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One of the heroes of American history and the story of the survival of the English colonists at Plymouth in the mid 17th century is a man named Squanto. His given name was Tisquantum, but he came to be known as Squanto. He was a native American interpreter and guide for early English colonists. While little is known about his early life, some scholars believe that he was taken from home to England in 1605 by George Weymouth and returned to his native homeland with explorer John Smith in 1614–15. His almost decade long residence in London coincides with when Shakespeare was writing plays about shipwrecked colonists encountering native tribes on mysterious far away islands. Our friends, and previous guests to the show for Thanksgiving last year (see that episode here) are father and son history team, David and Aaron Bradford.

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DAVID BRADFORD 

David is a 13th generation direct descendant of Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford and a life member with the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Delaware where he currently serves as Governor. Since 2013 in conjunction with American Liberty Tours of West Chester, PA, David has been portraying William Bradford and sharing Bradford’s account of Pilgrim history with senior centers, schools, and historical societies in DE and PA. 

For the past 25 years, Aaron shared a love for history from the Era of Jamestown through the American Civil War at historic sites, educational venues, and in historical films. He is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association of Interpretation, Interpretive Supervisor with Coastal Heritage Society, interpretive ranger at Colonial Wormsloe, and offers engaging tours and educational programs as Liberty Encounters in Savannah, Georgia, and beyond.

Beginning in 1990, David was founder of a quality management and behavior-based safety training and consulting firm before becoming the Quality & Safety Manager for the prime contractor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Over the years David has held leadership positions with various Quality, Safety, Home School and Historical organizations and for over 25 years has served as an Elder in the Bible Fellowship Church of Newark.

AARON BRADFORD

Aaron discovered a passion for history as a young child when he learned that he is a direct 14th generation descendant of Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford.  For the past 25 years, Aaron shared a love for history from the Era of Jamestown through the American Civil War at historic sites, educational venues, and in historical films.  After earning a B.A. in History Education from the University of Delaware, Aaron served as an educator and historical interpreter at Pamplin Historical Park near Petersburg, Virginia.  He served as the Education Chair and is the Social Media Assistant for the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of Delaware.  He is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association of Interpretation, Interpretive Supervisor with Coastal Heritage Society, interpretive ranger at Colonial Wormsloe, and offers engaging tours and educational programs as Liberty Encounters in Savannah, Georgia, and beyond.

David and Aaron Bradford are a father and son team. They are 13th and 14th generation descendants respectively of the Plymouth Colony governor William Bradford. They are the historians behind the forthcoming 1620 Experience.

Help the 1620 Experience come to life! Donate to their crowdfunding campaign here.
Support the 1620 Experience at the Moviebank.tv website.

I’ll be asking David and Aaron Bradford about:

  • Who was George Weymouth and why was Squanto on the ship with him going back to Europe?
  • Was Squanto living in London when Shakespeare was there?
  • What do we know about Squanto’s interaction with the Pilgrims when they arrived in Plymouth in 1620?
  • …and more!

Resources You Can Use to Learn More:

William Bradford’s “Of Plymouth Plantation”

Aaron’s Desert island Book: Pilgrim’s Progress



How It Works: This post contains bonus content related to the history we’re talking about on the show including paintings, diagrams, woodcuts, and more. Sign up on this page using the Patreon sign up buttons (or login with those same buttons if you’re already a Patron) and the bonus content will immediately expand right here on this page. (and you’ll unlock all the other episodes, too!)

Here’s What Is Inside This Week’s Detailed Show Notes:

  • Map of Native Groups in Southern New England for 1620-1622
  • 1625 Map of New England from Cape Cod to Newfoundland
  • John Fiske’s Map of Southern New England in the 17th Century
  • John Smith’s voyage diagram, 1614
  • Illustration of Samoset meeting the Pilgrims
  • Illustration of Squanto
  • Diagram of Squanto’s Travels
  • Diagram of Native Tribal Territories in Southern New England for 1600
  • Early 17th century map of Plymouth Harbor, showing native dwellings
  • New England’s Prospect, 1534
  • 1572 Map of Malaga, Spain where Squanto was kept as a slave
  • 17thC drawing of Algonquin women
  • Engraving of a Pequot fort, 17thC, similar to what Pilgrims found
Sign up now for just $5/mo (or login here) and all the bonus content will immediately expand right on this page. (You will also get access to all our other patrons-only content, too!)

Spice up your Thanksgiving table with a splash of Shakespeare.

Subscribe to download this turkey print, just in time to enjoy it for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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And remember: In order to really know William Shakespeare, you have to go behind the curtain, and into That Shakespeare Life.