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William Bradford (Rhode Island)

William Bradford
United States Senator
from Rhode Island
In office
March 4, 1793 – October 1797
Preceded by Joseph Stanton, Jr.
Succeeded by Ray Greene
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
In office
July 6, 1797 – October 1797
President John Adams
Preceded by William Bingham
Succeeded by Jacob Read
44th Deputy Governor of Rhode Island
In office
November 7, 1775 – May 4, 1778
Governor Nicholas Cooke
Preceded by Nicholas Cooke
Succeeded by Jabez Bowen
Personal details
Born November 4, 1729 (1729-11-04)
Plympton, Massachusetts
Died July 6, 1808(1808-07-06) (aged 78)
Bristol, Rhode Island
Resting place Juniper Hill Cemetery, Bristol, Rhode Island
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Mary LeBaron Bradford
Children Nancy Ann Bradford DeWolf

William Bradford (November 4, 1729 – July 6, 1808) was a physician, lawyer, and politician, serving as United States Senator from Rhode Island and deputy governor of the state.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career and revolution 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and education

William Bradford was born at Plympton, Massachusetts to Lt. Samuel Bradford and Sarah Gray.[1] He was a great-great-grandson of the William Bradford who had been Governor of the Plymouth Colony. The younger man first studied medicine at Hingham, Massachusetts and then practiced at Warren, Rhode Island.

Career and revolution

Bradford moved to Mount Hope Farm in Bristol, Rhode Island, where he was elected to the colonial assembly in 1761. (He was elected to additional terms at various times up until 1803, and served as Speaker of the Assembly in several terms.) He expanded his abilities with the study of law, was admitted to the bar in 1767, and established a practice at Bristol. He served as deputy to the Governor from 1775 to 1778. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776, but did not attend.

Bradford served on the Committee of Safety of Bristol County, Rhode Island and from 1773 to 1776 on the Committee of Correspondence for the Rhode Island colony. When the British Navy bombarded Bristol on October 7, 1775, his home was among the buildings destroyed. He afterward went aboard ship to negotiate a cease fire.

After the United States government was established, Bradford was elected to the United States Senate, taking office on March 4, 1793. He was the President pro tempore of the Senate from July 6, 1797 until he resigned from the Senate in October of that year. He returned to his home in Bristol and died there in 1808. Originally buried in Bristol's East Burying Ground, his grave was later moved to the Juniper Hill Cemetery.

Personal life

He married and had a family, including daughter Nancy Ann Bradford. In 1790, she married James DeWolf of Bristol, who was a successful slave trader and belonged to a large and influential family that also went into banking and insurance. He was elected to the US Senate in the 1820s.[1][2] They were the great-great-grandparents of artist and publisher Charles Dana Gibson.


  1. ^ a b "RootsWeb".  
  2. ^ Paul Davis (2006-03-17). "Living Off the Trade: Bristol and the DeWolfs". 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Nicholas Cooke
Deputy Governor of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Jabez Bowen
Preceded by
William Bingham
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
July 6, 1797 – October 1797
Succeeded by
Jacob Read
United States Senate
Preceded by
Joseph Stanton, Jr.
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Rhode Island
Served alongside: Theodore Foster
Succeeded by
Ray Greene

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