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Bliss, John Homer 
Genealogy of the Bliss family, 


Ci 1 


Jffe who is not proud of his ancestors shows , either that he had no ancestors to be proud 
of, or else that he is a degenerate son. GROVESNOR. 







Compiled by JOHN HOMER BLISS, Norwich, Conn. 


Like leaves on trees the race of man is found, 
Now green in youth, now withering on the ground ; 
Another race the following spring supplies; 
They fall successive, and successive rise ; 

So generations in their course decay, 
So nourish these, when those have passed 

Port's Homtr, Book vk. 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by 

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 

Small Edition published by 


Middletown, Conn. 


Copyright by 











" One generation comes, 
Another goes and mingles with the dust ; 
And thus we come and go, 
Each for a brief moment filling up 
Some little space ; and thus we disappear 
In quick succession. And it shall be so 
Till time in one vast perpetuity 
Be swallowed up." 


As the sacred writings have preserved the genealogy of our race 
xiuring a period of nearly two thousand years from creation, and of 
the Jewish nation for an additional two thousand, it follows that a 
desire to know one's origin or lineage is a laudable curiosity ; for that 
which was worthy of Divine record respecting the distant past, is 
worthy of consideration respecting the present. 

In the following compilation there has been little attempted beyond 
a collection of names and dates an occasional reminiscence being 
added and the compiler makes no apology for any errors, either of 
omission or commission, that may appear. In regard to the former 
he would simply say that he could not make records for those whose 
apathy or indifference prevented the furnishing of their family statis- 
tics. Many letters have been written soliciting information of people 
in regard to their families and lineage, which to-day remain un- 
answered ; and those guilty of this neglect have only themselves to 
thank for the omission of their records from this work, which was 
designed to be the compendium of all the family information it might 
be possible to collect. In regard to typographical errors, he would 
only ask the title of any infallible work any book free from mechan- 
ical error. In many instances different dates have been furnished by 
different branches of the same family, in connection with the same 
events, which alone will account for most of the supposed errors. 

Another source of apparent discrepancy is found in the change from 
Old to New Style. Before 1752 the year began March 25th (called 
Lady Day); although in Catholic countries, after 1582, it commenced 
January ist. Hence, between January and March it was common to 
double date. The difference between the Julian and Gregorian year 
in the eighteenth century was eleven days ; after 1800 it was twelve, 
which is to be added to any date in the Old Style to reduce it to the 

Another fruitful source of confusion in this compilation has been 
the transposition of the names Bliss and Blish, many families of the 
latter name evidently preferring the former as perhaps easier of pro- 


nunciation, while a few have considered the name Blish as a corruption 
of Bliss, and have accordingly adopted what they suppose to be the 
original name of their line and family. We have traced the name 
Blish back to Abraham Blish of Barnstable, Mass., 1640, who removed 
to that place from Duxbury, where he was known as Abraham Blush. 
Possibly he may have been a distant relative of the Bliss emigrants of 
1635-6, but nothing of the kind is certainly known. 

We do not guarantee the entire accuracy of the records in the fol- 
lowing pages, but simply give them to the public as they were received 
from the various branches of the family and from numberless public 
records in many different localities. They embody the information 
obtained through many years of research and patient toil and perse- 
verance, and the compilation is as nearly complete as practicable. It 
is hoped that all who notice omissions or errors will immediately 
inform the compiler, so that any subsequent edition may have the 
benefit of such correction. 

Our investigations among English records are too limited to enable 
us to trace any lengthened pedigree of the family previous to the 
arrival in this country of the emigrant ancestors ; and it would be use- 
less to speculate upon the origin of the name. It is supposed the 
family was of Norman descent, and that the name was originally Blois 
(gradually modified to Bloys, Blyse, Blysse, Blisse, and in America to 
Bliss), and that its introduction into England occurred at the time of 
the Norman Conquest (1066), previous to which time hereditary sur- 
names were not assumed in England, and then only gradually and by 
families of rank, so that the pedigree of any family can hardly be 
traced beyond the thirteenth century. Another difficulty arises from 
the loose orthography which obtained up to the time of Elizabeth, and 
even later. At the commencement of the fifteenth century there was 
much confusion in family names, and surnames were not permanently 
settled before the era of the Reformation, 1534, during the reign of 
Henry VIII. 

The name of Bliss is not of frequent occurrence in English history. 
In Wood's "Athense Oxonienses," edited by Rev. Philip Bliss, 
Registrar of Oxford University, England, vol. i, pp. 57, occurs tjie 
earliest notice the compiler has been able to find of the name. It is 
as follows : 

"John Blysse, a learned physician of his time, was born in the 
diocese of Bath and Wells, elected prob. fellow of Merton Coll. 1509, 
being then esteemed an excellent disputant in phylosophy. After- 
wards he proceeded in the Arts, entered on the physic line, went to 


London, and practiced that faculty, and accumulated the degrees in 
phys. an. 1525, and afterwards became one of the Coll. of Physicians. 
He hath written something of his faculty, and hath made certain 
astronomical tables, as it appears from some of the records of Mert. 
Coll., but they have long since been lost among many of the 
lucubrations of some of the fellows of that house that had been much 
conversant in Astronomy. He died in the Blackfryers, in London, 
in the month of April, in 1530, and was buried in the church belong- 
ing to the said fryers there, leaving this character behind him among 
the society of Mert. Coll., where it doth yet stand upon record that 
he was Medicus and Astronomus quam doctus." 

In Hasted's History of Kent, England, vol. 4, pp. 316, one 
"Thomas Bliss, gsq. ," is spoken of as having been several times a 
member of Parliament ; and it is stated that in 1720 he built a work 
house for the benefit of the poor of his parish. 

In vol. i, pp. 401, of the same work we read that the East Green- 
wich Manor and palace built by Charles II, "is at present in the 
possession of the Rev. Mr. Nevil Maskeline, F. R. S., and late Fellow 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, who was appointed Astronomer Royal 
to His Majesty in 1765, on the death of Dr. Nathaniel Bliss." 

A hymn written by the Rev. Philip Doddridge, D. D., beginning 
with "My God, thy service well demands," has, in the original manu- 
script, this note : " Particularly intended for the use of a friend, Miss 
Nancy Bliss, who had been in the extremes! danger by the bursting of 
an artery in her stomach, November 14, 1737." 

The opinion hereinbefore given as to the original name of the 
family, Blois, seems confirmed by a quotation in a folio work by 
John Guillim, printed in London in 1724, entitled "A Display of 
Heraldry," in which, on page 127, we find the following: 

" He beareth sable, a bend vaire, between two fleurs-de-lis or, by 

" name of Bloys. This coat was granted or confirmed to 

" Bloys of Ipswich, in the County of Suffolk, by Sir William Segar. 
" INT. M. S., PETER LE NEVE, Norroy." 

This shield is identical (except in color) with that now claimed and 
used by the American family, and would seem to indicate a residence 
at Ipswich of at least one branch of the family during the reign of 
James I, of England, 1603-25, when Segar, Garter King of Arms, 
compiled a collection of the arms of the kings of England long prior 
to the twelfth century. The facts that two families so widely separated 
are using the same shield, and the Norman name of Blois in its various 


modifications, together with the lilies of France, all seem to indicate 
a common French ancestry, perhaps at or near the time of the Nor- 
man Conquest. 

Sir John Burke's Dictionary of Peerages, p. 74, states that the 
founder of the ancient house of Blois in England is said to have come 
over with William the Conqueror, and that he was called Blois from 
the celebrated city of that name in France (which was formerly the 
abode of the French kings), from whence he perhaps came in 
allusion to which origin, probably, the fleurs-de-lis were introduced 
into the arms of the family, which they still retain. Bloy seems to 
have been a common name in France during the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries, witness Magny's " Noblesse de France," in which 
mention is made of several marriages of persons of that name. 

William, Duke of Normandy, surnamed The Conqueror from his 
triumph over Harold on the i5th of October, 1066, was crowned 
King of England by Aldred, Archbishop of York, at Westminster 
Abbey, on the 26th of December, of the same year. William married 
Maud (or Matilda), daughter of Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, and 
died September 9, 1087. A daughter of this union. Adela, married 
Stephen, Earl of Blois, and had four sons and a daughter. One of 
these sons, Stephen, Jr., succeeded his mother's brother, Henry I, on 
the English throne, in 1135, and was himself succeeded in 1154 by 
Henry II, a grandson of his uncle Henry I, notwithstanding the heir- 
ship of his son, William de Blois, afterwards Earl of Montaigne. 
History fails to state whether this Earl of Blois, who married William's 
daughter, was the one who came over with him in 1066, and we 
incline to the opinion that he was a son of the first comer ; and by 
his marriage into a royal family, it seems probable he was of royal 
blood in the country whence the family came. 

Various other allusions are made in English records to persons of 
the name. In Suffolk County, " Sir Will. Bloys, of Yoxford, was 
knighted at Whitehall, Dec. 9, 1661, and his son Charles was after- 
wards created a baronet." Descendants of this family living (1880) 
at Cockfield Hall, Yoxford, bear the same shield as the American 
family, except that the fleurs-de-lis are of silver. 

Several English works on Heraldry describe the coat of arms of one 
branch of the family lately residing at Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, 
England, thus : " Blisse or Blyse, argent on a bend, cottised, azure, 
three garbs, or. Crest, a garb, or." Several descendants reside in 
New York City and are merchants at 135 Pearl Street. The name of 
this family as recorded in the College of Arms, London, was Blice. 


Numerous other families reside in different counties in England, 
bearing various modifications of the name and arms, as may be 
seen by reference to Burke, Guillim, Berry, and other English writers 
on Heraldry. 

