Descendant Charts from William Bradford (Second Governor of the Plymouth Colony) to MARIAN L. BROWN (SOHN)

Marian Leona Brown is the 11th Descendant of Gov. William Bradford

William Bradford

BAPTIZED:   19 March 1589/90, Austerfield, York, England, son of William and Alice (Hanson) Bradford
DIED:   9 May 1657, Plymouth


John c1618, Leyden, Holland bef. 21 Sept. 1676, Norwich, CT Martha Bourne, bef 1650

William 17 June 1624, Plymouth 20 February 1703/4, Plymouth 1: Alice Richards, aft. 23 April 1650

2: name unknown

3: Mary (Wood) Holmes, c1676

Mercy bef 22 May 1627, Plymouth bef 9 May 1657 Benjamin Vermayes, 21 December 1648, Plymouth
Joseph c1630, Plymouth 10 July 1715, Plymouth Jael Hobart, 25 May 1664, Hingham


(6) Robert? Bradfourth, b. c1435, taxed 1522, d. prob. 1523.

(5) Peter Bradfourth, of Bentley, Arksey, York, England; b. c1460, d. 1542/3; married at least twice, names unknown.

(4) Robert Bradfourth, of Wellingley, Tickhill, York, England; b. c1487; d. 1552 or 1553; m1. (---)(---); m2. Elizabeth (---)

(3) William Bradford, bur. Austerfield, York, England 10 January 1595/6; m. bef. 1552, (---)(----); m2. Margaret Fox, 19 October 1567, Harworth, Nottingham, England.

(2) William Bradford, b. c1560, bur. 15 July 1591, m. Alice Hanson on 21 July 1584, Austerfield, York, England. Alice Hanson, bp. 8 December 1562, m2. Robert Briggs, 23 February 1593. She the daughter of John Hanson and Margaret Gressam.

(1) William Bradford, Mayflower passenger.

Will of William Bradford


The early years of Bradford's life are described by Cotton Mather in his book Magnalia Christi Americana first published in 1702:

Among those Devout People was our William Bradford, who was Born Anno 1588. in an obscure Village call'd Austerfield, where the People were as unacquainted with the Bible, as the Jews do seem to have been with part of it in the Days of Josiah; a most Ignorant and Licentious People, and like unto their Priest. Here, and in some other Places, he had a Comfortable Inheritance left him of his Honest Parents, who died while he was yet a Child, and cast him on the Education, first of his Grand Parents, and then of his Uncles, who devoted him, like his Ancestors, unto the Affairs of Husbandry. Soon and long Sickness kept him, as he would afterwards thankfully say, from the Vanities of Youth, and made him the fitter for what he was afterwards to undergo. When he was about a Dozen Years Old, the Reading of the Scriptures began to cause great Impressions upon him; and those Impressions were much assisted and improved, when he came to enjoy Mr. Richard Clifton's Illuminating Ministry, not far from his Abode; he was then also further befriended, by being brought into the Company and Fellowship of such as were then called Professors; though the Young Man that brought him into it, did after become a Prophane and Wicked Apostate. Nor could the Wrath of his Uncles, nor the Scoff of his Neighbours now turn'd upon him, as one of the Puritans, divert him from his Pious Inclinations.

