The first settler was John Hosmer in 1765. Originally called Waits Town or Waits River Town after Joseph Wait, it was changed to Mooretown. In 1788, the name was changed by the Vermont General Assembly to Bradford.
Although the chief occupation of the town was farming, mills developed at falls on the Waits River. On October 10, 1848, the Connecticut & Passumpsic Rivers Railroad formally opened to Bradford. By 1859, when the town’s population was 1,723, industries included a foundry and machine shop, two gristmills, three sawmills, a paper mill and whetstone factory. Bradford also manufactured farm implements, wooden ware and tinware. Today, many commute to outside jobs, but there is still a pull for the entrepreneur, small business owner, agricultural, and artisans to continue to embrace the freedom and independence we are built on over 250 years. The internet opens up opportunities to pursue this lifestyle.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 29.9 square miles (77.4 km2), of which 29.8 square miles (77.2 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.2 km2) (0.20%) is water. The Waits River flows through Bradford to its confluence with the Connecticut River, which forms the eastern boundary of the town. The town is crossed by Interstate 91, U.S. Route 5, Vermont Route 25, and Vermont Route 25B. It is bordered by the towns of Newbury to the north, West Fairlee and Fairlee to the south, and Corinth to the west. Piermont, New Hampshire lies across the Connecticut River to the east.