William Bradford

Nuncupative Will
Willam Bradford2 Will


Additional Resources


WILLIAM BRADFORD, four generations, 5th ed., compiled by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG, Lee D. vanAntwerp (1997) Softcover, published by The Mayflower Society.


History of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford


Of Plymouth Plantation, Samuel Elliot Morison, New York 1952


William Bradford was the ever-dutiful and faithful Governor of Plymouth Colony.  It is through him that we know much of the early data about the Mayflower and its passengers.


Bradford was bp. Austerfield, Yorkshire, 19 March 1589/90 son of William and Alice (Hanson) Bradford. He died at Plymouth, May 9, 1657. 


The Reverend Cotton Mather in an epitah said of him ” . . . At length he fell into an Indisposition of Body, which rendred him unhealthy for a whole Winter; and as the Spring advanced, his Health yet more declined; yet he felt himself not what he counted Sick, till one Day; in the Night after which, the God of Heaven so fill’d his Mind with Ineffable Consolations, that he seemed little short of Paul, rapt up unto the Unutterable Entertainments of Paradise. The next Morning he told his Friends, That the good Spirit of God had given him a Pledge of his Happiness in another World, and the First-fruits of his Eternal Glory: And on the Day following he died, May 9 . 1657. in the 68th Year of his Age. Lamented by all the Colonies of New England, as a Common Blessing and Father to them all. . .”


He married first in Amsterdam, 10 Dec 1613, Dorothy May of Wisbech, Cambrideshire.


Intentions: [MD 2:116-7]


Then appeared also as before William Bradford, from Austerfield, fustian weaver, 23 years old, living at Leiden, where the banns have been published, declaring that he has no parents, on the one part, and Dorothy May, 16 years old, from Wisbeach in England, at present living on the New Dyke, assisted by Henry May, on the other part, and declared that they were betrothed to one another with true covenants, requesting their three Sunday proclamations in order after the same to solemnize the aforesaid covenant and in all respects to execute it, so far as there shall be no lawful hindrances otherwise. And to this end they declared it as truth that they were free persons and not akin to each other by blood That nothing existed whereby a Christian marriage might be hindered; and their banns are admitted.




The tenth of December, 1613, this stands confirmed in the (ecclesiastical) marriage records.
William Bradford, Englishman, fustian weaver, dwelling in Leiden, and Dorothy May, maiden from England, dwelling on the New Dyke.
Joris Joris                                                                             J. G. Hoing


He married second, Plymouth 14 August 1623 Alice Carpenter Southworth, daughter of Alexander Carpenter and widow of Edward Southworth. She was born about 1590, and died at Plymouth,26 March 1670. She survived her husband by thirteen years, and herself left a will.


Children by William and First Wife Dorothy May


John, born abt. 1617, m. by 1650 Martha Bourne, dau. of Thomas Bourne who outlived him and she married second, Thomas Tracy.


Children by William and 2nd wife Alice


William, born Plymouth 17 June, 1624. (He and Mercy were both included in the 1627 Division of Cattle) m. 1st, Alice Richards, 2nd ____,_____, and 3rd, Mary (Wood) Holmes, dau. of John Wood, and widow of John Holmes. 


Mercy, b. by 1627, m. Plymouth 21 December 1648 Benjamin Vermayes. “Mr Beniamin Vermayes maried unto MiS Mercy Bradford the one and twentyeth of December.” [Plymouth Colony Vital Records, P. 5]


Joseph, b. abt 1630 (not included in the Division of Cattle) m. Hingham 25 May 1664 Jael Hobart, daughter of Reverend Peter Hobart.  He died 10 July 1715  [MD 5:217+] [MD 16:85 citing PCR]  His will and the attending disagreement over same makes for interesting reading.  


[MD 5:223] The said Judge Declared that he Could not approve nor allow the said Writing to be the Will of the said deceased Mr Joseph Bradford And his Reasons are as follows viz


1 because it was Evident by the Testimoney of Mr Ephraim Little that the said Mr Joseph Bradford was deceived in a former will written by the said David Hobart brother to the said Jael And the said Mrs Bradford Promoting it & declaring it to be her husbands Will . when (as he after said) it was not his Will.


2 That by this Will or writing the on half of Mr Joseph Bradfords lands will Probably fall to the Hobarts therfore the said David Hobart not so fit for a Witness or Scribe therof.


3 The other two Witnesses Cannot say he was of a disposeing mind & memory when he signed it.


4 By Mr Eliazer Cushmans Testimony (a man also of known Integrity) It is Evedent that Either he the said Mr Joseph Bradford was non Sane Memori or that he was agen deceived in this as in his former Will when he signed it. by his saying he would give all his lands to his son . when but a few hours before he had signed his Will & therin gave half his lands to his wife & her heires & asigns for Ever.

Note That Mrs Jael Bradford nor any in her behalf ever moved to the said Judge any appeal from the aforesd sentence.
Nathaniel Thomas J. Probats