William Bradford and Adoption

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"Embarkation of the Pilgrims," by Robert Walter Weir. William Bradford is depicted at center, kneeling in the background, symbolically behind Gov. John Carver (holding hat) whom Bradford would succeed.



English-Dutch-American religious and political leader

Bradford was born into a well-off family in Yorkshire, but his father died in 1591. His mother remarried in 1593 and William was then raised by his grandfather and uncles as a farmer. While still a youth and against family opposition he joined the non-conformist puritan cause in Scrooby led by William Brewster (one source states that Brewster was his adoptive father). The congregation emigrated to the Low Countries to escape persecution and eventually sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Bradford was one of the leaders of the colony from the start, elected governor in 1621 and re-elected 30 times until he retired in 1645.


Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 Dictionary of American Biography