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William Bradford, born November 4, 1729, in Plympton, Massachusetts, was a student of both law and medicine. After practicing medicine in Warren, Rhode Island, Bradford was admitted to the bar in 1767 and established his legal practice in Bristol, Rhode Island.
From 1764 to 1765 Bradford was a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, and served as speaker. He continued his career in that state, serving on the Rhode Island Committee of Correspondence in 1773, and acting as deputy governor of Rhode Island from 1775 to 1778.
Bradford was elected senator from Rhode Island in 1793, serving in the U.S. Senate until 1797, and acting as president pro tem in that same year.
He died July 6, 1808, in Bristol.
William Bradford was born September 14, 1755, in Philadelphia. He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1772 and a master of arts degree in 1775.
Before beginning his legal career Bradford served in the Revolutionary War from 1776 to 1779, fought in numerous battles, including Valley Forge, and emerged with the rank of colonel in the Continental army. After his tour of duty, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and established a legal practice in Yorktown, Pennsylvania.
Bradford served as Pennsylvania attorney general for an eleven-year period, from 1780 to 1791. He entered the judiciary in the latter year and presided as judge of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for three years.
In 1794 Bradford was selected by President George Washington to serve as U.S. Attorney General for one year, the second man to hold this post. He died August 23, 1795, and was buried in Burlington, New Jersey.