This compilation was commenced about the year 1845, ^7 Judge 
Oliver Bliss Morris, of Springfield, Mass., and continued by Mr. 
Sylvester Bliss, of Boston and Roxbury, Mass., from 1848 until his 
death in 1863, at which time he had the names of 3,100 Blisses born 
in America, most of them in the Springfield line, descendants of 
Thomas and Margaret Bliss, of Hartford, Conn. No successful 
attempt was made by either to learn the names of the family in 
England the point of divergence of the several American branches 
nor was their English residence ascertained; the relationship of the 
first emigrants of bur name was unknown to both, and but little was 
known by them as to the descendants of the first Thomas Bliss, of 
Rehoboth, Mass. The scope of their work seemed to be a record 
only of persons bearing the family name. The present compiler suc- 
ceeded to the work in 1876, and after nearly five years of almost 
incessant labor, has been enabled to present the following volume 
containing all the family statistics received up to the date of 

Many thanks are due the various friends who have in many ways 
assisted in the compilation of this genealogy ; and especially to Mrs. 
Maria S. Bliss, for the records compiled by her husband, the late Mr. 
Sylvester Bliss, of Boston, Mass.; to Mrs. Mary E. (Bliss) West, of 
Pittsfield, Mass., for most of the traditional and historical matter; 
and to Col. John H. Bliss of Erie, Pa., and Henry Bliss, Esq., of 
New Bedford, Mass., through whose valuable assistance our labors 
have been materially lightened. 

It is a matter of great regret that so little can be gleaned from the 
English records relative to the pedigree of the ancient Bliss family. 
The records of the parish whence the emigrants came to America 
extend only to the year 1553, and the Rev. Arthur Whipham, their 
custodian, states that many of the earlier records cannot now be de- 
ciphered, but whether this is owing to illegible penmanship or the 
ravages of time, or both, we are left to surmise. While we regret the 
lack of continuity in their record, we can truthfully say we have come 
from a noble race of pious, worthy and honorable ancestors. Let us 
prove ourselves worthy descendants. 

Norwich, Conn., 1881. 


Coats of Arms were long regarded as " indispensable 
appendages of gentlemen," but on the decline of the 
feudal system, about 1688, and the rise of the Reforma- 
tion, they were treated in a measure as idle trappings of 
aristocracy, and lost the prestige originally attributed to 
them. In America they soon came to be regarded as 
"relics of former family vanity;" and the staunch old 
Puritans would not allow themselves to tolerate even a 
thought that could remind them of the vain-glorious 
display and pomp of their persecutors in England; and so their 
children and descendants born in America grew up in ignorance of 
the heraldic standing of their ancestors in the mother country. 

In Edmondson's Heraldry, and also in Vol. II of "Encyclopedia 
Heraldica," by William Berry, of London, England, we find the fol- 
lowing description of the Coat of Arms of the Bliss family : 
" Gules, a bend vaire, between two fleurs-de-lis, or." 
As to the construction of this shield, it appears that gules (red) is a 
royal color, as Gerard Leigh says, "it hath long been used by em- 
perors and kings for an apparel of majesty, and of judges in their 
judgment seats." Spelman observes that the color red was honored 
by the Romans as it had been before by the Trojans, for they painted 
their gods with vermillion, and clothed their generals who triumphed 
with garments of that hue. This color denotes martial prowess, bold- 
ness, hardihood, valor and magnanimity; it is considered the noblest 
of all colors, and in Heraldry is assimilated to the planet Mars in the 
heavens, to the ruby among stones, and among flowers to the rose. 

The origin of vair (or vaire) is from the fur of a beast called varus, 
[MACKENZIE, p. 23,] whose back is a blue-gray, its belly being white, 
and therefore heralds have expressed it white and blue in colors ; and 
when the head and feet of the animal are taken away, the skin resem- 
bles in figure a little cup or bell. The skins are used alternately blue 
and white, and in ancient times were much in vogue for lining the 
robes and mantles of senators, consuls, kings and emperors, and there- 


*ipon were termed "doublings." The first use of them in Heraldry is 
said to be from LE SEGNEUR DE COUCIE, fighting in Hungary, and 
seeing his army fly, pulled out the doubling or lining of his cloak, 
which was of those colors, and hung it up as an ensign ; whereupon 
the soldiers, knowing his courage and confiding in it, returned to the 
battle and overcame their enemy. [COLOMB., p. 58.] 

The fleur-de-lis has been from the first bearing the charge of a regal 
escutcheon originally borne by the French kings, and was until late in 
the nineteenth century the insignia of royalty in France The lily, 
which of all flowers is most esteemed by the French, has been of old 
and still is represented by a rudely drawn fleur-de-lis. As before 
^stated, it was the heraldic device or emblem of the royal family of 
France, and was so borne from the time of Clovis until the accession 
of Louis Phillippe*; and whether this badge came to our family by 
royal descent or by royal favor, we are unable to judge. 

In English Heraldry different marks of cadence were used to indi- 
cate the various branches or cadets of one family: the oldest son, 
during the lifetime of his father, bore a 'Mabel"; the second son a 
^crescent; the third a mullet ; the fourth a martlet ; the fifth an annu- 
let; and the sixth a fleur-de-lis. Thus it would appear that the 
original grant of arms to a Bliss, by whoever given (if in England), 
was to a sixth son. Some writers have fancied that a significant sym- 
bol might be drawn from the fleur-de-lis as to the flowers of literature 
which younger sons were led to cultivate in the schools to fit them for 
the church, the senate, and the bar; but Newton thinks the adaptation 
was originally intended to be only personal, an accident in arms, 
exhibiting the degree of consanguinity of the bearer to the living head 
of the family. 

Or (gold) " Such is the worthiness of this color that none ought 
to bear the same in arms but emperors and kings, and such as be of 
the blood royal ; and as this metal exceedeth all others in value, purity 
and fineness, so ought the bearer endeavor to surpass all others in 
prowess and vertue." GUILLIM. 

The significance and appropriateness of the crest will be fully under- 
stood after a perusal of the Traditional History of the family. 

The motto, "SEMPER SURSUM," translated, means "ever upward," 
-and signifies that the bearer should always endeavor to excel in his 
undertakings, aiming at goodness rather than greatness, in every deed 
or motive. 


The ancient traditions of the Bliss family represent them as living- 
in the south of England, and belonging to that staunch class known 
as English yoemanry or farmers, though at various times different indi- 
viduals among them had married into the next higher order, that of 
the knights or gentry. They owned the houses and lands they occu- 
pied, were freeholders, and entitled to vote for members of Parliament 
from the borough in which they resided. From time immemorial they 
had been inclined to Puritanism, and detested the loose manners of 
most of the church clergy and laymen, and the Sunday sports in- 
which they indulged. These Sunday merry-makings had been fostered 
by Elizabeth, and her successor, James, had reduced them to a sort 
of system by publishing a book of *' Sports for Sunday," and enjoin- 
ing the practice of them by those of his subjects who had attended 
church in the morning. [See Cassell's Hist. England, vol. 3, pp. 66.] 
These sports consisted of running and leaping, archery, morris dances, 
May-poles, and rush-bearing. Bear-baiting, though prohibited by 
James, was indulged in more or less, and it is said one of the Blisses 
was fatally injured while passing a savage show of this kind on his way 
to worship, one Sunday afternoon. Of course, this made them more 
determined in their opposition to the court religion, and more decided 
in their resolve to enjoy their own views. 

The beginning of the misfortunes of this family in England appears 
to have been in this wise, and brought about by the contentions of 
King Charles I, and his Parliament. Writs were issued by this king, 
January 29th, 1628, for the assembling of the two Houses of Parlia- 
ment. There was great excitement throughout the country, and many 
new men of great wealth and influence were returned. Cassell's 
History, vol. 3, pp. 134, shows the state of the country at this time 
and one of the causes of the court enmity being directed against this 

"A number of foreign troops were about to be brought into the- 
country, and the people saw they might be turned against themselves 
or their representatives. They were therefore worked up to a pitch. 


of extreme excitement, and bestirred themselves to send up to the 
House of Commons a body of such men as should not be readily 
intimidated. Never before had Parliament assembled under such 
favorable circumstances. Daring as had been the king's assaults on 
the public liberties, this had only served to rouse the nation to a 
determined resolve to withstand his contempt of Magna Charta at all 
hazards. Westminster elected one Bradshaw, a brewer, and Maurice, 
a grocer. Huntingdon sent up a far more remarkable man, one 
Oliver Cromwell, a farmer, and this was the first time he was sent to 
Parliament. There was a general enthusiasm to turn out all such 
members as had been inert, indifferent, or ready to betray their trusts 
out of terror, or a leaning to the court. When the members assem- 
bled the House was crowded ; there were four hundred such men as 
had rarely sat in Parliament before. Both county and town had 
-selected such brave, patriotic and substantial freeholders, merchants 
and traders, as made sycophants and time-servers tremble. They were 
no longer the timid commons who had formerly scarcely dared to 
look the lords or even the knights in the face ; they were well aware 
of their power, and in wealth itself they were said to be three times 
superior to the House of Peers. In running his eye over them a 
spectator would see such men as Hampden, Selden, Cromwell, Pym, 
Hollis, Elliot, Dudley, Diggs, Coke, Wentworth (who soon aposta- 
tized), and others, with intellects illumined by the study of the 
orators, lawgivers, and philosophers of republican Greece, animated 
by the great principles of Christianity, and with resolutions like iron. 
Many of these men had been attended to London by trains of their 
neighbors, sturdy freeholders and substantial shopkeepers, more 
numerous than the retinues of any lords, such was the intense expecta- 
tion of what might ensue, and the prompt resolve to stand by their 
representatives. And they were not deceived, for this third Parlia- 
ment of Charles the First made itself a place as one of the great land- 
marks of our history." 

Two of the men who went up to London were the brothers 
Jonathan and Thomas Bliss ; they rode two iron-grey horses, and 
remained sometime in the city, long enough at least for Charles' 
officers and spies to learn their names and condition, and whence 
they came ; and from that time forth they, with others who had 
come up to London on the same errand, were marked for 
destruction. Very soon they were fined a thousand pounds for non- 
-conformity, and thrown into prison where they lay for many weeks. 
Even old Mr. Thomas Bliss, their father, was dragged through the 


streets with the greatest indignity. On another occasion the officers; 
of the High Commission seized all their horses and sheep except one 
poor ewe that in its fright ran into the house and took refuge under a. 
bed. At another time the three brothers, with twelve more, were led 
through the market-place with ropes around their necks, and fined 
heavily, and Jonathan and his father were thrown into prison, where 
the sufferings of the former eventually caused his death. They began 
to think England was no longer a home for them, and they turned 
their eyes towards the far and dreary wilderness of America. 

