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The History:

William Bradford started us on this amazing journey and his son, Major John Bradford continued. At that time, the central part of the present town of Kingston belonged largely to Major John Bradford. In order to form a town, he gave the precinct fourteen acres in 1717. This land was to used for a training green, a burial ground and a meetinghouse (church) which is now the First Parish Unitarian Church  all located on Main Street and the corner of Green Street.  In1726, the north precinct, after having been a part of the Town of Plymouth for 106 years, acquired its independence and became the town of Kingston. Major John Bradford founded the Town of Kingston naming it in honor of King George the 2nd.

The Society:


The Jones River Village Club began during the early twentieth-century conservation movement.  Local resident, Miss Helen Holmes responded to a survey requested by President Theodore Roosevelt to document the natural resources in each state and territory.  It was from Miss Holmes' involvement with the survey that a local interest developed in the conservation of the town of Kingston and it's historic properties.  The Jones River Village Club, named for the Jones River which flows through the Town, was the result.   

The Club initially was composed of men and women who “were interested in preserving and developing our natural wealth.”  Lectures, demonstrations, and exhibitions showcasing the educational and historical aspects of the Town were part of the outreach provided by the Club.  Social events such as picnics and clam bakes were also popular programs sponsored by the Club.  The Club was a very active part of the Town, with   the motto of ‘getting things done’ and improving the aspects of the community for its residents.  The Club grew steadily, but disbanded in 1913 after the formation and development of the Kingston Grange.

In 1921, as activities surrounding the Plymouth Tercentenary developed, the Club was revived and a constitution was created.  It was also in 1921 that Club members moved to purchase the Major John Bradford House and establish it as a headquarters of the Club. 

Over the years, the Club established itself as an independent Society (known as the Jones River Village Historical Society) and continues to be active in the preservation of the Major John Bradford House and the newly rebuilt 1798  English threshing barn.  The Society continues to pursue goals relevant to its mission of collecting, preserving, and educating the public about the history of the Town of Kingston.

    Major John Bradford

    Birth: Feb. 20, 1653
    Plymouth County
    Massachusetts, USA

    Death: Dec. 8, 1736
    Plymouth County
    Massachusetts, USA









A BIOGRAPHY OF MAJ. JOHN BRADFORD, by Larry Overmire (8th great grandson), Aug. 2008:

John Bradford was born Feb. 20, 1651/52 in Plymouth, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, the eldest of ten children of Maj. William Bradford and his wife Alice Richards. He was the grandson of Gov. William Bradford of the Mayflower.

John married Mercy Warren on Jan. 6, 1673/74 in Plymouth. She was the daughter of Joseph and Priscilla (Faunce) Warren, and the granddaughter of Richard Warren of the Mayflower. John and Mercy shared common ancestors in Alexander Carpenter and Priscilla Dillon, who were the father and mother-in-law of Gov. William Bradford.

John and Mercy had seven children: John (1675-1724), Alice (1677-1746), Abigail (1679-1697), Mercy (1681-1738), Samuel (1683-1740), Priscilla (1686-1732), William (1688-1728).

John inherited Gov. William Bradford's precious manuscript, "Of Plimouth Plantation," one of the most important documents of early American history. He passed it down to his son Samuel. At some point, the work was loaned to Rev. Thomas Prince who was using it as a reference for his own book that he was writing. He kept it in his library in Boston's Old South Church. The British, who occupied the Old South Church during the Revolution, then got hold of it. Later it turned up in the Bishop of London's palace and was only returned to the state of Massachusetts, after some negotiation, in 1897.

Major Bradford was prominent in civic affairs. He was not only a military leader, but served as representative to the First General Court at Boston and helped to incorporate Plymouth as a separate town.

Maj. Bradford's home in Kingston, built in 1675, is still standing and open to the public today. According to tradition, the Indians attempted to burn John's house during King Philip's War. The Major discovered the fire. He spied an Indian on Abrams Hill waving a blanket and shouting to his fellows, and shot him. But on approach, he could not find the body. After the war, the Indian met Bradford and showed him the scars of his wound.

Maj. John Bradford died on Dec. 8, 1736, in Kingston, at the age of about 84, and was laid to rest in the Old Burying Ground at First Church in Kingston.


Written by Laurence Overmire: 8th Great Grandson of Major John Bradford


Laurence Overmire, genealogist, family historian, and author of :

"One Immigrant's Lagacy: The Overmyer Family in America, 1751-2009" and

"A Revolutionary American Family: The McDonalds of Somerset County, New Jersey" and



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