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William Bradford Biography


(1590-1657) American writer. William Bradford was born in 1590 in Yorkshire, but he would become one of the most famous writers and leaders in American history, famous for the Mayflower Compact and History of Plimoth Plantation, (sic) which wasn't published in full until 1856. Read more about the life and works of William Bradford.

William Bradford Birth:

William Bradford was born on March 19, 1590, a farming community of Austerfield, England. His father was William Bradford, and his mother was Alice (Hansen) Bradford. Early on, he became an orphan.

William Bradford Death:

William Bradford died on May 9, 1657 in Plymouth.

William Bradford Marriage:

William Bradford married Dorthy May on December 10, 1613 while they were in Amsterdam, Holland. Dorthy gave birth to one child, John, in 1618. The family then voyaged on "The Mayflower" to Plymouth in 1620, and Dorthy died.

Bradford married Alice Carpenter Southworth, the widow of Edward Southworth, on August 14, 1623.

William Bradford Achievements:

William Bradford became the governor of Plymouth after the first governor died in 1621. His writings were based on his experiences as a member (and leader) of the colony. He wrote about their tragedies, and triumphs, as they "lifted up their eyes to the heavens."

William Bradford Quotes:

"And for the season, it was winter; and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent, and subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search an unknown coast. Besides what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men? And what multitudes there might be of them, they knew not."

More William Bradford Quotes:

"Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element... But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people's present condition; and so I think will the reader too when he well consider the same."

William Bradford Brief Biography:

(1590-1657) American writer. William Bradford was born in 1590 in Yorkshire, but he would become one of the most famous writers and leaders in American history, famous for the "Mayflower Compact" and "History of Plimoth Plantation," which wasn't published in full until 1856.

Although Bradford never received formal education, his leadership were exemplary when he took over as governor in 1621, after the first governor died. He held the position for the rest of his life (excluding five years), and his writings about the Plymouth colony, with all of their triumphs and tragedies is dramatic and unforgettable.

Here's a poem by William Bradford:

From my years young in days of youth,
God did make known to me his truth,
And call'd me from my native place
For to enjoy the means of grace.
In wilderness he did me guide,
And in strange lands for me provide.
In fears and wants, though weal and woe,
A pilgrim, past I to and fro:
Oft left of them whom I did trust;
How vain it is to rest on dust!
A man of sorrows I have been,
And many changes I have seen.
Wars, wants, peace, plenty, have I known;
And some advanc'd, others thrown down.
The humble poor, cheeful and glad;
Rich, discontent, sower and sad:
When fears and sorrows have been mixt,
Consolations came betwixt.
Faint not, poor soul, in God still trust,
Fear not the things thou suffer must;
For, whom he loves he doth castise,
And then all tears wipes from their eyes.
Farewell, dear children, whom I love,
Your better Father is above:
When I am gone, he can supply;
To him I leave you when I die.
Fear him in truth, walk in his ways,
And he will bless you all your days.
My days are spent, old age is come,
My strength it fails, my glass near run:
Now I will wait, when work is done,
Until my happy change shall come,
When from my labours I shall rest,
With Christ above for to be blest.

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