Wednesday, November 24, 2010

William Bradford

Things have been a bit out of control here as we try to remodel the kitchen and host Thanksgiving but the oven and stove top were finally installed yesterday so it looks like I'm cooking tomorrow so.... I'll come back to William Brewster's story but I wanted you to know about our other Pilgrim ancestor William Bradford.

William was born in Austerfield, York, England in 1589/90 he was orphaned early and was shuttled between relatives for years. About the time he was 12, he visited the nearby town of Scrooby where he attended a church service (perhaps hosted by William Brewster at Scrooby Manor) and was won over by the simplicity of the service and the congregation's passion for reform. At that time, much of the profit from the land in England was paid to the church leaving the population largely destitute.

He wrote about the Separatist's beliefs in his journal. "One the one side (The Separatists) laboured to have ye right worship of God & discipline of Christ established in ye church, according to ye simplicite of ye gospell, without the mixture of mens inventions, and to have & to be ruled by ye laws of Gods word, dispensed in those offices, & by those officers of Pastors, Teachers, & Elders, &c. according to ye Scripturs. The other partie (the Church of England), though under many colours & pretences, endevored to have ye episcopall courts, cannons, & ceremonies, togeather with all such livings, revenues, & subordinate officers, with other such means as formerly upheld their antichristian greatnes, and enabled them with lordly & tyranous power to persecute ye poore servants of God." (from Pilgrim Hall Museum's website).

He was virtually adopted by William Brewster around 1602. He is variously described as a silk worker and a fustian (a coarse cloth made of cotton and flax somewhat like twill). He lived in Amsterdam from 1607-1609, then moved to Leyden.

Bradford was about 30 years old, married with a young son and very much involved, when the congregation decided to leave Leyden for an area north of the Virginia Colony. He and his wife Dorothy decided to leave their four year old son behind with their pastor in Leyden.

Much of what we know about the Pilgrims today comes from the journals and papers that Bradford kept. He was involved with the many of the administrative responsibilities of the group and the correspondence between them and their financial backers as they prepared to sail to America.

Have to continue the story tomorrow, time to get Colby and Chris from the airport.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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