Dorothy May Bradford was born 19 March 1596 in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom to John Henry May (1575-1617) and Cordelia Bowes (1567-1627) and died 16 December 1620 Cape Cod Harbor, Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States of drowning. She married William Bradford (1590-1657) 18 November 1613 in Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands.


In 1613, William Bradford (1590-1657) married Dorothy May (1590-1620), the daughter of a rich English couple living in Amsterdam. In 1617, the Bradfords had their first child, John Bradford.

William Bradford married Dorothy in Amsterdam, Holland on December 10, 1613. They had one son. Dorothy fell from the deck of the Mayflower into the water and drowned a short time after the ship landed. Her husband was on an exploring mission. John was born in Leiden, Holland and died in 1620.

On December 7, 1620, before the colony was established, Bradford's wife died. Dorothy Bradford died while the Mayflower was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor. However, there are no contemporary accounts of the circumstances of her death, only a later mention of drowning by Cotton Mather in Magnalia Christi Americana. Bradford included only brief mention of her passing in his own writing.

She was one of four Mayflower passengers who died between December 4/14 and 8/18, 1620, including Edward Thomson, Jasper More (age 7 years), and James Chilton. William Butten, who was the first to die, did so on November 16. They are all commemorated on two cenotaphs in Provincetown - one at Winthrop Street Cemetery and one at the Mayflower Passengers Who Died At Sea Memorial. Their burial places ashore are unknown and may have been unmarked in those very early days after the Mayflower landing. The death of these five persons was just a precursor of the deaths to come, consuming about half the Mayflower company in that first bitter winter of 1620-1621.[53]

  1. John Bradford (1617-) - left behind in Holland he came to Plymouth sometime later.


Offspring of Gov. William Bradford and Dorothy May (1590-1620)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Bradford (1615-1678) 1618 Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands 21 September 1676 Norwich, New London County, Connecticut, United States Martha Bourne (1614-)




Footnotes (including sources)