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.