Of Plymouth Plantation | Study Guide

William Bradford

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Of Plymouth Plantation | Key Figures

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Key Figure Description
William Bradford William Bradford was the governor of Plymouth Colony for most of its early history. His chronicles, known as Of Plymouth Plantation, tell of the struggles he and his fellow colonists faced in establishing a home on the American continent. Read More
William Brewster William Brewster was the de facto spiritual leader of Plymouth Colony and a coauthor of the Mayflower Compact. In the absence of an ordained minister, Brewster led the congregation in prayer, fasting, and other devotions. Read More
Myles Standish Captain Myles Standish was the military leader of the Plymouth Colony. He is mentioned favorably throughout Of Plymouth Plantation and was given considerable leeway to manage the colony's security and defense. Read More
Squanto Squanto, or Tisquantum, was a Pawtuxet Native American who helped the Plymouth colonists survive during the difficult early years of their venture. He helped arrange peace between the colony and neighboring tribes and taught the colonists how to farm maize. Read More
John Carver John Carver was the first governor of Plymouth Colony. Bradford succeeded Carver upon his death in 1621. Read More
Isaac Allerton The son-in-law of William Brewster, Isaac Allerton was Plymouth Colony's agent in England for many years, though his tendency to make unauthorized deals and purchases likely weakened the colony's finances. His relationship to Brewster may have led Bradford and others to treat him with more than usual deference. Read More
Thomas Andrews Thomas Andrews was a London-based "adventurer" (investor) in Plymouth Colony.
Edward Ashley Edward Ashley was a young Englishman hired to oversee a trading house at Penobscot (present-day Maine). The colonists seized him and returned him to England after he was caught trading firearms to the Native Americans.
John Beauchamp John Beauchamp was a London-based "adventurer" (investor) in Plymouth Colony.
Charles Chauncey Charles Chauncey was a minister in Plymouth Colony. His irreconcilable differences of opinion with his congregation led him to leave in 1641.
Thomas Cromwell A ship captain, Thomas Cromwell came ashore with a group of hard-drinking sailors. Attempting to break up a fight, Cromwell accidentally killed one of his men but was acquitted of any crime.
Robert Cushman One of the members of the Leyden congregation, Robert Cushman was sent to arrange transportation and funding with the London investors. Bradford complains repeatedly of Cushman's tendency to overstep his bounds in making agreements on the congregation's behalf.
Thomas Dermer Thomas Dermer, 17th-century navigator and explorer, is the source for the brief biography of Squanto that Bradford includes in Book 2, A.D. 1620.
John Endecott John Endecott was one of the leaders, and at times the governor, of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. His correspondence with Bradford appears in Of Plymouth Plantation, Book 2.
Sir Christopher Gardiner Accused of immoral behavior while at Massachusetts Bay Colony, Sir Christopher Gardiner arrived at Plymouth Colony shortly before being arrested and sent back to England.
John Hocking John Hocking was a colonist who tried to set up his own trading post. In an ensuing boundary dispute, he shot another colonist and in turn was shot and killed.
Thomas Hunt Thomas Hunt was an English explorer and trader who in 1614 captured Squanto and sold him into slavery in Spain.
William Laud Known for zealous persecution of Puritans, Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud was tried and executed for treason in 1645. Bradford mentions his active persecution of Edward Winslow.
John Lyford A minister sent to the Plymouth congregation in 1624, John Lyford created dissent among the colonists and was ultimately banished as a troublemaker.
English adventurers The English adventurers were a group of English investors with whom the Pilgrims signed a contract agreeing to work for seven years in exchange for ships and supplies for their journey to the New World.
Miantinomo Miantinomo (also spelled Miantonomoh) was a Narragansett chief who fought alongside the colonists in the Pequot War of 1636–38. He was later captured by Uncas and, with the approval of the English colonial authorities, executed.
John Oldham An early Plymouth colonist, John Oldham did not follow Bradford's religious views. Banished from Plymouth for sedition, or resistance to lawful authority, he remained in New England until his death in 1636.
John Pierce John Pierce was an English investor who, according to letters, attempted to claim lordship over New England and all the surrounding territory.
John Robinson John Robinson was a Separatist leader who served as the pastor to the congregation at Leyden. Unable to join the first Mayflower voyage, he hoped to travel to Plymouth at a later date but died in 1625.
James Sherley An English "adventurer" who invested in Plymouth Colony, James Sherley was the youngest of the London-based investors. He remained financially involved in the colony until the 1640s, when the colony's debts were finally resolved.
Uncas Uncas was a leader of the Mohegan tribe (Bradford writes "Monhigg") and a military ally of the English colonists. The New England Confederation supported him in a 1643 conflict against the Narragansetts.
Thomas Weston London-based iron merchant and early financial backer of Plymouth Colony, Thomas Weston was dissatisfied with the management of Plymouth. He attempted to found a rival colony.
Roger Williams Roger Williams was an English colonist who briefly lived in Plymouth but whose religious views challenged those of the Puritan majority. After leaving Plymouth, he settled in Massachusetts Bay Colony for a short time before going on to found Rhode Island.
Edward Winslow One of the leaders of the Mayflower Separatists, Edward Winslow served eight terms as governor of Plymouth Colony and was often elected as assistant governor under Bradford. Bradford's writing refers to Mourt's Relation, Winslow's account of events at Plymouth Colony during its first year.
John Winthrop The founding governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop was a frequent correspondent of William Bradford.
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