Bliss article from Cutters  


Bliss

The Bliss family is believed to be the same as the Blois family of Normandy, gradually modified in spelling to Bloys, Blysse, Blisse, and in America, to Bliss. The family has been in England, however, since the Norman conquest, but is not numerous and never appears to have been. The coat-of-arms borne by the Bliss and Bloys families is the same; Sable, a bend vaire, between two fleurs-de-lis or. Crest: A hand holding a bundle of arrows. Motto: Semper rursom. The ancient family tradition represents the seat of the Bliss family in the south of England, and belonging to the yeomancy, though at various times some of the family were knighted.

(1) Thomas Bliss, progenitor of the American family, lived at Relstone parish, Devonshire, England. Little is known of him except that he was a wealthy landowner, and was a Puritan, persecuted on account of his faith, by civil and religious authorities, under the direction of the infamous Archbishop Laud, that he was maltreated, impoverished and imprisoned. He was reduced to poverty and his health ruined by the persecution of the Church of England. He is supposed to have been born about 1555-60, and he died about 1636. When the parliament of 1628 assembled, Puritans or Roundheads, as they were called by the Cavaliers or Tories, accompanied the members to London. Two of the sons of Thomas Bliss, Jonathan and Thomas, rode from Devonshire on iron-grey horses, and remained for some time-long enough, anyhow, for the king’s officers and spies to mark them, and from that time they, with others who had gone on the same errand to the capital, were marked for destruction. The Bliss brothers were fined a thousand pounds for their non-conformity, and thrown into prison, where they lay for weeks. Even their venerable father was dragged through the streets with the greatest indignities. On another occasion the officers of the high commission seized all their horses and all their sheep, except one poor ewe, that in its fright ran in the house and took refuge under a bed. At another time the three sons of Thomas Bliss, with a dozen Puritans, were led through the market place, in Okehampton, with ropes around their necks and also fined heavily. On another occasion Thomas was arrested and thrown into prison with his son Jonathan, who eventually died from the hardships and abuse of the churchmen. At another time the king’s officers seized the cattle of the family and most of their household goods, some of which were highly valued for their age and beauty, and as heirlooms, having been for centuries in the family. In fact, the family being so impoverished, by constant persecution, was unable to pay the fines and secure the release of both father and son from prison, so the young man remained and the father’s fine was paid. At Easter the young man received thirty-five lashes. After the father died, his widow lived with their daughter, whose husband, Sir John Calcliffe, was a communicant of the Church of England, in good standing. The remnant of the estate was divided among the three sons, who were advised to go to America to escape further persecution. Thomas and George feared to wait for Jonathan, who was ill in prison;, and they left England in the fall of 1635 with their families. Thomas, son of Jonathan, and grandson of Thomas Bliss, remained in England until his father died, and then he also came to America, settling near his uncle of the same name. At various times the sister of the immigrants sent to the brothers boxes of shoes, clothing and articles that could not be procured in the colonies, and it is through her letters, long preserved in the original but now lost, that knowledge of the family was handed down from generation to generation. Children of Thomas: Jonathan, died in England, in 1635-36; Thomas, mentioned below; Elizabeth, married Sir John Calcliffe, of Belstone; George, born 1591, died August 31, 1687, settled in Lynn, Massachusetts, and later at Sandwich, in that province, and at Newport, Rhode Island; Mary.

(II) Thomas (1), son of Thomas (1) Bliss, was born in England, at Belstone, in Devonshire, about 1585. He married in England, about 1612, Margaret _____. It is believed that her name was Margaret Lawrence, and that she was born about 1594. She is said, by good authority, to have been a good looking woman, with a square chin, indicating great strength of character. After the death of her husband, which took place about 1639, she managed the affairs of the family with great prudence and good judgment. She was energetic, efficient and of great intellectual capacity. Her eldest daughter married Robert Chapman, of Saybrook, Connecticut., April 29, 1642, and settled in Saybrook, where Thomas Bliss Jr. also settled, removing to Springfield, Massachusetts, on account of the malarial fevers then prevalent in Connecticut. She sold her property in Hartford and purchased a tract a mile square in Springfield, in the south part of the town, on what is now Main street. Margaret Bliss died August 19, 1684, full forty years after the death of her husband, and nearly fifty after she emigrated. Children: Ann, born in England; Mary, married Joseph Parsons; Thomas; Nathaniel; Lawrence; Samuel, born 1624; Sarah, born in Boston, in 1635; Elizabeth, 1637, at Boston, married Myles Morgan, founder of Springfield; Hanna, born at Hartford, in 1639; John, mentioned below.

