***9/27/2010*** I have since learned that the Webb connection through Samuel Webb and Hannah Ripley is NOT CORRECT. So... while it's still fun to learn about William Bradford, I am not actually connected to him. Ho hum. (the joys of research!)
William BRADFORD, Mayflower
From Mayflower History:
William Bradford was born 1590 in the small farming community of Austerfield, Yorkshire. His father WIlliam died when young Bradford was just a year old. He lived with his grandfather, William until his grandfather died when he was six. His mother Alice then died when he was seven. Orphaned both from parents and grandparents, he and older sister Alice were raised by their uncle Robert Bradford.
William was a sickly boy and by the age of 12 had taken to reading the Bible, and as he began to come of age, he became acquainted with the ministry of Richard Clyfton and John Smith, around which the Separatist churches of the region would eventually form about 1606. His family was not supportive of his moves, and by 1607 the Church of England were applying pressure to extinguish these religious sects. Bradford, at the age of 18, joined with the group fo Separatists that fled from England in fear of persecution, arriving in Amsterdam in 1608. A year later, he migrated with the rest of the church to the town of Leiden, Holland, where they remained for eleven years.
Bradford returned to Amsterdam temporarily in 1613, to marry his 16yr old bride, Dorothy May.
In Leiden, Bradford took up the trade of a silk weaver to make ends meet, and was also able to recover some of the estate in England that he had been left by his father, to support himself and his new wife in Leiden. They had a son, John, born about 1615/1617.
By 1620, when a segment of the church had decided to set off for America on the MAYFLOWER, Bradford (now 30) sold off his house in Leiden and he and his wife, Dorothy, joined; however, they left young son John behind, presumably so he would not have to endure the hardships of colony-building. While the MAYFLOWER was anchored off Provincetown Harbor at the tip of Cape Cod, and while many of the Pilgrim men were out exploring and looking for a place to settle, Dorothy accidentally fell overboard and drowned.
John Carver was elected governor of Plymouth and remained governor until his death a year later in April 1621.
Bradford was then elected governor and was re-elected nearly every year thereafter. In 1623, he married to the widowed Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, and had a married feast very reminiscent of the "First" Thanksgiving, with Massasoit and a large number of Indians joining, and bringing turkeys and deer. Bradford was the head of the government of Plymouth, oversaw the courts, the colony's finances, corresponded with investors and neighbors, formulated policy with regards to the foreigners, Indians, and law, and so had a very active role in running of the entire Colony. With his second wife, he had three more children, all of which survived to adulthood and married. Beginning in 1630, he started writing a history of the Plymouth Colony, which is now published under the title of "Of Plymouth Plantation". A number of his letters, poems, conferences, and other writings have survived.
William Bradford was generally sick all winter of 1656-1657; on May 8, Bradford predicted to his friends and family that he would die, and he did the next day, 9 May 1657, at the age of 68.
My connection to William BRADFORD:
William Bradford, 1590-1657
Alice Carpenter, 1590-1670
Maj. William Bradford, 1624-1703/1704
Alice Richards, 1627-1671
Hannah Bradford, 1662-1738
Joshua Ripley, 1658-1739
Hannah Bradford Ripley, 1685-1751
Samuel Webb, 1690-1779
Samuel Webb, abt 1720/1721 - 1801
Deborah Davison, abt 1717-1803
Col. James Webb, abt 1758-1825
Nancy Cony/Conney, died 1809
James Webb Jr., 1795-1833
Sophia Bell, 1797-1840
Rev. James Barney Webb, 1823-1901
Margaret Ann Laughinghouse, 1823-1880
George Bell Webb, 1855-1914
Agnes Pittman, 1856-1883
Eva Bell Webb, 1882-1966
Charles Ernest Loops, 1875-?