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The Bliss Family Tree Genealogy
Bliss Family Ancestor
Mary Bliss (about 1651-1722)
8th Great Grandmother
Donald Scott Lee’s Bliss Pedigree
Donald Scott Lee (1945)
Wendell Orie Lee (1922-1999)
Orie Finiae Lee (1896-1984)
Joseph Francis Lee (1867-1933)
2nd Great Grandfather
Charles Henry Lee (1837-1905)
3rd Great Grandmother
Betsy Ann Benson (1814-1889)
4th Great Grandmother
Keziah Barber Messenger (1780-1857)
5th Great Grandmother
Jemima Barber (1741-1781)
6th Great Grandfather
Johnathan Barber (1717-1745)
7th Great Grandmother
Sarah Holcombe (1691-1787)
8 Great Grandmother
Mary Bliss (1651-Before 1722)
Bliss Family Ancestors and Genealogy
8th Great Grandmother
Mary Bliss (1651-B.1722)
Mary was born in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts on September 23,1651. Mary was the daughter of Nathaniel Bliss and Catharine Chapin. Mary married Nathaniel Holcombe on February 27, 1670, in Springfield, Massachusetts. Mary and Nathaniel Holcomb had 11 children. Mary died at about 72 years old and Nathaniel took a second wife, Sarah Owen, although they did not have any children. Mary’s father was Nathaniel Bliss of Springfield, Massachusetts.
9 Great Grandfather
Nathaniel Bliss (1622-1654)
Nathaniel Bliss Sr. was born about 1622 in England and emigrated to America in 1635 with his parents. After his father died, he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts with his mother about 1643. Three years later Nathaniel married Catherine Chapin. Nathaniel and Catherine had four children, Samuel who lived to be over 101 years, Margaret who married Nathaniel Foote, Mary and Nathaniel Jr.. Nathaniel died at about 32 years of age and his wife Catherine married two more times and bore another 8 children by her husbands. Catherine died in 1712. It is of interest that at the time men far out numbered the women so if one lost their husband they were quick to remarry especially ones with small children. Nathaniel’s father was Thomas Bliss of Hartford, Connecticut.
10th Great Grandfather
Thomas Bliss Jr. (1588-1649)
Thomas Bliss was born in England about 1588. After Thomas and his brother George got their father out of prison in England, and sold the family estate there, both he and his brother brought their families to America. Their family had been devastated by the religious leaders who were in power at the time, because of their puritanical way of life. Thomas became a freeman in 1642-5 in Cambridge and in the Plymouth Colony. He was one of the founders of the town of Rehoboth and died there in June of 1649. Thomas’ father was Thomas Bliss of Belstone, Devonshire, England.
11th Great Grandfather
Thomas Bliss Sr. was born in England. He was a wealthy land-owner for sometime until he was continuously persecuted by the religious authorities. In time he lost everything and was humiliated in public and imprisoned for his beliefs. His oldest son, Jonathan was also imprisoned and subsequently died from the infection he acquired while locked up. Two of Thomas’ sons, George and Thomas emigrated to America but his oldest, Jonathan, was too sick to travel and died from his sickness. Thomas’ father was John Bliss.
Soldiers in King Philip’s War courtesy of WikiMedia.com
Rehoboth was the site of significant fighting in King Philip’s War (1675-1676) although it was long after Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth died. King Philip led surprise attacks on settlers, killing them and burning the houses, creating great fear among them. Thomas Bliss II, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, the son of the imprisoned Jonathan Bliss, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1636. Thomas joined his uncles who arrived the year before. He was appointed ‘surveyor of highways’ in 1647 in the town of Seekonk, part of Rehoboth. Thomas died in Rehoboth in June of 1649.. Rehoboth is one of oldest historic towns in Massachusetts, established in 1643. It has over 50 historic cemeteries.