What appears to be one of the oldest of the family traditions is this L 
One time several hundred years ago, when our oldest grandfathers 
lived in England, there was a war in that country, and one of them 
named Honestus went with a great lord to fight, and at the battle 
many hundreds of men were killed, and the lords fought together with 
horses, and they had swords and spears, and it was a very hard battle,, 
and Honestus' lord was thrown off his horse and wounded very sore ; 
and some of his men with Honestus carried him into a wood out of 
the battle, and Honestus staid by him while the others went to find a 
horse to carry him off the field. Honestus took off his jerkin and put 
it under his lord's head, as he lay wounded on the ground, and his 
lord bade him take up his armor and put it on, and take also his- 
sword, lest some of their enemies should find them and kill them. 
So Honestus did, for he loved his lord; and in a little while he saw 
five men, with "pards" on their breasts, coming along the wood. 
Honestus had his cross-bow and three arrows; they had no guns in 
those days, and Honestus was one of the Duke's cross-bow men. 
The Duke lay on the ground under a great oak tree which hid them 
from their enemies. Honestus took up his bow, and drawing it with 
all his strength up to the barb of the long arrow, stepped out, and un- 
seen, aimed at the pard on the breast of the foremost soldier. Then 
he turned for another arrow, and when he aimed again he saw but 
four men ; and they knew not from whence the arrow sped. He- 
drew his bow and slew the second man, who fell on his face with the 
barb and half the shaft of the arrow sticking out at his back, so great 
was the force with which he sent it. The other three rushed towards 
him, and he took his last arrow and slew the foremost, and then the 
other two ran away, but hearing no more arrows after them they 
turned and came upon him from the other side. Then he took up his 
lord's sword, who said faintly, "Now, God speed thee, Honestus!" 
and he laid at them right hard ; they had short swords, and it was all 
he could do to keep them at bay, as he stood between them and his; 


lord. They fought a long time and Honestus grew weary, for they 
had wounded him ; and when he was ready to faint he saw his master's 
men coming quickly with a horse; this sight gave him renewed 
strength and he smote one of his enemies so fiercely that his head was 
shorn off his shoulders; the other then ran, but the Duke's men caught 
him and slew him. Then they took up their lord and carried him a 
long way till they came to a church where he was safe, and Honestus 
staid by him and helped the religious men to heal him of his deep 
wounds. When his lord was well enough to return to his castle 
Honestus went too, but they found his lands all ravaged, and his 
people driven off, and their cottages were burned, and Honestus' 
cottage was burned, and he could nowhere find his wife and little 
children, and his lord himself had to flee for his life over seas; and 
Honestus, weeping, thought his heart was broken, and he went and 
dwelt in a wood and served God, for he would own no man master 
but his own lord, though his nephew afterwards came and possessed 
the castle, turning out the rightful heirs. 

One night in his hut Honestus heard voices, and thinking someone 
was lost in the wood, he took a brand from his fire and went out to 
see; as soon as he got out he heard a terrible imprecation mingled 
with the screamings of little children ; then he set up a great shout 
and ran towards them, and there on the ground he found two little 
children in their night clothes, and one was covered with blood. He 
took them up and hastened back to his hut, and to his astonishment 
and horror he found they were his own lord's children, whom someone 
had meant to murder, for the boy had just been wounded badly ; but 
Honestus took care of them, and removed deeper into the wood, and 
watched them night and day. The summer passed by and the winter 
came, and Honestus loved the children as much as he did his own,, 
and he looked upon the boy as his own true lord. The next summer 
he began to think he must take the children to some house of religious, 
people where they could be brought up according to their rank ; but 
he did not like to part with them, and the summer passed. One day, 
in the lime of hunting, the door of the hut stood open, and they heard 
the baying of hounds, and a fox ran all panting into the hut, and took 
refuge under the children's bed. Honestus shut up the door, for no- 
creature appealed to his protection in vain. In a few moments the 
hounds came bounding against the door, and yelped to be let in to 
the fox. The children peeped through the window and saw the 
hunters riding up, and the boy cried out, "Oh! there's my papa! 
Oh ! there's my papa !" Honestus picked up the half dead fox and 


threw him into the loft, and calling to the men to call off their dogs, 
for the Duke's children were there, he undid the door. The Duke 
heard him and sprang off his horse and rushed in, and wept when he 
saw his children, and took them in his arms; and he fell on Honestus' 
neck and kissed him, and called him a nobleman, and said he should 
be rewarded as the king rewarded noblemen ; and they carried them 
all to the castle where they had great rejoicing, and the Duke showed 
Honestus a cottage, and there were his wife and children ; for when 
the Duke came home from over the sea he found Honestus' wife and 
children, and took care of them because of what Honestus did for his 
lord at the great battle. And the Duke gave Honestus many broad 
acres of land, and built him a house called Greystone Garth (or Stone 
Garth the former is more after the usage of the country) and over 
the door a large stone was laid with these words cut deep in it: "God 
speed thee, Honestus ;" and he gave him a seal cut in a blue stone, 
which showed a hand and arm in armor, with three arrows, and the 
motto was "God speed thee." And he gave him a silver tankard 
with the likeness of this seal on one side ; and on the other, hunters 
and hounds at the door of a hut in the wood, and a fox head above it. 
And the Duke gave him a gold ring, and Honestus was very happy, 
and much thought of; and they kept this day which was St. Simon's, 
and they kept their estate and all these things in the family always. 

Other traditions state that before our ancestors came to live in 
America they did not like the king who ruled over them, nor the 
religion which he set up for them and all his people ; they thought it 
no religion at all, but a piece of great wickedness ; and they deter- 
mined to keep the Sabbath day and go to meeting, though the people 
around them used to make the holy Sabbath a holiday, with dancing, 
and fencing matches, and sometimes bear-baiting on the village green. 
One Sunday a bear was so maddened by dogs that it broke from the 
ring, and in its fury seized and injured one John Bliss who was return- 
ing from meeting so that he died. Then they set themselves more 
than ever against the king's religion ; and when he taxed the people 
unjustly they joined with those who opposed him. They cut their 
hair short so as not to resemble the king's men ; and two of them with 
thirty of their friends rode up to London with their member of Parlia- 
ment, to withstand the tyranny of the king. These two Blisses rode 
on grey horses, with pistols in the holsters of their saddles, and when 
they were in London they went to hear the speeches in the great 
House of Commons, and when the House was dissolved they were all 
grieved over the conduct of the false-hearted king. They saw him, 


and he looked as unhappy as his people were. The queen was a 
French woman and was very handsome and haughty, and she disliked 
the English people. The king was very angry because so many people 
came up with the members of Parliament, and he did not rest until 
they were punished. The Blisses among others were seized, and one 
time they had to pay about $5,000 besides lying in a dark damp prison 
many weeks, and their old grandfather, almost ninety years old, was 
dragged through the streets and used very roughly. Afterwards the 
king's officers drove off all their horses and sheep except one poor ewe 
that was so scared it ran into the house, and the boys hid it under 
their bed. Some of them (the children) followed their flocks a long 
way on the road, crying as they went. Another year the king's 
officers seized their cattle and most of their household goods, some 
of the latter being esteemed of great value, having been in the family 
for hundreds of years. And then they threw Thomas Bliss and his 
eldest son, Jonathan, into prison. His other sons, Thomas and 
George, raised the money on the estate and released their father, but 
Jonathan's fine was too great for them in their reduced condition, 
and at Exeter he suffered thirty-five lashes with a three-corded whip, 
which tore his back in a cruel manner. [If like sufferings are any 
confirmation, plenty of such evidence may be found in the second and 
third chapters of the third vol. of Cassell's History of England.] 

Just before Jonathan was liberated from prison they were obliged to 
sell the estate, which had been in the family for over two hundred 
years. At the breaking up, Thomas (the father) and his wife went to 
reside with their daughter, and dividing the remnant of his estate 
among his three sons, told them to come to America. Thomas and 
George feared to wait for Jonathan who was very sick, and they left 
England with their families in the autumn of 1635. Thomas (son of 
Jonathan, and grandson of Thomas,) remained with his father, who at 
last died of his hardships and a fever contracted in the prison. What- 
ever other children or wife Jonathan had, none but Thomas came to 
America, and he followed his uncles the next year, and settled near 
Thomas, and they two kept together as long as the uncle lived. At 
various times their sister Elizabeth sent them, from England, boxes of 
shoes, and clothing, and other necessary things that they could not 
procure in the colony. And it is through some of her letters being 
long preserved that these traditions were kept alive in the family, but 
what became of the letters at last, or who had them, we have been 
unable to learn. 


It was well known among our earliest ancestors in this country that 
their fathers had suffered much persecution by the civil authorities of 
England, combined with the ecclesiastic, under the direction of Arch- 
bishop Laud, on account of holding independent tenets in religion, 
and joining with those who resisted the oppressions of the tyrannical 
court, and at last, after having suffered the penalty of ruinous fines 
and long imprisonments, they determined on emigrating to this 

It is thought the Bliss family originally resided in the south of 
England. As in all other families, various branches removed to 
other places. One branch lived at Chudleigh. A John and a 
Thomas Bliss were taxed on their land some fifteen miles from Oke- 
hampton between 1600 and 1640. Several other villages in that 
section also had residential branches of the family which was emi- 
nently a prominent one, numerically and otherwise. 

There was a John Bliss who is mentioned as having lived in Eng- 
land, and another very aged man, also, but Thomas Bliss was the 
father of those who came to America. He had five children, named 
respectively Jonathan, Thomas, Elizabeth (or Betty), and George and 
Mary (or Polly). They owned a valuable farm which they tilled 
themselves, and for a long time had been a happy and prosperous 
family. Elizabeth had turned back to Episcopacy, which, fortunately, 
in after years enabled her to be of the greatest benefit to her family. 
Thomas and George Bliss came with their households to America in 
the autumn of 1635. Their eldest brother, Jonathan, with his son, 
was intending to come, but was detained by sickness consequent on 
bad treatment and long confinement in damp, unhealthy prisons, on 
account of his religion ; but it had been too severe for him, and 
Jonathan never saw America. His son Thomas (who had when quite 
young married a widow Ide who had one son named after his father, 
Nicholas, with these and two or three children of their own) came to 
this country the next year, 1636, and took up his residence with or 


near his uncle Thomas, who lived on the south side of Boston Bay. 

