GOVERNOR WILLIAM1 BRADFORD [son of William and Alice (Hanson) Bradford], was born in Austerfield, England, and was baptized in St. Helen's Church, Austerfield, on March 19, 1589. He married (first), in England, Dorothy May.
He inherited a yoeman's [sic] freehold.
He joined the Separatist Church, established in 1606, by William Brewster at Scrooby Manor, and by so doing incurred the ill feeling and hostility of his relatives and neighbors. The company emigrated to Holland and made an agreement with a Dutch captain to embark at Boston, England, but the skipper betrayed them to the authorities, and some were imprisoned, others released.
A few months later Bradford escaped from prison, and early in 1608 joined his friends in Holland.
On Sept. 5, 1620, William Bradford and his wife left their only child John in England, and with one hundred Pilgrims, sailed for America in the historic ship "Mayflower." The voyage was a long and tedious one. Before reaching their final destination they cast anchor in Provincetown harbor, where, prior to the land, the famous "Compact" was drawn up in the cabin of the "Mayflower," the name of William Bradford appearing as the second signer.
On Dec. 7, 1620, while the "Mayflower" lay in Cape Cod harbor, and before a permanent place of settlement had been decided upon, Dorothy (May) Bradford, homesick, weary, and mourning for her child, fell overboard, finding a watery grave.
December 21, 1620, they landed at Plymouth.
When John Carver, the first Governor of Plymouth Colony died, in April, 1621, William Bradford was chosen as his successor, holding this office until January 1, 1633. He was afterwards Governor from March 3, 1635, to January, 1636; January 3, 1637, to January, 1638; March 5, 1639, to June, 1644; June 4, 1645, to June, 1657. He was Governor's Assistant in 1634, 1635, 1637, 1638 and 1644.
On August 24, 1623, Governor Bradford married (second), in Plymouth, Mass., Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, the daughter of Alexander Carpenter and widow of Edward Southworth. She came to America in the "Ann" in 1623.
Governor Bradford's name has come prominently before us recently, through the restoration to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, of his "History of Plimoth Plantation." This historic volume covers the history of the Pilgrim movement in England, Holland and America from 1606 to 1646. It was first printed in the Massachusetts Historical Society's Collections in 1856. In 1896 a fac-simile of the original manuscipt was made and published in Long. In 1898 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts printed the history, together with the proceedings incident to the return of the manuscript.
In 1897, through the efforts of Ambassador Bayard, Governor Wolcott and Senator Hoar, and the courtesy of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, the long long manuscript history was delivered to Ambassador Bayard, who brought it back to America. May 26, 1897, appropriate exercises were held in the State House. Addresses were made and the volume was placed in the State Library of Massachusetts.
The value of this volume may be appreciated from the fact that it is enclosed in a glass case, which at night is kept in a safe especially constructed for the purpose.
Governor Bradford's other writings are "A Letter Book, and Mourt's Relation." The latter is a daily journal covering the period November 20, 1620, to the re-election of Governor Carver April 2, 1621.
Governor Bradford died in Plymouth, Mass., May 19, 1657, aged 67 years. His widow died in Plymouth April 5, 1670, aged 80 years.
Cotton Mather says of Governor Bradford:
"He was a person for study as well as action, and hence notwithstanding the difficulties through which he passed in his youth, he attained unto a notable skill in languages. The Dutch tongue was become almost as vernacular to him as the English; the French tongue he could also manage; the Latin and the Greek he had mastered; but the Hebrew he most of all studied, because, he said, he would see with his own eyes the ancient oracles of God in their native beauty. He was well skilled in history, in antiquity, and in philosophy; and for theology, he became so versed in it that he was an irrefragable disputant against the errors, especially those of Anabaptism, which with trouble he saw rising in his Colony; wherefore he wrought some significant things for the confutation of those errors. But the crown of all was his holy, prayerful, watchful, and fruitful walk with God, wherein he was very exemplary."
"Through long years he sowed the seed of liberality, and his is the glory, though in his old age he left others to tend the crop. He was the man of a thousand--yea, of many thousands--for the especial place which called him to its service. Wonderful indeed was it that a single shipload of yeomen and artisans, cast up like waifs on the shore of an unknown wilderness, should have had not only a Carver, Brewster, and Fuller, but also such a greater trio as Winslow, Standish, and Bradford.
"Since the earliest thought of emigration from Leyden, as in the hegira from England, Bradford has been among the foremost. In all the early periods and labors of the settlement, he stood side by side with Carver, Standish and Winslow. In bodily labors he wrought beside the strongest; in action he was of the bravest; and in council he led the wisest. From that sad day when the handful of convalescents fired their matchlocks over the grave of Carver, to that which, more than a third of a century later, saw his own departure, he had gone before the foremost, and stood without a peer. Many pages might well be filled with his eulogy, but the subject may be most fitly left with his own words upon Elder Brewster: 'I should say something of his life, if to say a little were not worse than to be silent.'"
2. William2, born June 17, 1624; m. Alice2 Richards.Governor Bradford's grave on Burial Hill, Plymouth, is marked by a neat monument, inscribed:
3. Mercy, born in 1627.
4. Joseph, born in 1630.
UNDER THIS STONE
REST THE ASHES OF
A ZEALOUS PURITAN &
GOV. OF PLY. COL. FROM
APRIL 1621 TO 1657
(THE YEAR HE DIED
AGED 69) EXCEPT 5 YEARS
WHICH HE DECLINED.
QUA PATRES DIFFICILLIME
ADEPTI SUNT NOLITE
ENGLAND WAS THE
SON OF WILLIAM
AND ALICE BRADFORD
HE WAS GOVERNOR OF
1621 TO 1633
1639 TO 1643
1645 TO 1657
 Massachusetts Historical Society's Collection, 1st series, (1794), Vol. 3
 Young, Alexander, Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers. Boston (1841), pages 109 to 268.
 Authority: Coodwin, John A.: The Pilgrim Republic (1893), pp. 457-459.
SOURCE: The Tucker Genealogy, A Record of Gilbert Ruggles and Evelina Christina (Snyder) Tucker; by Tyler Seymour Morris; Chicago 1902; pp. 137-147