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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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William Bradford, Soldier

BRADFORD, William printer and soldier of the revolution, born in New York in 1719; died in Philadelphia, 25 September, 1791, was a grandson of William Bradford, and became a partner of his uncle Andrew; but a love-affair of the younger Bradford led to a breach of this relation. In 1741 he went to England, and the next year he returned to Philadelphia with printing material and a library, and on 2 December, 1742, issued the first number of the "Pennsylvania Journal." In 1754 he established the London coffeehouse in Philadelphia; and in 1762, in association with Mr. Rydd, he opened a marine-insurance office. He was a spirited writer, and in his journal assailed the pretensions of the British government, and inveighed against the stamp act. When the revolutionary war began he joined the Pennsylvania militia. As a major, and afterward a colonel, he fought in the battles of Trenton and Princeton, being wounded in the latter action, and was at Fort Mifflin when it was bombarded by the British fleet on 16 November, 1777. After the withdrawal of the British troops from Philadelphia he returned from the army, broken down in health and ruined in purse. His son, Thomas, continued the publication of the "Pennsylvania Journal," which was transformed into the "True American" in 1801.

--Thomas Bradford, printer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4 May, 1745; died there, 7 May, 1838, was a son of Colonel William, and, after leaving the College of Philadelphia, entered his father's printing-office, and became his partner and associate editor of the "Pennsylvania Journal," which he transformed into the "True American" in 1801. It was printed in the same building occupied by his great-uncle, Andrew, at No. 8 Front street. In 1775 he became captain of a military company in Philadelphia, and later was commissary-general of the Pennsylvania division of the continental army. After the establishment of the federal government he became printer to congress. He was one of the founders of the philosophical society. His son, Thomas, was a philanthropic lawyer of Philadelphia, born in that City, 11 September, 1781; died there, 25 October, 1851.

--William Bradford, jurist, another son of Col. William, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 14 September, 1755; died 23 August, 1795. He was graduated at Princeton in 1772, studied law with Edward Shippen, and was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in 1779. His legal studies were interrupted by the events of the revolution. When the Philadelphia militia was called out and formed a flying camp, he served as major of brigade to General Roberdeau, and after his term expired accepted the command of a company in Col. Hampton's regiment of regular troops. Soon afterward he was given the place of deputy muster master-general, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, in which capacity he served for two years, until failing health impelled him to resign his commission and return home. In 1780 he was appointed attorney general of Pennsylvania. He married in 1784 a daughter of Elias Boudinot, of New Jersey. When the judiciary was reorganized under the new constitution of Pennsylvania, he was appointed, on 22 August. 1791, a judge of the Supreme Court. On 8 January, 1794, he succeeded Edmund Randolph as attorney general of the United States by the appointment of President Washington, which office he held until his death. In early life he wrote pastoral poems in imitation of Shenstone, which were published in the "Philadelphia Magazine." In 1793 he published "An Inquiry how far the Punishment of Death is Necessary in Pennsylvania," an essay in the form of a report for the use of the legislature, prepared at the request of Governor Mifflin, which brought about a mitigation of the penal laws of Pennsylvania, a reform that was followed by other states.

--BEGIN-William Bradford, Physician

BRADFORD, William, physician, born in Plympton, Massachusetts, 4 November, 1729; died in Bristol, Rhode Island, 6 July, 1808. He was a descendant of Governor Bradford, studied medicine and practiced in Warren, Rhode Island, removed to Bristol, where he built a fine residence, and there studied and practiced law, attaining a high rank in the profession. He was a member of the Rhode Island committee of correspondence in 1773, was chosen deputy governor of Rhode Island the same year, and was elected a delegate from Rhode Island to the continental congress, but never took his seat. When Captain Wallace bombarded Bristol on 7 October, 1775, in revenge for the removal of the cattle, Governor Bradford went on board "The Rose," and treated with the British commander for the cessation of the cannonade. His own house, among others, was ignited by the fire of the enemy and destroyed. In 1793 he was elected United States senator from Rhode Island. On 6 July, 1797, he was chosen president of the senate pro tempore, and later in that year he resigned his seat.

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