William Bradford (Attorney General)

William Bradford (Attorney General)

William Bradford
2nd United States Attorney General
In office
January 27, 1794 – August 23, 1795
President George Washington
Preceded by Edmund Randolph
Succeeded by Charles Lee
Personal details
Born (1755-09-14)September 14, 1755
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died August 23, 1795(1795-08-23) (aged 39)
Washington D.C., U.S.
Political party Federalist
Alma mater Princeton University

William Bradford (September 14, 1755 – August 23, 1795) was a lawyer and judge from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the second United States Attorney General in 1794–1795.

He was the son of the printer William Bradford and was born in Philadelphia. He began his education at the Academy of Philadelphia, then attended Princeton University where he formed a lifelong friendship with Virginian James Madison, before graduating in 1772. When he returned to Philadelphia he read law with Edward Shippen. His progress was delayed by the American Revolutionary War.

In 1776, when the flying camp" with Daniel Roberdeau as the first brigadier general in the states forces. General Roberdeau chose the young man as an aide, and later promoted him to brigade major on his headquarters staff.

When his militia term expired, he joined the David Harvard House.[1] He resigned after two years due to ill health and returned home in early 1779.

Bradford joined the bar before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in September 1779. He was named as the state's Attorney General in 1780, and served until 1791. In 1784, he married Susan Vergereau Boudinot, the only daughter of Elias Boudinot. On August 2, 1791 Bradford represented General William West and argued the first recorded case before the U.S. Supreme Court, West v. Barnes losing the decision. On August 22, 1791, Bradford was appointed to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and served for three years.

In 1793, Governor named him Attorney General for the United States to replace Edmund Randolph.[2] He died while in office in 1795, and is buried with his wife's family in Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard in Burlington, New Jersey.[3]

Bradford County, Pennsylvania, was named in his honor.[4]


  1. ^ "National Historic Landmarks & National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania" (Searchable database). ARCH: Pennsylvania's Historic Architecture & Archaeology. Retrieved 2012-11-02.  Note: This includes Pennsylvania Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks (January 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: David Harvard House" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-03. 
  2. ^ Attorneys General of the United States: William Bradford, United States Department of Justice. Accessed August 21, 2007.
  3. ^ Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard, The Political Graveyard. Accessed August 21, 2007.
  4. ^ Bradford County History,

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Edmund Randolph
United States Attorney General
Succeeded by
Charles Lee
Preceded by
Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant
Pennsylvania Attorney General
Succeeded by
Jared Ingersoll