(III) John, son of Thomas (2) Bliss, was born at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1640, died September 10, 1702. He removed to Northampton, in 1672 and was there through his sister’s trial for witchcraft. He removed to Springfield, in 1685, and soon afterward to Longmeadow, where he spent the remainder of his life. He married, October 7, 1667, Patience Burt, born August 18, 1645, died October 25, 1732, daughter of Henry Burt, of Springfield. Children: John, born September 7, 1669; Nathaniel, January 26, 1771; Thomas, mentioned below; Joseph, 1676; Hannah, November 16, 1789; Henry, August 15, 1681; Ebenezer, 1683.

(IV) Thomas (3), son of John Bliss, was born at Longmeadow, October 29, 1673, died there, August 12, 1758. He married, May 27, 1714, Mary, daughter of William and Margaret Macranny. She was born November 2, 1690, died March 30, 1761. Children, born at Longmeadow: Mary, December 4, 1715; Thomas, May 3, 1719; Henry, December 5, 1722, died young; Henry, mentioned below.

(V) Henry, son of Thomas (3) Bliss, was born August 21, 1726, at Longmeadow; died February 7-8, 1761. He was a farmer at Longmeadow. He married Ruby Brewer, of Lebanon (published December 22, 1749). The widow and children removed, in 1765, to Lebanon, Connecticut, and afterward to Bernardston, Massachusetts. Children: Thomas, born December 7, 1750; Solomon, November 8, 1751; Calvin, mentioned below; Henry, June 7, 1757; Huldah, July 2, 1759.

(VI) Calvin, son of Henry Bliss, was born at Coleraine, Massachusetts, May 14, 1754, died in October, 1849. He was a farmer at Bernardston, and, about 1800, removed to Shoreham, Addison county, Vermont. He was a soldier in the revolution, in Captain Ephraim Chain’s company, Colonel Ruggles Woodbury’s regiment, August 17, 1777, to November 29, and is said to have held a commission in Washington’s army. He married, June 26, 1777, Ruth, born May 11, 1756-57, daughter of Ebenezer and Sarah (Field) Janes, of Northfield, Vermont. Children: Ruby, born 1778; Philomela, June 11, 1782; Huldah: Solomon, mentioned below; Martha, September 15, 1788; Ruth, June 10, 1790; Mehitable, May 17, 1792; Calvin, May 14, 1794; Henry, March 27, 1796; Oliver Brewster, July 6, 1799.

(VII) Solomon, son of Calvin Bliss, was born April 9, 1786, died at Willet, New York, June 6, 1861. He settled at Preston, Chenango county, New York. He married, January 1, 1808, Anna Parker, born at Guilford, Vermont, June 30, 1786 (?), died at Henderson, New York, January 14, 1866. Children: Eunice P., born July 28, 1809; Amanda P., July 5, 1813, died young; Lydia J., January 11, 1815; Ruth, January 11, 1817, died young; Joshua P., at Preston, April 29, 1818; Ruth C., July 17, 1820; Calvin J., mentioned below; Ira G., July 27, 1824.

(VIII) Calvin J., son of Solomon Bliss, was born May 22, 1822, at Preston, New York, and settled in Willet, Cortland county, New York. He married, September 18, 1850, Betsey A. Landers, of Willet. Children: Charles Emery, mentioned below; Cora L., born September 9, 1870, at Binghamton, died August 9, 1871.

(IX) Charles Emery, son of Calvin J. Bliss, was born July 5, 1851, at Willet, and was educated in the public schools of Binghamton and in the academy. He followed farming for a number of years, and then engaged in the dry goods business at Binghamton. He was deacon of the Baptist church and superintendent of the Sunday school for many years. He died July 30, 1900. He married, June 25, 1874, Florence, daughter of Hon. George Sherwood (see Sherwood VII). The had one son, George C. S., mentioned below.

(X) George C. S., son of Charles Emery Bliss, was born April 18, 1877, at Towanda, Pennsylvania. Engaged in wholesale dry goods business in Binghamton. He married, June 25, 1902, Katherine Shieder. Children: George Emery, born February 24, 1904; Robert Leon, November 19, 1907; Barbara Ruth, February 27, 1909.


(The Sherwood Line).

