Etched in statue above are words “William Bradford, Governor and Historian of the Plymouth Colony”.
Gov William Bradford ,along with a couple other ancestors, were present at first Thanksgiving, and it gives a more personal perspective to the celebration.
His father died when he was one year old, so he (and his mother?) lived with his grandfather. His grandfather died when he was six, so he (and mother?) lived with various uncles. His mother died when he was eight. By 12 years old, he had been shuffled back and forth, was sickly, and gained a strong focus on theological topics (probably somewhat influenced by not being healthy enough to spend much time on the family’s agricultural tasks, so focus transferred to reading — the Bible). William Bradford’s 1592 edition of the Geneva Bible is currently on display at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth.
William joined with separatist sect at 18 years old, and moved to Holland to escape religious persecution. Married at 24. They left young son while they traveled to the New World, in hopes he could avoid the dangers. About half the Mayflower passengers died that first winter in America, but their son was safe.
Two of my favorite sources for information on William Bradford are Caleb Johnson’s >> http://mayflowerhistory.com/bradford-william/ and Plimoth Plantation >> https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids/homework-help/mayflower-and-mayflower-compact . Caleb mentions “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 Bradford ((William’s wife)) accidentally fell overboard and drowned.” William was 31 years old.
We need to constantly count our blessings, and give THANKS for them. Life is short.
UPDATE 20191211 below from Michael Medved Nov2019:
One of the ways in which the Puritans sought to connect themselves to biblical directives was through the study of Hebrew. The Cambridge-trained historian Nick Bunker notes that William Bradford, the longtime governor of Plymouth Colony, “fell under the influence of Judaism, its rabbis of the Middle Ages, and their manner of interpreting the Bible and the vagaries of human life.” In Making Haste from Babylon (2010), the historian Nick Bunker affirms that “Hebrew possessed a special appeal for Puritans. They wished to swim back up the stream of learning and to absorb the wisdom of the Bible from as close to the source as possible, free from what they saw as Roman Catholic duplicity or errors in translation.”
Bradford struggled to teach himself the language in which “God, and angels, spoke to the holy patriarchs of old time,” as he put it. He used a book he had brought with him in the turbulent voyage across the Atlantic, and, amazingly, his painstaking Hebrew exercises have been preserved for nearly 400 years, scribbled in his own hand on the blank spaces of many pages. Bunker even argues that Bradford and his colleagues based their celebration of the first Thanksgiving on the traditional Judaic practice of Birkat HaGomel: a prayerful expression of gratitude after a perilous journey or other life-threatening experience. The early New England settlers most certainly knew of that ancient formulation, and “A Blessing for Deliverance” would have seemed as natural to them as it is for observant Jews to this day.
above per Michael Medved at https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/i-will-make-of-you-a-great-nation
As most of my friends know, i have been very involved in Family History for many years.
Recent dna matches (in Webster and Buell branches of Family Tree) have led to confirming a further Limb leading to Governor William Bradford, passenger on the Mayflower. His line goes from Leota Spencer (1892-1979) << Charles Spencer (1864-1941) << Webster Spencer (1834-1910) <<Jonathan Spencer(1800-1885) << Cynthia Webster-Spencer (1776-1852) << Deborah Dewey-Webster (1756-1837) << Deborah Buell-Dewey (1738-1813) << Hannah Bradford-Buell (1709-1788) << Joseph Bradford (1675-1747) << Maj William Bradford (1624-1703/04) << Gov William Bradford (1589/90 – 1657).
So compiled an addition for our family’s “Colonists” binder and pdf is included here, with about 21pgs detail. >> Gov William Bradford 20181120h . i will leave pdf file here as long as possible, but when available space becomes an issue i will need to remove it.
Index for Family History >> https://truthfulkindness.com/about/life-other/family-history-index/
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