His other uncle, George Bliss, was at this time living in Lynn, Mass., 

-on the north side of the Bay. They would have preferred living 

Clearer together, but coming late in the season they were obliged to 

>buy instead of build houses. The Massachusetts wilderness must have 

-carried a dreary outlook to these men who were only used to the 

.green fields and hedges, and soft rolling downs of southern Englard, 

to substantial stone houses finished with rich wainscotings of oak, the 

"wide low rooms bearing on every massive beam evidences of long 

years of thrifty industry, and plenty of home comfort and happiness. 

As before stated, the younger of the two Bliss brothers purchased a 
house in Lynn, on the north of Boston Bay, where he lived two years, 
and sold it in the autumn of 1637, and removed to the town of Sand- 
wich, Mass., on the southwest side of Cape Cod Bay. George Bliss 
'was about forty-four years old when he came to America, and being a 
man of sound judgment sold his place to a new settler to very good 
.advantage, and removed to Sandwich, where after living on his place 
in that town twelve years, and making great improvements and plant- 
ing an orchard, he sold out again in 1649, being at that time about 
-fifty-eight years old. He sold here in the same manner as he did at 
Lynn, and, with quite a fortune for a new country, removed to New- 
port, R. I., where his name appears in the land records as late as 
March 22, 1660, and where he died August 31, 1667. We find no 
mention of his wife, or of other children, so it is considered right to 
^suppose that John was the only one who lived to grow up. George 
Bliss appears to have acquired considerable property in Newport, 
which this son inherited, and whose name, spelled John Blyse, is 
found in the list of freemen in that town October 28, 1668. He 
(John) was married to Damaris, daughter of the first Governor Bene- 
dict Arnold of R. I., who was distantly related to Gen. Benedict 
Arnold, the traitor. John Bliss' father-in-law was the richest man in 
the colonies; he removed to Newport in 1653, where he held the 
highest public offices for many years, and by a thorough acquaintance 
with the manners and language of the Indians, became the most 
effectual auxiliary in all negotiations with them. Damaris, wife of 
John Bliss, received a goodly portion by her father's will, dated 1677, 
.and their daughter Freelove (named after her mother's sister, Freelove 
Arnold,) was accounted the richest heiress in Newport. 

Thomas Bliss, second son of Thomas Bliss of England, came to 
this country with his brother George, in the autumn of 1635, landing 
at Boston, and finding they could not be comfortably located together 


unless they built new houses, for which undertaking the season was 
too far advanced, they separated, and Thomas settled in that part of 
Boston called the Mount ; it is across the Bay, a little southeast of the- 
city, and was afterwards named Braintree, from an atrocity committed 
by the Indians. The land here alloted to him being situated upon 
the mountain, he soon came to be called "Thomas of the Mount,"" 
and was near losing the family name altogether. The town has since 
been divided, and that part of it is now called Quincy. 

Thomas Bliss and his family, and his nephew Thomas Bliss (son oF 
his brother Jonathan, of England), who had arrived at Boston the 
year before, removed from Braintree to the settlement of Hartford, 
Conn., sometime in the same year that George removed from Lynn, 
1636-7. They also, it appears, disposed of their property to very 
good advantage. This plan of building a house, and clearing and 
tilling a piece of ground, and then selling the property to some new 
comer, was almost the only way the colonists had of realizing any 
money. But uncle and nephew did not reside together long in Hart- 
ford, for in the second year after their arrival, Thomas, sen., sickened 
and died, and the ensuing year the nephew, who was sometimes styled 
Thomas Bliss, jr., sold his possessions in Hartford and removed baclc 
to the Massachusetts colony, to the town of Weymouth, near Brain- 
tree, where he had formerly lived. It is said he received from Boston^. 
February 24, 1640, a grant of thirty-six acres of land, located in. 
Braintree, "four acres for each member of his family." 

The names of Thomas Bliss, sen., and Thomas Bliss, jr., are among 
those of the original land proprietors of Hartford those who held 
land prior to 1639; and that Thomas (son of Thomas and Margaret), 
held land in the place is certain, for about the year 1646, land was 
sold by "Widow Bliss, and Thomas Bliss, her son." 

Hartford was settled in 1635, by John Steele, the first Secretary of 
the Colony of Connecticut, though the main body of settlers, consist- 
ing of the Rev. Thomas Hooker and a church that he had organized 
in Massachusetts, arrived there in 1636. If the Blisses did not accom- 
pany Mr. Hooker there, they must have been attracted to that locality^ 
by a similarity of views and interests, which will make a reference tc 
the settlement of Hartford appropriate in this connection. 

Rev. Thomas Hooker was a famous preacher of his day, and pos- 
sessed of great learning and ability, in Chelmsford, Essex County,. 
England, about thirty miles northeast of London. He was silenced 
in 1630 for nonconformity to the established church, and to escape 
fines and imprisonment he fled to Holland. Of those who had 


attended his ministry a large number expressed their willingness to 
emigrate to any part of the world to enjoy the teachings of such a 
pastor. He being driven from them, they looked to New England, 
and in 1632 a large body of them, supposed to be mostly from 
Chelmsford and vicinity came over and settled at Newtown (now 
Cambridge) in Massachusetts. At their request Mr. Hooker left 
Holland, and arrived in Boston, September 4, 1633, whence he pro- 
ceeded to Newtown, where he gathered his church on the nth of 
October following. In 1634 the people of Watertown, Dorchester, 
and Newtown began to feel straightened for want of room. Learning 
of the fertility of the valley of the Connecticut, permission was 
obtained of the General Court of Massachusetts and in 1635 a party 
tinder the leadership of John Steele " attempted the dangers and 
hardships of making settlements in a dreary wilderness." On their 
journey, and during the winter following, their sufferings were great, 
and most of the party returned. In the year following, 1636, Mr. 
Hooker, with one hundred men, women and children, and driving 
with them one hundred and sixty head of cattle, arrived at Hartford 
after a fortnight's journey through the wilderness. Mrs. Hooker, 
being sick, was carried on a litter. Many of the persons comprising 
this company are spoken of as those of " figure" in England, who 
"had lived in honor and affluence, strangers to fatigue and dangers," 
which causes the historian to regard their journey through the wilder- 
ness as the more remarkable. 

On arriving in Hartford they laid out the land therein "lots" 
and " tiers," and apportioned it among the settlers. The lot assigned 
to Thomas Bliss, sen., was " No. 58," and that to Thomas Bliss, jr., 
" No. 59," on what was called the " Tenth Tier," south of the Little 
River. They lay on the east side of a street now discontinued, which 
extended north and south a short distance to the west of the present 
Lafayette street, and south of the old State House. The present 
Trinity street was one of the original streets of Hartford, and was 
known as Bliss street from the first settlement to about 1855. It was 
probably so named from this family, and was then described as 
-extending from " George Steele's to the Mill." 

To say that these exiles from the pleasant rockguarded English 
islands were happy in the change to which they were compelled would 
be far from the truth. They never ceased to feel their great losses 
great in every way and if oppression had left them aught to go back 
to they would have returned ; but there was nothing for them but to 
/ace the gloomy wilderness and march sternly on in the way God had 


appointed, bearing as best they might the deprivations and hardships^ 
of such a lot. Freedom of conscience was first of all with them, ancfc 
their iron courage paid its terrible price. Let their descendants never 
forget it. 

At the breaking up of the Blisses at Hartford, after the death of 
Thomas, sen., his widow, Mrs. Margaret, wished her nephew to go to 
Springfield with them, but a friend of his named Harmon, from Brain- 
tree, near Weymouth, Mass., advised him to go there, it being an 
older settlement arid nearer communication with England, and he- 
decided at last to go. He took up new land at Weymouth and built 
a house, designing to remain there permanently. But he soon found 
the town divided on religious matters, and as the rupture grew worse 
and worse instead of better, he, with the majority of Rev. Mr. 
Newman's congregation, who sided with their pastor, came to the 
determination of founding a new settlement. They disposed b* their 
property in Weymouth at considerable sacrifice, and completed their 
preparations for the journey to the new settlement, which most of 
them accomplished in the autumn of 1643. 

This was the poorest investment that Thomas Bliss had yet made ; 
it was done in passion and party spirit, and was unworthy of the 
general uprightness of his character. But Weymouth was first settled* 
by Episcopalians who had sought quiet from the commotions of the 
last years of Charles I, and they would not be domineered over by 
the independents ; and Thomas Bliss, exiled, impoverished, and 
smarting under the brutal treatment of the officers of the State Church 
of England, took decidedly bitter grounds of opposition to these 
members of that communion ; but they stood their ground, and it 
resulted in the removal of most of the independents from the town. 
They went a journey of about fifty miles, in a southwesterly direction, 
far enough, as they supposed, to be beyond the jurisdiction not only 
of the Massachusetts Colony, but of every other. 

The Indian name of the place they had chosen was Seekonk, and' 
in that language means "black goose," and arose from the circum- 
stance of great numbers of wild geese in their semi-annual migrations 
alighting in the river and cove, which habit they still continue. In 
the autumn of 1645 Thomas Bliss and his son Jonathan shot and 
snared fifty-eight of them. 

In the new settlement there were already two or three families 
one by the name of Blackstone having an orchard of apple trees, and 
of whom Thomas Bliss procured shoots for his orchard, which after- 
wards became one of the largest and best in the settlement. A Mr~ 


John Hazell was also living there when Mr. Newman and his people 
came, and he also, as well as Mr. Blackstone, had been driven there 
by religious persecutions, and he was destined to experience still more 
of it at the hands of Mr. Newman and some of his people, to whom 
on their arrival he had showed much kindness. Hazell was a Baptist. 

It is due Mr. Newman to say that he was, for a New England clergy- 
man, a peace-loving, scholarly man, mild and prudent in his natural 
disposition, but he was on terms of friendship with Cotton Mather, 
whose influence over him or anybody else did not tend towards peace- 
making. From all we can learn of Mr. Newman at Weymouth he 
truly endeavored to pour oil on the troubled waters, but the storm 
was too great, and he and his people went out of this Egypt, not with 
spoil but at great sacrifice, to a wilderness and to freedom, determined 
to be a separate people, governed only by God's law. 