(II) Isaac Sherwood, youngest son of Thomas (q.v.) And Mary (Fitch) Sherwood, was born in 1655, died in 1739. He had land grants at Eastchester, New York. In 1678 he was of Rye, New York, and, in 1687, of Westport, Connecticut. He married Elizabeth Jackson. Children: Daniel, Issac, John, David, Abigail, Thomas (mentioned below), Elizabeth.

(III) Thomas, son of Issac Sherwood, married Eleanor Churchill, of Green Farms, Connecticut. He died at Albany, New York, August 5, 1756, in the French and Indian war, in which he was captain of Whitney"s company. His wife died October 1, 1754.

(IV) John, son of Thomas Sherwood, married, March 24, 1761, Mary Gorham. Children: Asa, mentioned below; Levi, born June 17, 1764; Ellen, February 23, 1766; Abigail, November 18, 1770; John, September 10, 1773; Hezekiah, twin of John; Hannah, July 28, 1776.

(V) Asa, son of John Sherwood, was born July 4, 1762. He was a soldier in the revolution, enlisting at Fairfield, Connecticut, February 1, 1777; also in the Second Connecticut Regiment, under Colonel Swift, and in the Fourth Connecticut, under Colonel Meigs. He married Molly Phillips, daughter of a New York City merchant, who had also a son in the continental army, captured by the British and confined in one of the prison ships, but finally released through the influence of the father. Children: Isaac (mentioned below), William, Asa, David, Gorham, John, Sally and Nabby.

(VI) Isaac (2), son of Asa Sherwood, was born probably at Guilford, New York; married Amy Budlong, of Cassville, New York. Children: Johan, married Frank Ursley and lived at Waverly; Ira, married Mary Wallace and lived at Genegan, Connecticut; Asa, died young; Mary, married William Thomas and lived at Pontusac, Illinois; Eliza, married David Leach, and lived at Webster, Illinois; Stephen, married Clara Babcock, and lived at Greene; Sarah, married Albert Sprague, and lived at Binghamton; George, mentioned below; Amy, married Myron Stanton, and lived at Greene; Lucy, married Joseph Bixby, and lived at Waverly; Sophronia, married Thomas Cowan, and lived at Port Crane; Daniel, died in infancy; Mandana, married Edwin Adams, and lived at Binghamton; David, married Rosanna Warner, and lived at Greene.

(VII) Hon. George Sherwood, son of Isaac (2) Sherwood, was born in McDonough, Chenango county, New York, January 21, 1821, died in Binghamton, New York, May 24, 1903. He was a farmer, owning land in Binghamton, and a prominent citizen. He represented his district in the state assembly, in 1874-75, and was active in the temperance movement, both as a legislator and a citizen. Before the war he was an earnest Abolitionist. He was for many years a leading member and local preacher of the First Baptist Church. He was baptized by the late Rev. R. A. Washburn into the fellowship of the Baptist church, at Genegantslet Corners (now extinct or merged into other Baptist churches), and later was a member of the church at Upper Lisle. He removed to the town of Windsor, Broome county, in 1857, and while there was a member of the Baptist church in that place. He came to Binghamton and became a member of the First Baptist Church, where he served faithfully, and was an honored and valued member. In 1894, on the organization of the Park Avenue Church, he became a constituent member of that church. In all of his church life, of more than three score years, he was an earnest and faithful laborer in the Master’s service, and was ever ready to do any work that he could to promote the interest of the church and to advance the cause of Christ. To this end he contributed liberally of his money, time and talents, of which he was abundantly resourceful. In him his pastor always found a true, wise and helpful counselor, and he was ever ready to render any assistance he could. He was a ready and an earnest speaker, and very often occupied the pulpit of the pastorless churches in a very acceptable manner. He was kind and good to the aged and infirm, and often conducted religious services in the homes of those who were unable to attend church. He was a man of strong and deep convictions, ever battling for the right, and yet he always did it in his quiet, unassuming, yet firm and impressive way. He only wanted to know what was right and from that he never swerved in the path of duty. His Christian home life in the family was delightful and winning, and his children now look back upon it with sweet pleasure and the kindliest remembrances.

