PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903          P.  1276

GEORGE LESTER BRADFORD, a blacksmith in the Society of Westminster, town of Canterbury, Windham county, descends from one of the town's first families, who have long been identified with the community. The family have lived almost entirely in the northern part of the town, and the school district of that section has the name of Bradford District.

(I) William Bradford, of Austerfield, Yorkshire, England, was baptized March 19, 1589, son of William and Alice (Hanson) Bradford. In 1609 he went to Holland, and was at Leyden in 1612. He married there Nov. 15, 1613, Dorothea May, from Wisebeach, Cambridge, England. After a residence in Holland of a half score of years, Mr. Bradford and his wife came to New England in the "Mayflower," leaving behind an only child, John. Mrs. Bradford fell overboard and was drowned in Cape Cod Harbor, Dec. 7, 1620. Mr. Bradford married (second) Aug. 14, 1623 (the fourth marriage solemnized in the colony), Mrs. Alice Southworth, daughter of Alexander Carpenter. Mr. Bradford became one of the foremost men in the Plymouth Colony. He was governor of the colony from 1621 to 1657, the year in which he died (May 9), excepting five years during which he declined the honor. His widow survived until April 5, 1670.

(II) Major Wm. Bradford, son of Gov. William, born in 1624, in Plymouth, married (first) about 1651-52, Alice, born in 1627, daughter of Thomas and Wealthea Richards, of Weymouth, who died Dec. 12, 1671; he married (second) the widow of Pastor Wiswell, and probably a daughter of Thomas Fitch of Norwalk, and (third) Mary, widow of John Holmes, of Duxbury, and daughter of John Wood, alias Atwood. Major Bradford was one of the most important men of the colony. He was deputy from Plymouth, 1656-57, and from 1658 for twenty-four years was assistant deputy; and for the remaining ten years of the colony's existence filled the new office of Deputy Governor, save three years. He was colonial commissioner for twelve years, and was judge of probate from 1695 to 1702 or longer. He was commander-in chief of the Plymouth forces in King Philip's war, and was wounded in the Narragansett fight. He died March 1, 1704.

(III) Thomas Bradford, son of Major William, born in 1657, received from his father lands in Norwich, Conn. He married, it is said, Ann Smith, daughter of Nehemiah and Anna (Bourn) Smith, and (second), Pricilla, daughter of Major John Mason, and he died in 1708.

(IV) James Bradford, son of Thomas, was born in Norwich, Conn., in 1684, and died in 1762. He married (first) Edith, who died in 1724. He married (second) Dec. 7, 1724, Susanna Adams, a daughter of Samuel Adams, and she died March 27, 1762. In 1720-21 James Bradford purchased 300 acres of land of Edward Raynsford, and eighteen acres of Harvey Adams, in Canterbury, Conn., and was first of the name to locate in that town. James Bradford was the father of the following children: Thomas, born Nov. 14, 1712, who married Eunice Adams; John, Jan. 30, 1715; Jerusha, June 27, 1716, who married Jonathan Pellitt; William, July 1, 1718; Sarah, Aug. 27, 1720, who married Joseph Adams. By his second wife: Anna, baptized in 1726, who married Eleazer Cleveland; Mary, baptized in 1729, who married Joseph Woodward; and James, baptized in 1733.

(V) William Bradford, son of James, married (first) in 1741 Zeriah Lathrop. In 1743 he married (second) Mary Cleveland, daughter of Josiah. She was born June 29, 1720, and died Aug. 6, 1765. He married third, Martha Warren; and fourth Mrs. Stedman.