Mr. Newman and the leaders of his congregation, after obtaining a 
grant of land from the Plymouth Colony and purchasing of the 
Indians, fixed upon the name of Rehoboth, as fancying it just 
described their situation. [Genesis, chap, xxvi, v. 20-22. Also, 
Genesis, chap., xxxvi, v. 37.] Their purchase lay upon both sides of 
the Palmer River, and consisting of woodland, upland and meadow, 
it made the proper division of it difficult. 

When Thomas Bliss went to Weymouth he took the freeman's oath, 
May 1 8, 1642, and the next year he, with the settlers destined for 
Rehoboth, made a valuation of their estates individually, at the 
time house lots were apportioned to them in that place ; for after that 
the allotments of land were made according to the persons and 
estates, and this was provided for by the grant of the Court of 
Plymouth. There were fifty-eight settlers, including Mr. Newman, 
and according to the list of valuations there were twenty-nine who 
were worth less than Thomas Bliss, and twenty-eight worth more. 
The richest settler was John Brown, who had been connected with 
the Low Countries in trade in England, and his estate was valued at 
^600, which is estimated as equal to $25,000 or $30,000 at the 
present day. The estate of Thomas Bliss was valued at ^153, equal 
to $7*650 at the present time quite a comfortable little sum, consid- 
ering the family was ruined when they left England eight years before. 

For further information in regard to the settlement of this town we 
refer the reader to Bliss' History of Rehoboth, and to that book also 
for an account of Mr. Newman's treatment of the Baptists, including 
Mr. Hazell. No person in this model and exclusive settlement was 
allowed to sell his lands and buildings but to such a man as the town 


should approve and accept of, and who would submit his conduct, 
character and theology to an examination by the church under the 
direction of Mr. Newman, before being allowed to come among them. 

Probably no Roman priesthood ever exercised a much greater con- 
trol in temporal affairs than the Puritan Newman did, or a much 
greater tyranny in spiritual matters than he attempted, and in a great 
measure succeeded in establishing. However, it is but justice to Mr. 
Newman to say that he was undoubtedly actuated by the best of 
motives a sincere desire to promote the welfare of the church of 
Christ, and of the community in which he lived ; and if his zeal was 
in excess of judgment, according to the light of our times, we may at 
least credit him with the honest intention of doing what he really 
considered a religious duty. He was a man of great literary ability, 
and compiled the first full Concordance of the Bible in English, 
which was printed in London in 1643, ran through three editions, 
and has been pronounced by Biblical scholars a monument of learn- 
ing, genius and industry. Mr. Newman was born in Banbury, Eng- 
land, in May, 1602, emigrated to America in 1635-6, and died 
July 5, 1663. 

The Blisses who came from England were highly educated, gentle- 
manly and refined in their manners, and were much superior in this 
respect to their immediate descendants, who had none of the advan- 
tages of the schools and society of the mother country ; and in the 
struggle to bring out of the wilderness the necessaries of life they had 
little time for its ornamentation and embellishment. The hardships of 
the new country told upon them fearfully in this respect, and gave to 
their religion a still gloomier and severer cast. It seems evident that 
they left England with regret, and that they remained there as long 
as they possibly could, being compelled, as it were, either to forswear 
their consciences or lose their lives. They belonged to the same class 
of men, and were freeholders, like Cromwell, Hampden, and others, 
of whom England has reason to be proud forever. 


Without intending to discredit the traditions transmitted by the late Mrs. Mary E. 
West of Pittsfield, Mass., and published in the Bliss Genealogy in 1881, giving the 
'family residence in England as Belstone, in Devonshire, later investigations (1903) 
-seem to indicate other localities for various branches of the family, as Launcestone, 
Alfington, Parkstone, Blissworth and Chudleigh. It is supposed that some one 
branch resided in the vicinity of Belstone for a very short time only, previous to 
their removal to America; that their retirement to that locality on the borders of the 
Dartmoor wilderness was to escape observation, and that the final start of that 
branch for removal to America was made from Belstone, thus connecting the name 
of that hamlet with the traditions carried to their American home by the emigrants, 
their descendants very naturally gaining the impression that that was their perma- 
nent residence in the mother country. 

Late investigations point toward Northamptonshire, where documentary evidence 
seems to suggest residence or proprietorship within that shire of the immediate 
ancestors of Thomas and George Bliss, who came from England about 1635 and 
settled at Hartford and Newport. After a residence in England of over five 
hundred years it would indeed be strange if the numerous branches of a prolific 
family were not pretty thoroughly dispersed into many towns and villages in 

J. H. B. 



As will be seen by reference to the preceding pages, the first" 
generation of the Bliss family of which we have any information 
is comprised in a single individual Mr. Thomas Bliss, of England. 
Very little is known of him except that he was a land owner. He is- 
supposed to have been born about the year 1550 or 1560. The dater 
of his death is not certainly known, but probably occurred about the- 
time his sons emigrated to America, or soon thereafter. 

i. *THOMAS BLISS, b. about 1550-60, d. about 1635-40. 


The second generation of this family comprises the children oF 
Thomas Bliss of England, two of whom, as before stated, removed to 
America in 1635, while another languished in prison where he con- 
tracted a fever of which he eventually died. We have been unable to 
ascertain the name of their mother, or the dates of her birth, marriage 
and death, but tjie children's names were 

2. ^JONATHAN, b. ,6.1635-6. 

3. *THOMAS, b. , d. 1640. 


5. *GEORGE, b. 1591, d. August 31, 1667. 

6. MARY, (or POLLY). 

It has always been supposed that the first Bliss emigrants to New England came 
from Devonshire, as was stated in the Bliss Genealogy of 1881. This statement was 
based upon information supplied some years before 1881 by a person in London. 
No official evidence was ever offered to substantiate the theory thus advanced. In 
view of this a Bliss descendant, Mr. Charles A. Hoppin, Jr., an historical writer and 
searcher, with offices in Springfield, Mass., and London, visited Devonshire in 1900, 
seeking to confirm the statements in the Bliss Genealogy as to their Devonshire 
origin. Again in 1903 the search in England was resumed by the same gentleman, 
who, after a tedious investigation in nearly every county of England, succeeded in 
establishing by legal evidence the fact that Thomas Bliss who came from England 
about 1634, settling in Hartford, Conn., was the son of John Bliss of Preston Parva, 
Northamptonshire, England. This John Bliss died 1617, leaving a will which is 
still on file at the District Probate Registry in the city of Northampton, the county 
seat of Northamptonshire. In this will John Bliss specifically names his son Thomas 
Bliss, his son George Bliss, his daughter Elizabeth Bliss, and other children. Other 
wills examined show that these brothers, Thomas and George, had a nephew Thomas 
Bliss, who settled in Rehoboth, Mass., and also that they had a cousin George Bliss. 
Which one of these two George Blisses was the one that came to New England has 
not yet been determined. 

Mr. Hoppin has a considerable amount of data. Much data yet remains to be 
collected before being ready for publication, and persons who may be interested in 
learning more of our English ancestors are respectfully referred to the above quoted ' 


H. P. B. 


JONATHAN, son of Thomas Bliss of England, was born about 
the year 1575 or 1580. He died 1635-6. It is not known who he 
married or when, but he had several children born to him, four of 
whom are said to have died young ; the remaining children were 

7. *THOMAS, b. , d. 1649. 


THOMAS, of England, of Braintree, Mass., and afterwards of 
Hartford, Conn., was a son of the first Thomas Bliss, of England, and 
was born about the year 1580 or 1585. He married in England 

about 1612-15, to Margaret ,f and had ten children, of whom 

six were born previous to their removal to this country ; these weYe 
named respectively, Ann, Mary, Thomas, Nathaniel, Lawrence, and 
Samuel ; and in this country were probably born Sarah, Elizabeth, 
Hannah and John. Owing to religious persecutions, Thomas Bliss 
was compelled to leave England, and in the autumn of 1635, he with 
his younger brother George embarked at Plymouth with their families 
for the then wilderness of America. Upon their arrival at Boston, 
as before stated, Thomas located temporarily at Braintree, Mass., 
whence he afterwards removed to Hartford, Conn., where he died in 

fit is thought her maiden name was Margaret Lawrence, and that she was horn 
about the year 1594, and married to Thomas Bliss about 1612-15. She was a good 
looking woman, with a square oblong face that betokened great capability and force 
of character. She had a broad open brow, fair hair, and blue eyes. After the death 
of her husband, which took place about the close of the year 1639, she managed the 
affairs of the family with great prudence and judgment. Her eldest daughter, Ann, 
was married to Robert Chapman, of Saybrook, Conn., April 29, 1642, choosing April 
for their marriage month instead of May, for the old English adage ran " To wed 
in May, you'll rue the day." She removed with her husband to- Saybrook, where 
her eldest brother, Thomas, came soon after to live with them, and where he married 
in 1644, and in 1659 removed to Norwich, Conn., with thirty-four or thirty-five 
others and effected the settlement of that town. The other children of the widow 
Margaret Bliss, of Hartford, concluded not to settle there permanently, chills and 
fever prevailing in some localities near the town; she and her children, therefore, in 
the year 1643, removed to the settlement of Springfield, Mass., thirty miles or more 
up the Connecticut River. Margaret sold her property in Hartford, and gathering 
her household goods and cattle together, prepared with her eight children to make 
the journey through the forest to Springfield, which she accomplished in about five 


1640. We have been unable to ascertain the dates of birth of all the 
children in this family, but it is evident that Thomas was the oldest 
son, and that he must have been of age at the time of the distribution 
of the lots in Hartford, which would place his birth at about the year 
1615-16. The births of the other children must have occurred be- 
tween that of Thomas, jr. (unless Ann and Mary were older), and the 
death of Thomas, sen., in 1640, which would allow two years at least 
between them. Probably there were no other sons of age at the time 
of their arrival in Hartford, as otherwise they would have had lots 
assigned them and there is nothing more discoverable respecting 
any of the children in Hartford. 