In public life he was most highly respected and admired, and his integrity was never questioned in any way or manner, for he always lived above reproach, and was as consistent, firm and true in all his public duties and matters entrusted to him as he was in his private and church life. He held the office of supervisor of his town when the present county poor house was erected, and was one of the committee in charge of and entrusted with that work. He represented the county in the state legislature for the years 1873-74-75. There was the crowning work of his life, for in that body, through his earnest, heroic and indefatigable efforts, he secured the passage of the bill, and the appropriation from the state, that gave to us and this section of the state the Susquehanna Valley Home, of this city, for orphan and destitute children, one of the worthiest institutions of it’s kind in the country. When others said to him he could never succeed in accomplishing these measures, he only worked the harder and adopted other methods and was untiring in his efforts to carry out his long cherished plans, and he left no stone unturned, but from the governor and the leading politicians of both parties, down to the individual members, he continued his persistent and unceasing efforts until they were crowned with abundant success. In this matter, as in all others he was interested in, he had the respect and confidence of the leading men of the legislature. They felt that he was right and they admired his perseverance, his courage, his energy and his integrity of character. He succeeded in his efforts and was one of the trustees of the home from that time until his death. He was a recognized leader in the temperance cause and was much sought for to address the people upon this subject far and wide. He was always very earnest, entertaining and interesting in his addresses, and it was a pleasure to listen to him.

He married, April 8, 1849, Mary Ann Jeffords, born February 17, 1828, died November 28, 1906, daughter of Allen Cleveland and Ann Eliza (Robinson) Jeffords. Allen C. Jeffords was a son of Amasa Jeffords, who was born in 1748, at Woodstock, Connecticut, and married (first) Sally Cleveland, and (second) Sarah Clifford. John Jeffords, father of Amasa, was a soldier at the battle of Bunker Hill, in 1775, and his father was killed in the French and Indian war. George Sherwood died May 24, 1903. His children: Florence, married, June 25, 1874, Charles Emery Bliss (see Bliss IX); Viola, died July 1, 1903; Carl G., who resides in South Dakota, in the political affairs of which state he had taken an active part, having been a state senator and a member of the first constitutional convention, married, February 10, 1885, Nellie Fountain, children: George Fountain, Harry Allen (deceased), Mary Carlton and Dolly Viola; William J., married, October 31, 1902, Iona May Bills, and had: Nellie, Mason William (deceased) and Harold; Grace Eliza, mentioned below.

(VIII) Grace Eliza, daughter of Hon. George Sherwood, was born in Binghamton, married Charles F. Parker, born September 11, 1871 (see Parker III).


(The Parker Line).

(I) Asa Parker, first of the family in New York state, came thither from the village of Green Mountain, Vermont, and settled at Port Crane, near Binghamton. He married Mary Wilson. Children: Polly, married Matthew Carroll; Caroline, married Joel Scott; Eliza, married Hervey Cronk; Henry, married (first) Olive Prentice, (second) Sarah Scoville; Morgan; Obadiah, mentioned below; Emily, married Norman Bacon; Daniel.

(II) Obadiah, son of Asa Parker, was born June 23, 1824, died March 10, 1906. He married, June 18, 1859, Candace White. Children: Delphine, married December 25, 1872, Edward Hopkins, and had Elizabeth, Hattie, Freeman, Amelia, Edward and George; Ida May, born February 4, 1865, married, February 15, 1888, Emory Wells; Carrie J., April 3, 1866, married, November 17, 1905, Avery Dart; George H., October 3, 1867, married, November 16, 1892, Emma Pond, and had Florence and Howard; Edith may; Frank, born February 20, 1869; Charles F., mentioned below.

(III) Charles F., son of Obadiah Parker, was born September 11, 1871; married, September 1, 1898, Grace Eliza, daughter of George and Mary Ann Sherwood (see Sherwood III). Children: Sherwood, born May 30, 1902; Carl Sherwood, November 14, 1905.


(The Howland Line).

(1) John Howland, the "Mayflower" ancestor, was born in England, in 1593, and came in the "Mayflower," with the first company of Pilgrims, in 1620.

(II) Desire Howland, daughter of John Howland, was born at Plymouth, in 1623. She married Captain John Gorham, or Briersfield, England, who won fame in King Phillip’s war, and the town of Gorham, Maine, named for him, has erected a monument in his memory.

(III) Jabez Gorham, son of John and Desire (Howland) Gorham, married Hannah (Sturges) Gray, a widow, and had a son Joseph, mentioned below.

(IV) Joseph, son of Jabez Gorham, was born at Bristol, Rhode Island, August 22, 1692, died January 11, 1773. He married, January 13, 1726, Deborah Barlow, born at Fairfield, Connecticut, May 1, 1705, and had a daughter Mary who married, March 24, 1761, John Sherwood (see Sherwood IV).


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