Bradford, William

Bradford, William (1755-1795) William Bradford was born on September 14, 1755, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the College of New Jersey (now called Princeton) in 1772, he studied law with Edward Shippen. As a young man, he wrote poetry, some of which was published in the "Philadelphia Magazine." In the midst of his legal studies, Bradford fought in the Revolutionary War. He served as a major of brigade to General Roberdeau, and later was in command of a company in Colonel Hampton's regiment of regular troops. After this, he was appointed deputy muster master-general, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and served for two years before his heath required him to resign. He returned to his studies, and was admitted to the bar in 1779. In 1780, he was appointed Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Four years later, he got married. A judge of the state Supreme Court in 1791, he served until 1792, when President Washington appointed him US Attorney General. In 1793, Bradford published an essay entitled, "An Inquiry How Far the Punishment of Death is Necessary in Pennsylvania." This essay, prepared at the request of Governor Mifflin, helped influence the reform of the state penal code, which in turn influenced other states' laws. Bradford held the office of US Attorney General until his death on August 23, 1795.