days. Nathaniel and Samuel, her second and fourth sons, had been there previ- 
ously, and a dwelling had been prepared for the family on their arrival. A journey 
like this was thought a great thing in those days. They camped out in the forest 
three nights with their teams, so sparsely was the country settled at that time ; and 
the forests, infested with savage beasts and scarcely less savage Indians, were 
broken only by the single roads to the seaboard, on the east and on the south, and 
these were by no means of the best. Mrs. Margaret had acquaintances in Spring- 
field whom she had known in England, and here she settled down for the remainder 
of her days. It is said she purchased a tract of land in Springfield one mile square,, 
situated in the south part of the tow^n, on what is now Main Street, and bordering 
on Connecticut River. One of the streets laid out on the manor tract has beea 
named " Margaret Street," and another " Bliss Street," on which has been built a 
Congregational Church. She lived to see all her children brought up, married and 
established in homes of their own, except Hannah, who died at about twenty-three 
years of age. Mrs. Margaret died in Springfield, August 28, 1684, after a residence 
in America of nearly fifty years, and over forty since her husband's death. She was 
an energetic, efficient woman, capable of transacting most kinds of business, and was 
long remembered in Springfield as a woman of great intellectual ability. A mother 
with these characteristics seldom fails to transmit them to posterity. Her will, dated 
in September (1683 ?) mentions her son John, son Lawrence, deceased, son Samuel^ 
daughter Elizabeth (Morgan), deceased, daughter Mary Parsons (widow of Joseph), 
and daughter Sarah (Scott). As no reference is made to Thomas or Ann, it has 
been questioned whether they were her children. But neither is there any reference 
in it to the children of her son Nathaniel, deceased, to whom in their younger years 
she had been guardian and guide ; so that it cannot be inferred from such omission 
that Thomas, jr., and Ann were not her children. As she survived her husband 
forty-four years, it may have been that she was a second wife, and that these were 
children of a former marriage. He must have died comparatively young, or there 
may have been a great disparity in their ages. She lived more than ninety years, in. 
spite of the hardships and anxieties she had passed through, and her grandchildren, 
were generally very strong of constitution and long-lived, as were also her children. 
She was a woman of superior abilities, great resolution, and uncommon enterprise, 
and is entitled to the respect of her descendants, both for her vigor of mind and 


Tne following are the names of the children of Thomas and Mar- 
garet Bliss, with their chronology as far as we have been able to 
ascertain : 

9. ANN, b. in England, , m. April 29, 1642, Robert Chapman, of Saybrook, 

Conn., and d. November 20, 1685. He was born about 1616, and came 
from Hull, England, to Boston, in August, 1635, and in November to Say- 
brook, Conn. He d. October 13,1687. Issue: I. John, b. July, 1644. 
2. Robert, b. September, 1646. 3. Ann, b. September 12, 1648, d. next 
year. 4. Hannah, b. October 4, 1650. 5. Nathaniel, b. February 16, 
1653. 6. Mary, b. April 15, 1655. 7. Sarah, b. September 25, 1657. 
o. MARY, b. in England, , m. November 26, 1646, Joseph Parsons, Spring- 
field, Mass., who d. October 9, 1683. She d. January 29, 1712. Mr. 
Parsons, associated with Mr. Pynchon, was one of the most prominent men 
in the public business of the place, and quite wealthy. He was a witness 
to the deed given by the Indians to Pynchon,f July 15, 1636. Joseph and 
Mary Parsons had five children before their removal to Northampton, 
Mass., in 1654. (Their son Ebenezer, born in this place, May I, 1655, was 
the first white child born in the town, and he was killed by the Indians at 
Northfield, September 2, 1675.) Here in Northampton they had seven 
more children, making twelve in all, but three, named Benjamin, John and 
David, died young. Mary Bliss, the mother of thislamily, two years after 
the birth of her youngest child, was charged with witchcraft by some of 
her neighbors who were envious of their prosperity and endeavored in this 
way to disgrace them. She was sent to Boston for trial where the jury 
gave her a full acquittal of the crime, and she returned home to Northamp- 
ton, from whence they removed back to Springfield in 1679. Just after 
her acquittal in Boston, her son Ebenezer was killed by the Indians, and 
those who had been instrumental in bringing her to trial said : " Behold, 
though human judges may be bought off, God's vengeance neither turns 
aside nor slumbers." It is said that she possessed great beauty and talents, 
but was not very amiable. 

:ai. *THOMAS, b. in England, , d. April 15, 1688. 

[A Mr. Thomas Blythe (aged twenty years) came over in the barque " Globe " 
-from London, August 7, 1635. If this was Thomas Bliss, afterwards of Norwich, 
s <x>nn., it gives his birth date as 1615.] 

12. ^NATHANIEL, b. in England, , d. November 8, 1654. 

13. *LAWRENCE, b. in England, , d. in 1676. 

14. *SAMUEL, b. in England in 1624, d. March 23, 1720. 

15. SARAH, b. at Boston Mount, about 1635-6, m. at Springfield, Mass., July 20, 

1659, John Scott, by whom she had nine children, only one of whom 
(William) had issue. Mr. Scott died January 2, 1690, and the same year 
she was married again, to Samuel Terry. She d. September 27, 1705. 

fThe new settlement of Springfield, Mass., was laid out and conducted by William 
Pynchon, a man of great energy and enterprise and uncommon, independence in re- 
ligious opinions, which had brought him into great trouble in Boston, and he event- 
ually left Springfield and returned home to England (1652) on account of the greater 
liberty of conscience enjoyed there than in the colonies. He was rich and liberal, 
-and the settlers owed him better treatment than he received from them. 


*6. ELIZABETH, b. at Boston Mount, about 1637, was'm. February 15, 1669-70, as 
the second wife of Sergeant Miles Morgan (b. 1615 and d. May 28, 1699^ 
who had eight children by a previous marriage. Elizabeth had only one 
child, named Nathaniel, b. June 14, 1671. She was thirty-two or three 
years of age at the time of her marriage, and had been engaged in marriage 
before, but her intended husband was killed by the Indians. 

17. HANNAH, b. at Hartford, 1639, d. single, January 25, 1662. 

18. *Jt>HN, b. at Hartford, 1640, d. September 10, 1702. 

GEORGE, of England, of Lynn, Mass., 1637, of Sandwich, Mass., 
1638, and of Newport, R. I., was born in 1591. He emigrated to 
this country with his brother Thomas, in 1635, resided a short time at 
Lynn, thence removed to Sandwich, Mass , on the Cape, where April 
16, 1640, a lot of one and a half acres of land was granted him ; but 
he does not appear to have continued long in the Plymouth Colony, 
for he was in Newport in 1649. In 1650 he was appointed, with 
others, to mend and make all the arms in Newport. Governor Arnold 
mentions him as one of whom he had bought land, and as one of the 
original purchasers of the island of Quononicut. In 1655-6 he 
appears on the Colonial Records as a freeman ; and he bought land 
in Newport as late as March 22, 1660. On that date articles of agree- 
ment were made whereby Sosoa, an Indian captain of Narragansett, 
deeded (June 29, 1660,) a large tract of land called Misquamicuitf to 
seventy-six of the colonists, George Bliss being one of the number. 
, In 1669 the territory of Misquamicutt was incorporated under the 
name of Westerly.] Mr. Bliss died August 31, 1667. It is known 
from records of Governor Arnold]; that there was a son. 

19. *JOHN, b. about 1645. 

fMisquamicutt was the Indian name of salmon. 

J Benedict Arnold, Governor of Rhode Island, succeeded Roger Williams in that 
office in 1657, and continued till 1660; was also governor 1662 to 1666; from 1669 
to 1672, and from 1677 to 1678, in which last year he died. He had lived in Provi- 
dence as early as 1639. In 1657 he and Coddington (and others) purchased of the 
Indian Sachems the island of Quononicut. MASS. HIST. COLL., v. 217. 

Governor Arnold was the first governor of Rhode Island under the Charter of 
King Charles II, granted July 8, 1663. This charter was in force until the adoption 
by the State of the present Constitution, in November, 1842. It is said that Governor 
Arnold was a son of William Arnold, one of the thirteen original proprietors of 
Providence ; and it is thought he erected the old stone mill in Newport, as a clause 
in his will refers to " my stone built wind grist mill." He owned the land where 
that ancient structure stands. HIST. R. I. 

He was the eldest son of William Arnold, was born in England, December 21, 
1615, removed from Providence to Newport in 1653, and " made " the royal charter 
in 1663. He married Damaris, daughter of Stukeley Wescott, and had issue: 
Gdsgift, Josiah, Benedict, jr., born about 1641, Freelove, Oliver, Caleb, Damaris, 
Priscilla and Penelope. SAVAG'ES GEN. DICT. 


THOMAS, of Rehoboth, Mass., son of Jonathan Bliss, of England,, 
upon the death of his father in 1636, emigrated to America, landing: 
at Boston, whence he removed to Braintree, Mass., thence to Hart- 
ford, Conn., and from there back to Weymouth, near Braintree, Mass.,, 
from which place he removed in 1643 w ^h many others and com- 
menced a new settlement which they called Rehoboth. f He was made 
a freeman in Camrbidge, Mass., May i8th, 1642, and in the Plymouth- 
Colony January 4th, 1645. J une 9 tn f tne same vear ne drew a lot 
(No. 30) on the Great Plain, in Seekonk. In 1646 he was appointed 
"to view the fence of the town lots," and in 1647 surveyor of high- 
ways. He died at Rehoboth in June, 1649, and was undoubtedly- 
buried in the old cemetery at Seekonk, Mass., (now Rumford, East 
Providence, R. I.,) where the first pastor of the new colony was after- 
wards interred. But it is a matter of great regret that the authorities 
having the lands in charge have allowed the growth of unsightly 
weeds, bushes and brambles, to such an extent as to render the 
identification of the earlier graves well nigh impossible, even where 

-(The original purchase of land of Massasoit, in 1641, comprising the town or 
Rehoboth, was "a tract eight miles square," and embraced what now constitutes the 
towns of Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Pawtucket; the second purchase now forms a 
part of Swansey and Barrington ; and the third and last was called the " North 
Purchase," now Attleboro, Mass., and Cumberland, R. I. 