. . . Having with a great Company of Christians Hired a Ship to Transport them for Holland, the Master perfidiously betrayed them into the Hands of those Persecutors; who Rifled and Ransack'd their Goods, and clapp'd their Persons into Prison at Boston, where they lay for a Month together. But Mr. Bradford being a Young Man of about Eighteen, was dismissed sooner than the rest, so that within a while he had Opportunity with some others to get over to Zealand, through Perils both by Land and Sea not inconsiderable; where he was not long Ashore ere a Viper seized on his Hand, that is, an Officer, who carried him Unto the Magistrates, unto whom an envious Passenger had accused him as having fled out of England. When the Magistrates understood the True Cause of his coming thither, they were well satisfied with him; and so he repaired joyfully unto his Brethren at Amsterdam, where the Difficulties to which he afterwards stooped in Learning and Serving of a Frenchman at the Working of Silks, were abundantly Compensated by the Delight wherewith he sat under the Shadow of our Lord in his purely dispensed Ordinances. At the end of Two Years, he did, being of Age to do it, convert his Estate in England into Money; but Setting up for himself, he found some of his Designs by the Providence of God frowned upon, which he judged a Correction bestowed by God upon him for certain Decays of Internal Piety, whereinto he had fallen; the Consumption of his Estate he thought came to prevent a Consumption in his Virtue. But after he had resided in Holland about half a Score Years, he was one of those who bore a part in that Hazardous and Generous Enterprize of removing into New England, with part of the English Church at Leyden, where at their first Landing, his dearest Consort accidentally falling Overboard, was drowned in the Harbour; and the rest of his Days were spent in the Services, and the Temptations, of that American Wilderness.

William Bradford came on the Mayflower with his wife Dorothy (May), leaving son John behind in Holland.  Dorothy fell off the Mayflower and drowned on 7 December 1620, when it was anchored in Provincetown Harbor.  

This was an accidental drowning.  The story of the suicide, affair with Captain Chrostopher Jones, etc. comes from a fictional "soap opera" story published in a national women's magazine in 1869--a story published as truth by the author, based on "family stories", but which the author later admitted was an invention of her own imagination.  For further information on this, see Mayflower Descendant 29:97-102 , and especially 31:105.  

After the death of John Carver in April 1621, Bradford was elected governor of the Plymouth Colony, and continued in that capacity nearly all his life. In 1623 he married Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, widow of Edward Southworth.  A description of the marriage is found in a letter written by a visitor to Plymouth Colony, Emmanuel Altham, in 1623:

Upon the occasion of the Governor's marriage, since I came, Massasoit was sent for to the wedding, where came with him his wife, the queen, although he hath five wives.  With him came four other kings and about six score men with their bows and arrows--where, when they came to our town, we saluted them with the shooting off of many muskets and training our men.  And so all the bows and arrows was brought into the Governor's house, and he brought the Governor three or four bucks and a turkey.  And so we had very good pastime in seeing them dance, which is in such manner, with such a noise that you would wonder. . . . And now to say somewhat of the great cheer we had at the Governor's marriage.  We had about twelve pasty venisons, besides others, pieces of roasted venison and other such good cheer in such quantity that I could wish you some of our share.  For here we have the best grapes that ever you say--and the biggest, and divers sorts of plums and nuts which our business will not suffer us to look for.

William Bradford died in 1657, having been governor of the Plymouth Colony for almost the entire period since 1621.  Cotton Mather in his Magnalia Christi Americana wrote that William Bradford:

. . . 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 also well skill'd 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 wrote 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.  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.

William Bradford wrote Of Plymouth Plantation, chronicling the history of the Plymouth Colony, and the events that led up to their leaving England for Holland, and later to New England.  William Bradford also wrote part of Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and he recorded some of the important letters he wrote and received in a letterbook which still partially exists.  Nathaniel Morton's 1669 book, New England's Memorial also records a poem written by William Bradford on his deathbed.  There are also two elegy poems written in 1657 after Bradford's death--the first elegy poem is anonymous, and the second elegy poem was written by Josias Winslow.

The Pilgrim Hall Museum has in its collection William Bradford's armchair, and his Bible.


1.  Mayflower Families in Progress: William Bradford for Four Generations, by Robert S. Wakefield, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 4th edition 1994.

2.  Mourt's Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, by William Bradford and Edward Winslow, first published London 1622.

