Posted by: Ron DuBour | October 24, 2014

American Heroes~William Bradford (1589-1657)~by rldubour


Friday!!! time to look into another American Hero, today we go back ( way back) to when America is first be settled,

 

William Bradford (1589-1657)

Born on March twenty-ninth

Fifteen hundred and ninety.

At an early age attracted

To the church and showed contrariety.

 

When James I began to persecute

Separatists in sixteen and nine.

Bradford fled to the Netherlands

With the congregation at that time.

 

With social pressure increasing

With their leader John Robinson.

Ideas of sailing to America

Supporting talks had begun.

 

William and his wife Dorothy

In sixteen-twenty sailed from Leiden.

Aboard the ship the Mayflower

Thoughts of new land would be their Eden.

 

While moored in Provincetown Harbor

Dorothy had passed away.

It is said she was stricken with sadness

In Leiden their son was made to stay.

 

Half the colonist perished

The first winter in their new colony.

Along with their leader John Carver

As recorded in Plymouth history.

 

Bradford appointed Governor

The FIRST in America.

For thirty years he governed

For their freedom he over saw.

 

Married Alice his second wife

In July of sixteen-twenty-three.

She brought his son John from Leiden

Together they had William, Joseph and Mercy.

 

William Bradford died at Plymouth

May ninth in sixteen-fifty-seven.

Now interred at Plymouth Burial Hill

For the colonist he was their brethren.

 

Governor William Bradford

Is credited to first proclaim.

One of our greatest holidays

Thanksgiving Day by name.

 

AUTHOR NOTES: He was the son of William Bradford and was born on March 29, 1590 A.D. near Doncaster, in Austerfield, Yorkshire. At an early age, he was attracted to the “primitive” congregational church, in nearby Scrooby, and became a committed member of what was termed a “Separatist” church, since the church-members had wanted to separate from the Church of England. By contrast, the Puritans wanted to purify the Church of England. The Separatists instead felt the Church was beyond redemption due to unbiblical doctrines and teachings. When James I began to persecute Separatists in 1609, Bradford fled to the Netherlands, along with many members of the congregation. These Separatists went first to Amsterdam before settling at Leiden. Bradford married his first wife, Dorothy May (1597 – December 7, 1620), on December 10, 1613 in Amsterdam. While at Leiden, he supported himself as a fustian weaver. Shifting alignments of the European powers (due to religious differences, struggles over the monarchies and intrigues within the ruling Habsburg clan) caused the Dutch government to fear war with Catholic Spain, and to become allied with James I of England. Social pressure (and even attacks) on the separatists increased in the Netherlands. Their congregation’s leader, John Robinson, supported the emerging idea of starting a colony. Bradford was in the midst of this venture from the beginning. The separatists wanted to remain Englishmen (although living in the Netherlands), yet wanted to get far enough away from the Church of England and the government to have some chance of living in peace. Arrangements were made, and William with his wife sailed for America in 1620 from Leiden aboard the Mayflower. On December 7, 1620, before the colony was established, Bradford’s wife died. Dorothy Bradford died while the Mayflower was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. However, there are no contemporary accounts of the circumstances of her death, only a later mention of drowning by Cotton Mather in Magnalia Christi Americana. Bradford included only brief mention of her passing in his own writing. There is a widely circulated story that she committed suicide because the Mayflower was a moored ship, but this is derived from a work of historical fiction published in the June, 1869 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. This claims that they had decided to leave their young son in the Netherlands, and his wife was so stricken with sadness that she took her own life. Regardless of this fictional treatment, there is no proof of suicide. The first winter in the new colony was a terrible experience. Half the colonists perished, including the colony’s leader, John Carver. Bradford was selected as his replacement in the spring of 1621. From this point, his story is inextricably linked with the history of the Plymouth Colony. William Bradford’s second wife came to Plymouth aboard the Anne in July 1623, her two sons following after 1627 and married Governor Bradford on August 14, 1623 at Plymouth. They had three children, William, Mercy, and Joseph. Alice also helped to raise John, the son of his first marriage. William Bradford died at Plymouth, and was interred at Plymouth Burial Hill. Some historians feel that Bradford’s greatest achievement was in abandoning the system of communal agriculture initially practiced in the colony and introducing a system of privatized production, with land allotted to each family. These historians contend that the colonists produced more by farming for themselves, rather than for the community. William Bradford (March 19, 1590 – May 9, 1657) was a leader of the separatist settlers of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, and was elected thirty times to be the Governor after John Carver died. He was the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor. He also wrote another one after the first one had been destroyed. His journal (1620–47), published as Of Plymouth Plantation. Bradford is credited as the first to proclaim what popular American culture now views as the first Thanksgiving.


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