The celebrated Roger Williams, who believed it " the prerogative of man to think 
as he pleased and to speak as he thought," arrived at Rehoboth (then Seekonk) in 
the Spring of 1636, but soon crossed the stream and took up his abode in what is- 
now the beautiful city of Providence, R. I. 

The first white settler within the original limits of Rehoboth was " one Master 
William Blackstone," a minister who settled there about 1637, and who is described 
as a sort of " Ishmaelite in religion," who left England through a dislike to the 
"Lord Bishops," and was early displeased with the "Lord Brethren." He d. 
May 26, 1675. 

A number of emigrants from Hingham and Weymouth, Mass., soon settled at 
Seekonk, among whom were the Rev. Samuel Newman and a majority of his church 
at W.,Mr. Thomas Bliss being one of the number, and in 1645 the proprietors, 
were incorporated town wise under the Scriptural name of Rehoboth. 


the ravages of time have spared an occasional inscription. And the 
same may be said of the old cemetery south of Rehoboth village.] 
Another unfortunate circumstance during the early part of the nine- 
teenth century, the destruction by fire of the records of the first 
church, has deprived their posterity of much valuable information 
concerning the first settlers in Rehoboth. In the " N. E. Genealog- 
ical Register," vol. 4, p. 282, it is stated that Thomas Bliss* will was 
dated the 8th of June, 1649, an ^ a ^ so triat ^ was P ut i nto court on 
the 8th, one of which statements has been considered erroneous ; 
but perhaps the will was deposited, for safe keeping, in the hands of 
the person who officiated as surrogate. The instrument mentions his 
son Jonathan, to whom he devised his house; his eldest daughter, 
whose first name is not given, but is referred to as the wife of Thomas 
Williams; Mary, .wife of Nathaniel Harmon, of Braintree ; son-in- 
law, Nicholas Ide,f who was probably a son of his wife, Mrs. Ide, or 
Hyde, (by a previous husband), who had perhaps married a daughter; 
and his son, Nathaniel. (His property was inventoried at 117, i6s, 
4d.) We gather, then, that he had issue : 

20. ^JONATHAN, b. ab. 1625, d. ab. 1687. 

21. A daughter who m. Thomas Williams. 

22. MARY, who m. Nathaniel Harmon, Braintree, Mass. 

.23. NATHANIEL, of Rehoboth or Hingham, Mass., was probably married and had 
a family; for there was a " Margaret, daughter of Nathaniel Bliss, b. at 
Hingham on the I2th of the 9th month, (November?) 1649," which was 
the same year in which the first child of his brother Jonathan was born, 
and there was no other Nathaniel in that neighborhood at that early date. 
It is possible, therefore, that Nathaniel settled in Hingham. And as no 
descendants have been found or identified bearing the family name, it is 
presumed he had no sons who lived to maturity. [The Town Clerk of 
Hingham writes that there is no record there of any Bliss family.] 

THOMAS, of Hartford, Say brook, and Norwich, Conn., (son of 
'Thomas and Margaret Bliss, of Hartford, Conn.,) was born in Eng- 
land, and removed to America with his father in 1635. Soon after 
his father's death he removed to Saybrook. Here his allotment of 
land was east of Connecticut River, in what is now Lyme, and his 
home lot lay between John Ompsted (Olmstead) on the north, and 
John Lay on the south. He sold his land here July 23, 1662, to 

fit is not positively known who this Nicholas Ide m., but he had a son, Lieut. 
Nicholas Ide, b. November (1654?) who m. December 27, (1678?) Mary Ormsby. 
Issue: Nathaniel, (d. March 14, 1702-3,) Jacob, Martha, Patience, John, and Ben- 
jamin, all b. in Rehoboth, 1678-1693. By a second wife, Eliza, he had a son, 
Nicholas, jr., b. in Attleborough, July 25, 1697. Lieut. Nicholas d. June 5, 1723. 


John Comstock and Richard Smith, having removed his family to- 
Norwich, f Conn., two or three years previous. He was married 
October 3oth, 1644, to a wife named Elizabeth, and they had six 
children born to them in Saybrook, and their seventh child, named 
Anne, born in 1660, was the second English child born in Norwich. 
His allotment in Norwich was "next to Sergeant Leffingwell, (oppo- 
site, according to the ancient map,) on the street as it runs south, five 
acres and a fourth, with a lane on the south leading to a watering 
place at the river." This homestead is still occupied by his descend- 
ants, (1880,) seven generations of the same name having successively 
inherited the homestead and dwelt therein, the property being held 
under the original deed, and the house itself, in its frame work, is 
doubtless the original habitation built by the first grantee. In a 
country where the tenure is allodial, and there are no rights of primo- 
geniture or entailment, instances of two hundred years of family own- 
ership are not very common. 

In (1680?) Thomas Bliss and Matthew Griswold were appointed 
agents by the town of Saybrook to " lay out a lot of land to an 
Indian named The Giant," near Black Point, in what is now East 
Lyme, Conn. The locality is still called " The Giant's Neck." 

The energy, sound health, and good judgment of Thomas Bliss 
brought great prosperity, which is evidenced by his having made a 
will ; for only those who had considerable property to dispose of did 
so, as it was a very expensive affair in those days, for the tyranny and 
rapacity of Sir Edmund Andros compelled the colonists to carry 
every such instrument to Boston to prove, and have recorded, in 
order that he (Sir Edmund) might avail himself of the fees of that 
office towards supporting the state in which he aspired to live ; for he 
never appeared in the streets without guards, or two or three servants 
following him, and it was quite as easy to obtain access to the King 
of England as to his ape, the governor of these colonies. 

fThe town of Norwich was purchased from the Indian sachems of the Mohegan 
tribe in June, 1659, and settled that year by thirty-five men, most of whom were 
from Saybrook, Conn., Thomas Bliss being one of the number. The following year, 
1660, the Rev. James Fitch, pastor of the church at Saybrook, and the greater part 
of his church removed to Norwich, where Mr. F. officiated as pastor until about the 
year 1696, when by reason of age and infirmity he resigned the pastorate, and in 
1702 removed to the new town of Lebanon, Conn., where he soon died. The 
original tract of Norwich was " 9 miles square," the consideration given the Indians 
being ^70. 


Thomas Bliss' will is dated April i3th, 1688, two days before his 
death ; and in it provision was made for his wife Elizabeth and six 
daughters, and his only living son, Samuel, who was at that time 
thirty-one years of age. His estate was estimated at ^182, iys, yd. 
He had land, besides his home lot, " over the river on the Little 
Plain at the Great Plain at the Falls in the Yantic meadow in 
meadow at Beaver Brook in pasture east of the town and on West- 
ward hill." Issue: 

24. ELIZABETH, b. at Saybrook, Conn., November 20, 1645, m. June 7, 1663, 

Edward Smith, of New London, Conn. This couple, with their son John, 
aet. 15, died of an epidemic disease in 1689 the son July 8th, the wife 
July loth, and Mr. S. July I4th. A son, (Capt. Obadiah, b. 1677) and 
six daughters went to reside at Norwich with relatives. 

25. SARAH, b. at Saybrook, August 26, 1647, m. December, 1668, Thomas Sluman, 

Norwich, and had six children. He died in 1683, and she afterwards m. 
April 8, 1686, Dr. Solomon Tracy, of Norwich, by whom she had one son. 
She d. August 29, 1730. Dr. T. died July 9, 1732. 

26. MARY, b. at Saybrook, Conn., February 7, 1649, m. about 1672-3, David, son 

of Dea. Hugh and Ann Caulkins, of New London, Conn., (a Welchman 
who came to this country about 1640, stopped at Marshfield for a short 
season, then removed to Lynn, Mass., thence to New London about 1652* 
and finally to Norwich, Conn., about 1659.) He had the estate of his 
father in that part of New London now known as Waterford, near Niantic. 
From this union has descended the modest and diligent historian of Nor- 
wich and New Ixmdon, Miss Frances M. Caulkins, who was widely 
known as one of the leading antiquarian writers of her day. David 
Caulkins d. November 25, 1717. 

27. THOMAS, b. at Saybrook, Conn., March 3, 1652, d. January 29, 1682, probably 


28. DELIVERANCE, b. at Saybrook, August 10, 1655, m. June 8, 1682, Daniel 

Perkins, of Norwich, Conn. 

29. *SAMUEL, b. at Saybrook, December 9, 1657, d. December 30, 1731. 

30. ANNE, b. at Norwich, September 15, 1660, m. April 8, 1688, Josiah Rockwell, 

of N., and d. February 19, 1714-15. He d. March 18, 1728. Josiah 
Rockwell was a son of Josiah Rockwell and Rebecca Loomis of Windsor ? 
Conn. A son Daniel, b. October 24. 1689, m. November 23, 1715, Tabitha 
Hartshorn, and d. in 1746, leaving several children, among whom was 
Daniel, jr., b. June 28, 1724, who m. December 29, 1746, Mindwell Bliss,, 
daughter of Samuel Bliss and Sarah Packer, of Norwich, Conn. 

31. REBECKAH, b. at Norwich, March 18, 1663, m. April 8, 1686, Israel Lathrop, 

of N., and d. August 22, 1737. He d. March 28, 1733. 