Photo by D. Scott Lee 2017
Anawan Rock is the site of the capture of the Wampanoag Indian Chief Anawan by Captain Benjamin Church on August 28, 1676, thus ending King Philip’s War. Anawan Rock is in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
9th Great Grandmother
Catherine was the wife of Nathaniel Bliss. She was the daughter of Deacon Samuel Chapin (1698-1675). Catherine’s mother was Cicely Penny (1601-1683).
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
‘The Puritan’ statue in Springfield, Massachusetts is Deacon Samuel Chapin, 10th great grandfather. This fine bronze statue stands in Merrick Park in Springfield. The artist is Augustus St. Gauden and the statue was commissioned by Chester W. Chapin, Springfield’s railroad magnate. Originally dedicated in 1887.
Samuel Chapin came to New England with his wife, Cicely, three sons and two daughters in 1635. Samuel survived the Pequot War and helped William Pynchon found the new town as Agawam, later renamed Springfield.
The Bliss Surname
According to the House of Names.Com the surname of Bliss is originally from the area of Blois, in the Loir-et-Cher region of France. Our English Bliss ancestors arrived in England after the Norman Conquest by Duke William of Normandy. They became wealthy land barons who acknowledged fidelity to their King.
The Bliss Brothers
During the time of the great migration from European countries including England, families who were being persecuted because of their beliefs sought a new life in North America, a land of religious freedom and opportunity. Unfortunately the risk of sailing to America was great, as some lost their loved ones, friends and comrades to hunger and disease on the voyage. However, the Bliss brothers, Thomas Jr. and George, with their families, made it to the new land intact.
The Bliss brothers who settled in the colonies in the autumn of 1635 were from Belstone, Devonshire, which is a couple hundred miles out of London. The Bliss family of England was Puritan in faith and consequently persecuted by the authorities. Thomas Bliss, the patriarch of the Bliss clan was thrown into prison, along with his oldest son, Jonathan.
The puritans in conference with King James I of England. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Thomas’ other sons, Thomas II, and George, raised bail for their father but did not have enough money to free their brother. Jonathan received a severe whipping during his imprisonment. His backed was covered with scars. Just because he would not confirm to the ‘royal religion’ and wanted to worhip God in his own way. By the time Jonathan was freed, his family had sold the estate and moved. Thomas the father, told his sons to go to America. However, Jonathan was very sick and frail from his imprisonment.
George and Thomas Jr. and their families embarked in the autumn of 1635. Their brother, Jonathan never saw America as he died from the treatment he received while in prison. However, Jonathan’s son, Thomas III joined his uncles a year later. This is the ‘trailhead’ for those researching the Bliss Family of America.
Puritan Thomas Bliss Persecuted
Like other active Puritans in England, Thomas Bliss and his son, Jonathan were greatly persecuted by the English authorities for their beliefs. They were not afraid to confront the status quo regarding keeping the Sabbath.
From the book Our Greater Country by Northrop, Henry Davenport (1836-1909; The Library of Congress, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Fae
War Chief Metacomet 1638-1676
Metacomet was a ‘war chief’ of the Wampanoag Indians. He and his warriors reeked havoc on the Colonists. The colonist called him King Philip.
Portrait of King Philip or Metacomet; The history of King Philip’s War; 1827; Drake, Wikimedia Commons
Bliss Family Research
GenealogGeek - Nerdy Ramblings about my Ancestors. Holcombe, Bliss, Chapin, et al family ancestors.
WikiTree - Nathaniel Bliss and Catherine Chapin Famiy Tree. Profile manager Lydia Vierson and others.
Archives.org - Genealogy of Bliss Family of America by Col. John H. Bliss.
The Bliss Family History Society - Pioneers, Settlers and Colonists. Thomas Bliss, Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
Page Background Image Credits: ‘To Visit The Imprisoned’ by Cornelis De Wael (1592-1667) Painting circa 1640. Cornelius was a Flemish painter, draughtsman, etcher and art dealer. He was from Antwerp, Belgium. Wikipedia Image is courtesy of DcoetzeeBot at Wikimedia Commons.
Sources: 1) New England Families; American Historical Society; 1916 2) The Salem Book: Records of the Past and Glimpses of the Present; Salem Historical Committee