3.  Of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford, written c1630-c1654.

4.  New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 83:456-461, 84:5-11 (English ancestry of William Bradford)

5.  Three Visitors to Early Plymouth, Sydney V. James editor, Plimoth Plantation 1963 (Emmanuel Altham's letter)

6.  Mayflower Descendant 29:114-121 (Partial reprint of Magnalia Christi Americana).

Mayflower Web Pages.  Caleb Johnson © 1997

Will of William Bradford

The last Will and Testament Nunckupative of Mr William Bradford senir: Deceased May the Ninth 1657 and exhibited to the court held att Plymouth June 3d 1657

Mr William Bradford senir: being weake in body but in prfect memory haveing Defered the forming of his Will in hopes of haveing the healp of Mr Thomas Prence therin; feeling himselfe very weake and drawing on to the conclusion of his mortall life spake as followeth; I could have Desired abler then myselfe in the Desposing of that I have; how my estate is none knowes better then youerselfe, said hee to Lieftenant Southworth; I have Desposed to John and William alreddy theire proportions of land which they are possessed of;

My Will is that my son Josepth bee made in some sort equall to his brethern out of my estate;

My further Will is that my Deare & loveing wife Allice Bradford shalbee the sole Exequitrix of my estate; and for her future maintainance my Will is that my Stocke in the Kennebecke Trad be reserved for her Comfortable Subsistence as farr as it will extend and soe further in any such way as may bee Judged best for her;

I further request and appoint my welbeloved Christian ffrinds Mr Thomas Prence Captaine Thomas Willett and Lieftenant Thomas Southworth to be the Suppervissors for the Desposing of my estate according to the prmises Confiding much in theire faithfulnes

I comend unto youer Wisdome and Descretions some smale bookes written by my owne hand to bee Improved as you shall see meet; In speciall I Comend to you a little booke with a blacke cover wherin there is a word to Plymouth a word to Boston and a word to New England with sundry usefull verses;

These pticulars were expressed by the said William Bradford Govr the 9th of May 1657 in the prsence of us Thomas Cushman Thomas Southworth Nathaniell Morton; whoe were Deposed before the court held att Plymouth the 3d of June 1657 to the truth of the abovesaid Will that it is the last Will and Testament of the abovesaid Mr William Bradford senir.

Mayflower Web Pages.  Caleb Johnson © 1997

William Bradford and Mary (Atwood) Holmes

Maj. William Bradford, the son of William Bradford and Alice (Carpenter) Southworth, was born on Thursday, 17 June 1624 o.s. in Plymouth, New Plymouth Colony. He died at the age of 79 on Sunday, 20 February 1704 o.s.. He was buried in Burial Hill cemetery, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

William Bradford (aged about 52) married Mary (Atwood) Holmes in 1677 in Plymouth, New Plymouth Colony.

Mary (Atwood) Holmes was the daughter of John Wood alias Atwood and Sarah Masterson.

Their children were:

Research Notes:

According to Ruth Gardiner Hall, Mary was the widow of Rev. John Holmes, the son

of John Holmes.

IGI lists William and Alice m. 28 Jan 1650, Apr 1650, and 1652. Torrey lists

23 Apr 1650.

Torrey lists William Bradford (1624-1704) and Alice Richards (1627-1721)

There are LOTS of marriage records for William Bradford c. 1680

        William Bradford m. Mary Fitch          1673    Plymouth        IGI

        William Bradford m. Mary Holmes         1677    Plymouth        IGI

        William Bradford m. Rebecca Bartlett    1679    Plymouth        IGI

        William Bradford m. Mary (Atwood) Holmes        Duxbury         Torrey

                                                after 24 Dec 1675

Ephraim Bradford is listed in IGI as the son of William Bradford & Mary Atwood

b. 1685 in Kingston (Plymouth), MA  IGI also lists William Bradford and Rebecca

Bartlett as having a son William born 1681 in Plymouth

IGI lists Mary Atwood, Mary Abbott, Patience Faunce and Patience Aaron all as

marrying John Holmes in Nov/Dec 1661 in Plymouth.

TO DO: Look up Israel in "Descendants of Gov. Bradford".