NATHANIEL, of Springfield, Mass., (son of Thomas and Margaret 
Bliss, of Hartford, Conn.,) was born in England, came to America 
with his father in 1635, an< ^ removed to Springfield, Mass., with his 
mother in 1643, about seven years after that place was purchased fronv, 


the Indians by Pynchon. Three years later, when they were well 
settled, he married Catharine, daughter of Dea. Samuel Chapin, of 
15. , November 20, 1646, a few days before his sister Mary was married 
to Joseph Parsons. Nathaniel and Catharine Bliss had four children : 
Samuel, who died aged one hundred and one and a half years; Mar- 
garet, who married Nathaniel Foote; Mary; and Nathaniel; the last 
lived to the age of eighty-three years, though the father died Novem- 
ber 8, 1654, before this Nathaniel was two years old. [Widow 
-Catherine Bliss, about eight months after her husband's death, 
married Thomas Gilbert, July 31, 1655; by him she had four more 
children, when he died June 5, 1662, and she soon married her third 
husband, Samuel Marshfield, December 28, 1664, and by him she had 
her usual number of four children, making twelve in all. Not much 
time lost in mourning or widowhood ; but times were hard for a 
widow with little children, and men at this time outnumbered the 
women in the colonies, and there was no lack of suitors for single 
women.] She died February 4, 1712. Issue: 

32. SAMUEL, b. November 7, 1647, d. June 19, 1749. 

33. ^MARGARET, b. November 12, 1649, m. May 2, 1672, Nathaniel Foote, Col- 

chester, Conn., where she d. April 3, 1745. He was b. at Wethersfield, 
Conn., January 14, 1648-9, was the son of Nathaniel, and grandson of 
Nathaniel "the settler." He resided at Hatfield, Mass., two years, 
Springfield four years, and at Stratford and Branford, Conn., and lastly at 
Wethersfield, where he d. of consumption, January 12, 1703. His family 
subsequently removed to " Jeremy's Farm," since and now called Colches- 
ter, Conn., a tract of land on the road from Hartford to New London, 
owned by Jeremiah Adams, one of the first settlers of Hartford. Mr. 
Foote was a Quartermaster in the army during King Philip's war, and was 
in the fight at Turner's Falls (Conn. River) under the brave Capt. Turner, 
who, it is said, that night fought hand to hand with Philip himself. Next 
day Turner and most of his men were killed by the Indians, and Foote, 
though badly wounded, was one of the few who escaped. 

_34. MARY, b. September 23, 1651, m. February 27, 1670, Nathaniel Holcomb, 
farmer, and lived in Simsbury, Conn. He was a son of Thomas Holcomb, 
of Windsor, and was b. November 4, 1648. 

...35. NATHANIEL, b. March 27, 1653, d. December 23, 1736. He m. December 
28, 1676, Deborah (dau. of Q. M. Geo.) Colton, who died November 26, 
I 733- No issue. He adopted Joshua Field as his principal heir. 

LAWRENCE, of Springfield, Mass., (son of Thomas and Margaret 
Bliss, of Hartford, Conn.,) was born in England, removed to America 
-with his father in 1635, and married in Springfield, October 25, 1654, 
to Lydia, daughter of Dea. Samuel and Margaret Wright, and died in 
[She afterwards married October 31, 1678, John Norton, who 


died August 24, 1687, and she then married John Lamb, January 7, 
1688; and after his death, September 28, 1690, she married March i,. 
1692, Q. M. George Colton, father of Capt. Thomas. He died 
February 13, 1699, and she died December 17, 1699, aged about 64.] 
Issue : 

36. LYDiA r b. November 29, 1655, d. March 27, 1656. 

37. SARAH, b. May n, and d. June 8, 1657. 

38. SARAH, b. April 4, 1658, buried September 25, 1659. 

39. SAMUEL', b. June 7, and d. June 22, 1660. 

40. *SAMUEL, b. August 16, 1662, d. 1733. 

41. HANNAH, b. May 26, 1665, m. December 17, 1691, Capt. Thomas Colton, of 

Longmeadow, Mass., (son of Q. M. George Colton,) and d. November 6, 
1737. He was born May n, 1651. 

42. SARAH, b. November 27, 1667, [m. December 13, 1695, George Webster?} 

Probably an ejror. She is supposed to have m. March 9, 1687, Samuel 
Smith, shoemaker, son of Chileab Smith and Hannah Hitchcock, of Had- 
ley, Mass. He was b. 1664, and d. August 4, 1724. She was 1. in 1742. 
It was probably her cousin Sarah, daughter of Samuel Bliss who m. Decem- 
ber 13, 1695, George Webster. 

43. *WiLL!AM, b. April 28, 1670, d. March 15, 1733. 

44. *PELATIAH, b. August 19, 1674, d. January (June?) 2, 1747. 

SAMUEL, of Springfield, Mass., called in the records " Samuel v 
Bliss, sen.," (son of Thomas and Margaret Bliss, of Hartford, 
Conn.,) was born in England in 1624, removed to America with his 
father in 1635, and married November 10, 1664-5, to Mary, daughter 
of John and Sarah [Heath] Leonard, of Springfield. She was born 
September 14, 1647, an d deid 1724. He deid March 23, 1720, aged 
ninety-six years. Issue : 

45. , HANNAH, b. December 20, 1666. John Haley, of Hadley, Mass., m. for his - 

second wife, Hannah, daughter of Samuel Bliss, and d. about 1688. She 
afterwards m. May I, 1689, Simeon Smith. 

46. *THOMAS, b. February 8, 1668, d. November 10, 1733. 

47. MARY, b. August 4, 1670, m. in 1687 Philip Smith, and d. December 23, 1707, 

at East Hartford, Conn. He was a son of Lieut. Philip Smith and Rebecca 
Foote of Hadley, Mass., was b. about 1665, andd. January 25, 1725. 

48. JONATHAN, b. January 5, 1672, d. about 1740. 

49. *MARTHA, b. June i, 1674, m. November 10, 1697, Samuel Ely. 

50. SARAH, b. September 10, 1677. She was probably the Sarah Bliss who m. 

December 13, 1695, George Webster (b. November 7, 1670) son of Thos. 
Webster and Abigail Alexander, and removed to Lebanon, Conn., about 
1705. Her cousin Sarah, daughter of Lawrence Bliss, is supposed to have 
m. March 9, 1687, Samuel Smith, of Hadley, Mass. 

51. EXPERIENCE, b. April i, 1679, d. April 7, 1697. 

52. MERCY, b. July 18, 1680, m. December 30, 1703, John Ely. He was the 

fourth son of Samuel Ely, of West Springfield, was born in Springfield in. 


1678 and d. in 1758. Issue: John, Reuben, Abner, Caleb, Noah, Mercy 
(who m. Luke Bliss), and Rachel. 

53. *EBENEZER, b. July 29, 1683, d. September 7, 1717. 

54. MARGARET, b. September n, 1684, m. January 16, 1707, to Samuel Colton, 

of Longmeadow, Mass., (b. January 17, 1679); she d. January 19, 1736. 
A daughter (Margaret) m. Joseph Frost of Newcastle, and afterwards, 
1792, Judge Ichabod Rollins, of Somersworth, N. H. 
55. ESTHER, b. April 2, 1688, m. May 10, 1716, Henry Chapin, of Chicopee, Mass. 

JOHN, of Longmeadow, Mass., (son of Thomas and Margaret 
Bliss, of Hartford, Conn.,) was born at Hartford about 1640, whence, 
after the death of his father, he was taken to Springfield by his 
mother, where he married October 7, 1667, Patience, daughter of 
Henry f and Ulalia Burt, of that place, removed to Northampton, 
Mass., in 1672, was there through his sister's famous trial for witch- 
craft, returned to Springfield about the close of the year 1685, and 
afterwards removed to Longmeadow, where he resided until his death, 
September i o, 1702. She was b. August 18, 1645 and d. October 
25, 1732. Issue: 

56. *JOHN, b. September 7, 1669, d. 1747. 

57. *NATHANIEL, b. January 26, 1671, d. 1751. 

58. *THOMAS, b. October 29, 1673, d - August 12, 1758. 

59. JOSEPH, b. 1676, d. single March I, 1754. 

60. HANNAH, b. November 16, 1678, m. May 24, 1705, Henry Wright, Chicopee^ 

Mass. She d. in 1760. 

61. HENRY, b. August 15, 1681, d. November 30, 1684. 

62. *EBENEZER, b. 1683, d. November 4, 1761. 

MAJ. JOHN, of Newport, R. I., (son of George Bliss, of England, 
and of Newport,) born about 1645, is frequently referred to in the 
records of the colony of Rhode Island, and appears to have been an 
active citizen and a man of much influence in the colony. March 
28, 1667, " Ensign " John Bliss, with three others, was appointed a 
committee "to go from house to house and take a precise and exact 
account of all the arms, ammunition, and weapons of war each person 
is furnished with, or hath in his house to spare to others, and in what 
condition with regard to service the same is in, and it to return to the 
Governor." He was admitted a freeman in Newport October 28, 
4668, was a Deputy in the General Assembly in 1679 an ^ 1683, was 
chosen by the freemen as a member of the Town Council June 4, 
1689, and again June n, 1690. In 1693, "Capt." John Bliss (and 

fHenry Burt and Ulalia, his wife, emigrated from England to Roxbury, Mass., 
thence removed to Springfield in 1640. 


three others) "was authorized to view what ammunition is needed 
for the guns, and to provide such that is wanting for them and other 
uses, out of ye monies due upon ye account of ye whole money being 
delivered or ordered them by ye Town Treasurer, as they may have 
ocation, by order of ye Governor or any two magistrates." January 
i, 1695, he was again chosen Deputy to the General Assembly, and 
appointed "Major" of the island. January 29, 1695, an acre of 
land was granted to Maj. John Bliss, on which to erect a mill. 
November 29, 1715, a deed of 102 acres of land was given "to my 
son Josiah," signed by John and Damaris Bliss. 

He was married January 24, 1666, to Damaris, daughter of Gov. 
Benedict Arnold, of the Rhode Island Colony who gave "a parcel 
of land in the precincts of Newport" to her in his will, dated in 1677. 
The name of Damaris Bliss is found in the Seventh Day Baptist 
Church records for the year 1692. Issue : 

63. A s<Jn b. September 29, d. October 18, 1668. 

64. DAMARIS, b. May 25, 1670, d. June 29, 1672. 

65. FREELOVE, b. November 16, 1672. 

66. JOHN, b. October 22, 1674. 

67. HENRY. 

68. *JosiAH, b. about 1685-6, d. about 1748. 

69. *George, b. October 25, (about 1690-3). 

70. MARCY, b. October 25, (about 1690-3). 

In reprinting so much of the Bliss Genealogy of 1881 as is contained in this book, 
I desire to thank Mr. Bliss for the assistance and information furnished me ; also 
Mr. Hoppin, Jr., for the data supplied. I trust that the publication of this book 
may arouse interest in having researches made in records to be found in different 
parts of England, that matters of historical interest from the twelfth to the sixteenth 
centuries, referring to Ihe " Early Blisses in England," may be collected and printed. 
To those wishing any line of descendants traced, from the fourth generation down, a 
letter to Mr. J. Homer Bliss, Plainfield, Conn., will receive prompt attention. 

Middletown, Conn., 1904. 


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