Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pilgrim William Bradford

Continuing my posts on how my great grandfather Cone was related to four of those hardy souls who made the 1620 trip on the Mayflower. Today I'm focusing on his relationship with William Bradford one of the most interesting Pilgrims and perhaps the person who first identified their group as such. Below is his relationship with William Bradford:

Frederick Naaman CONE son of
William Warner and Eliza (UTLEY) CONE
William Warner CONE, son of Naaman and Joanna (WARNER) CONE
Joanna WARNER, daughter of Thomas and Rhoda (HOPKINS) WARNER
Thomas WARNER, son of Eleazar and Joanna (HALE) WARNER
Eleazar WARNER, son of Thomas and Delight (METCALF) WARNER
Delight METCALF, daughter of Rev. Joseph and Abiel (Adams) METCALF
Abiel ADAMS, daughter of William and Alice (BRADFORD) ADAMS
Alice BRADFORD, daughter of William and Alice (RICHARDS) BRADFORD
William "The Pilgrim" Bradford

More about William Bradford...

William was born in the Yorkshire English village of Austerfield, the son of William and Alice (HANSON) Bradford. He was baptized in Austerfield March 19, 1589/90. Orphaned very young, he was raised first by his grandfather then shuttled back and forth between a number of uncles. He was about 12 years old when he began attending Separatist services in Scrooby. It was against the wishes of his family that he joined that church when he was 16 becoming close with the family of fellow church member William Brewster.

When James I became King of England he tried to put an end to separatist church movements and imprisoned many of the Scrooby congregation. In 1607, the congregation voted to leave England for the Netherlands where freedom of religion was permitted. Immigration without permission from the Crown was banned. None the less, members of the Congregation singly and in small groups made their escape to Holland. Beginning in Amsterdam, and eventually settling in Leiden.

Bradford arrived in Amsterdam in August 1608, and lived with the Brewster family until he was able to claim his family inheritance when he turned twenty-one in 1611. Those funds allowed him to purchase his own home, to practice the trade of weaving and most importantly marry Dorothy May. Their son John Bradford was born in Leiden in 1617.

The story of the Congregation's decision to leave Leiden for the New World is well known. The 100 foot ship Mayflower with a crew of no more than 40 and 102 passengers must have been dreadfully crowded. The three month voyage probably seemed an unending night mare. They had planned to arrive in Virginia and ended up instead far to the north. Harsh weather prevented them from trying to continue south after their arrival in what would become Massachusetts. It was William Bradford who was responsible for applying the term "Pilgrim" to their party. He wrote in his journal;

     "With mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves of one another; which
     proved to be the last leave to many of them... but they knew they were pilgrims and 
     looked not much on those things, but lifted their eyes to heaven, their dearest country
     and quieted their spirits."

During the first harsh winter in Plymouth nearly half of the settlers died. Many do not remember that the first deaths happened before the group had even decided on the location for their settlement. Dorothy (May) Bradford slipped and fell over the side of the Mayflower and drowned in frigid Cape Cod Harbor while William was ashore with the exploration party. It must have been a bitter sweet debarkation for him after that.

William Bradford went on to become Governor of the Plymouth Colony. He was remarried to Alice Carpenter Southworth and had three children including our ancestor William Bradford. Much of what we know about the Plymouth colony comes from William. His Of Plymouth Plantation, a history of the colony from 1621 to 1646 and his Journal were published. The Pilgrim Hall Museum website  has a wonderful article on William Bradford including passages from his journal.The museum also contains a chair attributed to William Bradford that descended through the Bradford and Hedge families.
Among the legion of William Bradford's descendants celebrating Thanksgiving 2013        
                                                      Ed and 10th great grand daughter Cecily (Cone) Kelly with                                                 grandchildren Cooper and Cassidy (12th generation descendants)

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