(VI) John Bradford, son of William, was born July 27, 1750, and died Oct. 9, 1827. On April 22, 1773, he married Elizabeth Bond, who died March 18, 1822. He married (second) Jan. 15, 1823, Hannah Lyon. His children were: Jonas, born March 1, 1774, who died Sept. 28, 1775; Ebenezer, March 10, 1775, who died May 31, 1776; Alice B., March 8, 1777, who married James Adams, Jr., and died April 25, 1812; Lydia, April 9, 1779, who married Rinalds Burleigh, and died Jan. 25, 1853; Moses, June 11, 1781, who graduated from Yale, and died May 23, 1803; William, Sept. 28, 1783, who married (first) Mehitable Parish, and (second) Zeriah Parish; and Luther.

(VII) Luther Bradford, the grandfather of George L. Bradford, was born July 17, 1786, and Feb. 11, 1821, married Clarissa Fuller. He died Feb. 5, 1858, and his wife died June 1, 1861, aged seventy-one years. Their children were: John, mentioned below; Abigail, born Oct. 10, 1825, who married Abel Weeks, of Canterbury, and died Nov. 16, 1856; Giles, born June 14, 1828, living retired at Marion, Linn Co., Iowa. Luther Bradford grew to manhood and passed his entire life successfully engaged in farming. In politics he was a Whig, and he took an active interest in matters of a political nature. Both he and his wife were members of the Westminster Congregational Church, the latter first joining the church in her native home, Hampton, where she lived until her marriage.

(VIII) John Bradford, son of Luther, was born Dec. 15, 1823. He was married April 24, 1850, to Rebecca Jane Congdon, who was born Feb. 7, 1825, a daughter of Thomas T. Congdon and Mary Segur, his wife. Thomas T. Congdon was born in Charleston, R.I., July 1, 1791, and died in Hampton, Conn., May 30, 1848. His wife, Mary Segur, whom he married Nov. 22, 1821, was born in South Kingstown, R.I., May 13, 1792, and died Oct. 30, 1880, the mother of two children: Mary Ann, born March 30, 1823, who died April 18, 1900; Rebecca Jane, Mrs. Bradford. To John and Rebecca (Congdon) Bradford were born children as follows: Thomas C., March 28, 1851, who lives in Putnam, Conn., married Martha Spalding, and has three children, Howard C., Marjory Cross and Ralph Spalding; William Henry, Aug. 2, 1853, who lives on the homestead; Mary Ellen, Sept. 3, 1855, who married Winslow B. Gallup, and lives in Chaplin, Conn.; John Clayton, July 5, 1858, who died June 28, 1872; Charles Clitus, Sept. 30, 1861, who has been an invalid for the past twenty years; George Lester, Aug. 5, 1865. John Bradford, the father, received his education in the local schools of the Bradford District, and in Plainfield Academy. He grew up on the place usually called the Bradford homestead and in time purchased of his father a farm of 140 acres. This he added to until at the time of his death he had some 200 acres. In early life he had learned the carpenter's trade, and the farming, which he counted on quite largely, was left to his sons, after they became old enough to assist, and he devoted most of his time to his trade. In politics he was a Republican, and held various town offices.

(IX) George Lester Bradford was born on the home place, Aug. 5, 1865, and attended the Bradford district school, later spending one year at the Natchaug, at Willimantic, Conn. He assisted his father at the carpenter's trade and became familiar with that and then learned the blacksmith's trade. In 1885, in company with his father, he built a shop on property purchased of Charles Bass, and located one mile north of Westminster Church on the Brooklyn road. In connection with the blacksmithing he now carries on a farm of 200 acres, and keeps a dairy of some fifteen cows.

Politically Mr. Bradford is a Republican, and he has served as second selectman one year, also as justice of the peace, and grand juror. In 1895 he represented the town in the State Legislature, and served on the committee on Constitutional Amendments.

On Jan. 1, 1890, Mr. Bradford was united in marriage with Nella Francis Babcock, of Plainfield, Conn. Their home has been blessed with three children: Alice Nella, born Oct. 3, 1892; John William, born Aug. 16, 1895; and Cecil Babcock, born July 19, 1897. The family attend the Westminster Congregational Church, and are highly esteemed in the community that has so long known them.

Reproduced by:

Linda D. Pingel


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