The Bliss Branch
UPDATED 7 May 2016
Eye-crossing complexity of Blisses. Absolutely fascinating confusion of riches of possible interpretations
The Harmon Genealogy, Artemas Canfield Harmon, 1920, p 251
They were soon fined a thousand pounds for non-conformity and thrown into prison, where they remained 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 other Puritans, were led through the marketplace in Okehampton with ropes around their necks, and fined heavily, and Jonathan and his father were thrown into prison, where the sufferings of the son eventually caused his death. At another time the king's officers seized the cattle of the Bliss family and most of their household goods, some of the articles of furniture being highly valued for their beauty and age, since they had been in the family for centuries. In fact, the family was so reduced in circumstance that it was unable to secure the release of both Jonathan and his father, so the younger man had to remain in prison and at Exeter he suffered thirty-five lashes with a three-corded whip, which tore his back in a cruel manner. Before Jonathan was released the estate had to be sold.
The father and mother went to live with their daughter who had married a man of the Established Church, Sir John Calcliffe. The remnant of the estate was divided among the three sons who were advised to go to America where they might escape persecution. Thomas and George feared to wait for Jonathan who was still very ill and they left England in the fall of 1635 with their families. Thomas, son of Jonathan and grandson of Thomas (I), remained with his father who finally died, and the son then came to join his uncles and settled near Thomas. At various times their sister sent from England boxes of shoes, clothing and articles that could not be procured in the colonies and it is through her letters long preserved, but now lost, that knowledge of the Devonshire family was preserved. Children: Jonathan, died in England, 1635-36; Thomas, born in England, about 1585, at Belstone; Elizabeth, married Sir John Calcliffe, of Belstone; George, born 1591, settled at Lynn and Sandwich, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island; Mary or Polly.
George, son of Thomas Bliss, was born in Belstone, England, in 1591, and settled in Lynn and Sandwich, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. He came to New England with his brother in 1635. He had a grant of land for a home lot at Sandwich, April 16, 1640, and was appointed to make and mend arms at Newport in 1649. He was one of the original proprietors of Quononicut and was admitted a freeman before 1655-56. He died August 31, 1667. He had a son John, mentioned below.
Jonathan Bliss, son of Thomas Bliss, of Belstone, was born about 1580, at Belstone, died in England, 1635-36. On account of his non-conformist views he was persecuted and suffered heavy fines, eventually dying at an early age, from a fever contracted in prison. Four children are said to have died in infancy, and two grew up: Thomas, mentioned below; Mary.
Thomas (2) Bliss, son of Jonathan Bliss, of Belstone, England, was born there, and on the death of his father in 1636 he went to Boston, Massachusetts, from there to Braintree, Massachusetts. He next went to Hartford, Connecticut, and finally to Weymouth, Massachusetts, where in 1643 he joined in making a settlement at Rehoboth. He was made freeman at Cambridge, May 18, 1642, and in Plymouth Colony, January 4, 1645. In June, 1645, he drew land at the Great Plain, Seekonk; in 1646 he was fence viewer; surveyor of highways in 1647. He died at Rehoboth in June, 1649, and is buried in the graveyard at Seekonk, Massachusetts, now Rumford, East Providence, Rhode Island. His will was proved June 8, 1649. He married Ide --. Children: Jonathan, born about 1625; daughter, married Thomas Williams; Mary, married Elizabeth Harmon, of Braintree; Nathaniel, seems to have left no descendants of the Bliss name.
From the Bliss Family History Society:
"THOMAS BLISS of Hartford Connecticut was probably a native of Co. Gloucester, England, and we now think he lived his adult life prior to emigrating in the city of Gloucester. First wife, ?Margaret, wife of Thomas Blisse was buried 4 Jun 1621 at St. Nicholas Church in Gloucester. Thomas had children by his first marriage to Margaret (maiden name unknown): THOMAS born c 1618, ANN born c 1620, Sarah christened 23 Apr 1620 at St Nicholas. Thomas then married Margaret Hulins of Rodborough at Gloucester St Nicholas 18th Oct 1621. Their son Nathaniel was baptised at Rodborough 28th Dec 1622. Other children by Margaret Hulins were MARY born c 1625, LAWRENCE born c 1628, HANNAH born c 1633, JOHN born c 1635, Samuel christened 4 Feb 1637/8 St Mary de Crypt, Gloucester, HESTER & ELIZABETH twins born c 1640 (Hartford?)."
Name: Thomas BLISS Sex: M Birth: in Daventry, England Death: 7 JUN 1648 in Rehoboth, Bristol County, MA Change Date: 31 DEC 1999 Reference Number: 7366 Note: 5. Thomas-1 Bliss was born circa 1590 in Daventry, England, and married there Nov. 22, 1614 Dorothy Wheatley, daughter of John Wheatly. She died in England, mother of four children. Thomas married (2) the widow of Nicholas-1 Ide and mother of Nicholas-2 Ide who was born in En gland circa 1624. Thomas brought his family to New England in 1636 and took up residence with or near his uncle Thomas Bliss who lived on the south shore of Boston Bay. His other uncle, George Bliss, was then living in Lynn Mass. on the north side of the Bay. They arrived too late in the year to build new homes and they had to buy houses where they were available. About 1639 Thomas the son of Jonathan moved to Weymouth and on May 18, 1642, took the freeman's oath there. I n 1643 the family left Weymouth with the first group of settlers for Seekonk which in time wa s renamed Rehoboth. Thomas, a blacksmith, held Commonage Rights of L153 there and participated in the early land divisions.
