William Bradford
Jackie, Age 16, Langhorne, PA

William Bradford was born in 1590 in the Yorkshire farming community of Austerfield, England. In his early childhood, both of his parents died. The boy was shuttled among several relatives, never staying long anywhere. However, he held one true passion: religion, and the reading of the scriptures began to cause great impressions upon him. Those impressions were much assisted and improved when he came to enjoy Mr. Richard Clifton's Illuminating Ministry. He was then also further befriended, by being brought into the Company and Fellowship as Professors. William Bradford, a very religious, deep, inspiring author, started to become extremely religious at the young age of only twelve. Among his religious outbreak, he joined a group called the Puritans, whom which he would pray with and attend religious discussions.  Puritans decided to come to America and start a new journey, and a new life.

However, Bradford's family didn’t agree with this decision. In fact, his family was strongly against it. The constant input from authorities on the Puritans eventually led them to Holland, including Bradford.  He married on May, 10 December 1613, Amsterdam, Holland to a woman named Dorothy.  Bradford, now 30 years old and married with a young son, had serious plans for the future. Government permissions, financing, ship hire and provisioning, and a potentially dangerous first stop in England had to be worked out.

In America, Bradford’s life became somewhat tragic. In December of 1620, he boarded the Mayflower. The Mayflower was a ship that was about 90 feet long and 26 feet broad amidship.  He observed what life was like at sea, and became very knowledgeable when it came to ships and storms. Bradford had a tragic loss of his own wife, Dorothy, who fell from the Mayflower’s deck and drowned.  In 1623 he married Alice (Carpenter) Southworth. He became the governor of the Plymouth, and he wrote the history of the town.  From 1630 until 1647 Bradford kept a record of annual events which were recollections of the founding of Plymouth.  William Bradford was now shouldering many administrative responsibilities: record-keeping, correspondence with financial backers and negotiation for a patent to give legal permission for a settlement, and a swarm of details connected with what he called "the weighty voyage."  Clearly, lack of money was the most persistent problem.

William Bradford died in 1657, having been governor of the Plymouth Colony for almost the entire period since 1621.

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