Bliss, John Homer
Genealogy of the Bliss family,
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.
FROM ABOUT THE YEAR 1550 TO 1880.
Compiled by JOHN HOMER BLISS, Norwich, Conn.
INCLUDING THE COMPILATIONS OF JUDGE OLIVER BLISS MORRIS, OF SPRINGFIELD,
MASS., AND SYLVESTER BLISS, ESQ., OF BOSTON, MASS.
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.
PRINTED BY THE AUTHOR.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by
JOHN HOMER BLISS,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
Small Edition published by
HENRY PUTNAM BLISS,
HENRY PUTNAM BLISS,
THE STEWART PRINTING AND PUBLISHING CO.,
TO MY ESTEEMED FRIEND,
JOHN H. BLISS,
OF BRIE, PENN.,
THIS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED,
AS A SLIGHT ACKNOWLEDGMENT
HIS GENEROUS AND UNTIRING INTEREST
ITS PROLONGED AND DIFFICULT
JOHN HOMER BLISS.
" 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-
6 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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
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
S BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
modifications, together with the lilies of France, all seem to indicate
a common French ancestry, perhaps at or near the time of the Nor-
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
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.
J. HOMER BLISS.
Norwich, Conn., 1881.
COAT OF ARMS.
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-
COAT OF ARMS. II
*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
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.
TRADITIONAL HISTORY. 13
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
14 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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;
TRADITIONAL HISTORY. 15
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
1 6 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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,
TRADITIONAL HISTORY. 1 7
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
HISTORICAL SUMMARY. 19
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
20 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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
HISTORICAL SUMMARY. 21
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
22 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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
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~
HISTORICAL SUMMARY. 23
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
24 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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.
HISTORICAL SUMMARY. 25
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.
4. ELIZABETH, (or BETTY).
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
THIRD GENERATION. 2(^
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
:30 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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
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.
THIRD GENERATION. 3!
*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.
FOURTH GENERATION. 33
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.
34 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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
FOURTH GENERATION. 35 >
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,
.36 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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
FOURTH GENERATION. 37-
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.]
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.
38 BLISS FAMILY GENEALOGY.
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.
FOURTH GENERATION. 39
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.
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.
HENRY PUTNAM BLISS.
Middletown, Conn., 1904.
University of Toronto
Acme Library Card Pocket
LOWE-MARTIN CO. LIMITED