He d. there in 1649, his will proved at Plymouth June 8, 1649. The will was dated Dec. 7, 1647. Thomas bequeathed to his son Jonathan his house and homelot, the tools of his trade as well as two oxen named Spark and Swad, a calk and a heifer named Traveler. To his "eldest daughter" Elizabeth and Thomas Willmore he gave two oxen called Quick and Benbo, a heifer, and a cow named Damson, and all his wearing apparel. To daughter Mary and Nathaniel he left three steer calves. He named Nicholas Ide; and left his store of leather hides to his four children. His beloved friends Richard Wright and Steven Payne were asked to be overseers. His inventory was appraised by Payne and Richard Boweb ar L117.16s.4d.G These are the first generations of the three Bliss pioneers in New England. THOMAS BLISS of Hartford Connecticut was probably a native of Co. Gloucester, England and we now think he lived his adult life prior to emigrating in the City of Gloucester. First wife? Margaret wife of Thomas Blisse was buried 4 Jun 1621 at St Nicholas church in Gloucester. Thomas had children by his first marriage to Margaret (maidenname unknown)
THOMAS born c 1618
ANN born c 1620.
Sarah christened 23 Ap 1620 at St Nicholas.
Thomas then married Margaret Hulins of Rodborough at Gloucester St Nicholas 18th Oct 1621.
Their son Nathaniel was baptised at Rodborough 28th Dec 1622. Other children by Margaret Hulins were
Thomas remarried Abigail Southam Feb 1632/3. They had two children but both died and were buried at Daventry. It is not known if Thomas Bliss was accompanied by his second wife when he left for Boston MA c1638 but an Abigail Bliss, blind, was buried at Holy Cross, Daventry 6th Oct 1681.
GEORGE BLISS blacksmith of Newport, Rhode Island, son of JOHN of Preston Parva, Co. Northants and brother of Thomas of Rehoboth. Married 30 May 1635 at Daventry ANN SHAW. One son JOHN born c 1645 (Sandwich Mass.)
More Information on Bliss: Sort this out?
Biographies, p 374-5
Jonathan Bliss, jurist, was born in Springfield, MA. Descended from Thomas Bliss of Belstone, Devon, he was the son of Captain Luke and Mercy (Ely) Bliss. His parents were well-to-do, and he received a good education, entering Harvard College where he graduated in 1763. He then read law in the office of Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson, where he was a fellow student of Sampson Salter Blowers, and on his admission to the provincial bar, commenced practicing in Boston. He acquired a good connection and quickly came to the front.
In 1768 he was elected to the General Court of MA from Springfield, and was one of the minority of seventeen who were in favor of acceding to a demand of the home Government that a certain obnoxious vote should be rescinded -- hence the reproachful term "rescinder."
He was a consistent supporter of the British Government throughout the pre-revolutionary troubles. At the outbreak of hostilities in April 1775, he accompanied Earl Percy on his march to Concord following the skirmish at Lexington. Later in the same year he removed to England and resided there for nine years, joining the New England Club of Loyalists in London. His name appeared in the Massachusetts Proscription Act, 1778, as an enemy of the State, and as such he was forbidden to return thither.
In 1785 he was appointed by the Crown attorney-general of the newly formed province of New Brunswick, and leaving England, took up his residence at St. John, New Brunswick, where he practiced for twenty-four years. The year of his arrival he was elected member for St. John in the House of Assembly, and was intimately associated with all the legislation of New Brunswick's formative period.
His legal ability gave him a leading position at the bar, and he appears as counsel in most of the important causes of his time. He was retained in 1790 by Benedict Arnold in the suit for slander which the latter brought against Manson Hart. In 1809 he was appointed chief justiceof New Brunswick and retained this position till his death at Frederickton, N.B.
He married a daughter of Hon. John Worthington of Springfield, MA. As a lawyer he ranked high in the estimation of his contemporaries, and in his public career he consistently adhered to the principles of loyalty to the Crown which he had imbibed in his youth. As attorney-general and chief justice he enjoyed the unreserved confidence and respect of the people of New Brunswick.
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When a division of 6,500 Southeners attacked the outpost, and all seemed lost for the bluecoats, signalmen
flapping their flags on Kennesaw Mountain sent Corse the messages:
Corse did hold out, despite 705 casualities and 200 men lost as prisoners. Near the end, when
Sherman sent a message asking if Corse had been wounded, the defiant reply went back:
Of these materials Philip Paul Bliss wrote his popular hymn.
When a division of 6,500 Southeners attacked the outpost, and all seemed lost for the bluecoats, signalmen flapping their flags on Kennesaw Mountain sent Corse the messages:
Corse did hold out, despite 705 casualities and 200 men lost as prisoners. Near the end, when Sherman sent a message asking if Corse had been wounded, the defiant reply went back:
Of these materials Philip Paul Bliss wrote his popular hymn.