland, married Martha Bourne ca. 1650 in Plymouth.
  2. William, born 17 June 1624 in Plymouth, married Alice Richards ca. 1650 in Plymouth. Married Sarah Griswold ca. 1675. Married Mary (Wood) Holmes after 07 March 1676.
  3. Mercy, born ca. 1627 in Plymouth, married Benjamin Vermayes on 21 December 1648 in Plymouth.
  4. Joseph, born ca. 1630 in Plymouth, married Jael Hobart on 25 May 1664 in Plymouth.

Want to learn more about William Bradford’s descendants? Stop by the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center and browse through SC 929.2 May


(posted by Cristina)

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