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The ancient prestige of the Bliss family is shared in full by Homer Crane Bliss, of Florence, Massachusetts, assistant treasurer of the Corticelli Silk Company. Mr. Bliss was born in Springport, Michigan, April 30, 1868. His father was George Porter Bliss and his mother Susan V. (Crane) Bliss. The first of the name of whom there is any trustworthy record was Thomas Bliss, of Belstone Parish, in the county of Devonshire, England. Thomas and George, his sons, and Thomas, a nephew, the eldest son of the first Thomas Bliss, and a son of Jonathan Bliss, came to America and are the progenitors of the Blisses of New England. The immigrant ancestors were men of education, refined manners, and were gentlemen. Their immediate descendants had none of the advantages of schools and society in England and were inferior in these respects. The name originally is supposed to have been Blois, the designation of a division of France, which gradually in America was modified to Bliss.
Thomas Bliss, the first of whom there is a record, lived near Okehampton, in the village of Belstone, in Devonshire, England. He was a yeoman, a wealthy land owner and a Puritan. He suffered many persecutions on account of his religious faith. He was finally ruined in health and fortune by the hardships and indignities forced upon him by the intolerant church party in power. He is supposed to have lived from 1550 or 1560 to about 1635 or 1640, the time when his sons came to America. His son, Jonathan, was imprisoned for non-conformity, fined heavily, ill-treated, and during long confinement contracted a fever from which he never recovered. His wife’s name is unknown. His five children were Jonathan, Thomas, Elizabeth, George, and Mary Elizabeth, who married Sir John Calcliffe.
(I) Thomas (2) Bliss, second son of Thomas Bliss, born in Belstone Parish, Devonshire, England, embarked with his brother, George and their families at Plymouth, England, and came to America, landing at Boston in the autumn of 1635. They could not remain together unless they built new houses, for which the season was too far advanced. As a result they separated. Thomas accordingly settled in Mousit, since named Braintree, and as this lad resided on a mountain he was known as “Thomas of the Mount.” This part of Braintree is now called Quincy. Thomas Bliss and his family and his brother, Jonathan’s son, Thomas, went with the Rev. Thomas Hooker to Hartford, Connecticut, where they became pioneer settlers, some time in 1636 or 1637. Trinity Street, Hartford, was long called Bliss Street from the first settlement, indeed, until about 1855. Thomas Bliss married in England, about 1612 or 1615, Margaret Lawrence. It is believed she was born about 1594. She was a woman of great capacity and force of character. She managed the affairs of the family after her husband’s death wisely and well. Her eldest daughter, Ann, married Robert Chapman, of Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1642, and removed to Saybrook where her eldest brother, Thomas Bliss, went soon after, and was married in 1644. Chills and fever prevailing in some places near the town, Margaret Bliss and her other children moved farther up the river in 1643 and made their home in Springfield. The journey of thirty miles through the forest was made by the mother and her eight children in five days. Nathaniel and Jonathan, her second and fourth sons, had prepared a house for the family on its arrival. It is said that Margaret Bliss bought a tract a mile square in the south part of the town on what is now Main Street and bordering on the Connecticut River. One of the streets laid out on the manor tract has been named Margaret and another is Bliss Street, on which has been built a Congregational Church. She lived to see all her children brought up and established in homes of their own, except Hannah, who died at twenty-three. Margaret Bliss died in Springfield, August 28, 1684, after a residence in America of almost fifty years, and forty-four years after the death of her husband. She was more than ninety years old. The children of Thomas and Margaret Bliss were: Ann, Mary, Thomas, Nathaniel, Lawrence, Samuel, Sarah, Elizabeth, Hannah, and John.
Thomas Bliss, of Hartford, Saybrook, and Norwich, Connecticut, lived also in Lynn, Massachusetts. He was married, October 30, 1645, to Elizabeth, surname unknown, and they were the parents of six children born in Saybrook. Their seventh child, Anne, born in 1660, was the second English child born in Norwich, He died April 15, 1688.
(II) Samuel Bliss, of Norwich, was born in Saybrook, December 9, 1657, and died December 30, 1729. He was married, on December 8, 1681, to Anne Elderkin, daughter of Deacon John Elderkin, and they were the parents of six children.
(III) John Bliss, son of Samuel and Anne (Elderkin) Bliss, born in Norwich, October 23, 1690, died February 1, 1741. He was graduated from Yale College at Saybrook in 1710, and was ordained as the first settled . pastor of the Congregational Church in Hebron, Connecticut, in 1717. He was married in 1719-10 to Anna —-, who died in 1732. He married later, Mrs. Hannah (Post) Barber, daughter of Phineas Post and widow of the Hon. David Barber. Ten children were born of the first marriage and two of the second.
(IV) Ellis Bliss, son of the Rev. John and Hannah (Post-Barber) Bliss, was born September 25, 1733; died July 14, 1814. He was married (first), April 7, 1757, to Tamar Dewey, who died November 29, 1769; he was married (second), April 30, 1770, to Grace Ford, daughter of Isaac Ford, of Hebron, who died October 15, 1829. Seven children were born of the first marriage and ten of the second marriage.
(V) Benjamin Bliss, son of Ellis and Grace (Ford) Bliss, born in Hebron, Connecticut, July 11, 1776, died July 24, 1858. He was married, September 2, 1801, to Lydia Strong, daughter of David and Amy (Carver) Strong. She was born December 13, 1782, and died May 19, 1831. He married (second), November 4, 1832, Sally Bliss Phelps, who died September 22, 1837. He was afterwards twice married, his fourth marriage occurring August 24, 1845, to Lydia Davis. There were n0 children of the last two marriages; six were born of the first marriage and one of the second.
(VI) John Flavel Bliss, son of Benjamin and Lydia (Strong) Bliss, of Hebron, was born August 23, 1806; and died in Owego, New York, September 18, 1836. He was married on February 18, 1830, to Mary Ann Porter, daughter of Judah and Anna (Mann) Porter, born May 20, 18,0, died December 19, 1852. They were the parents of George Porter and John Homer Bliss.
(VII) George Porter Bliss, son of John Flavel and Mary Ann (Porter) Bliss, was born in Hebron, Connecticut, November 18, 1830, and was a carpenter by trade. He enlisted in the First Connecticut Light Battery in the Civil War as a private, and was mustered into the United States service as quartermaster-sergeant on October 26, 1861. He was promoted second lieutenant, May 12, 1863, and first lieutenant, May 25, 1864. He was in the engagements at James Island, South Carolina, July 16, 1863; Chester Station, Virginia, May 10, 1864; Proctor’s Creek, Virginia, May 14, 15, 16, 1864; Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, May and June, 1864; Ware Bottom Church, Virginia, June 16, 1864; Grover House, Virginia, July 26, 1864; Deep Bottom, Virginia, August 14, 1864; before Petersburg, Virginia, August 30 to September 23, 1864; near Chapins Bluff, Virginia, October 7, 1864; Darbytown Road, Virginia, October 13, 1864. After the Civil War, George Porter Bliss went to Springport, Michigan, where he worked at his trade of carpenter for several years. He came to Northampton, in 1873, and located in Florence. He became associated with the Nonotuck Silk Mills, and had charge of their out door work. He possessed superior ability and was a man of more than ordinary attainments. He was postmaster at Florence for a number of years; a member of the Republican City Committee; councilman and alderman; a member of the Board of Health; a committee member for the building of the Northampton High School; a member of William L. Baker Post, Grand Army of the Republic; and of Wooster Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of Colchester, Connecticut. He was also a member of the Florence Congregational Church. Mr. Bliss was a man of refinement in manner and feeling; of a kindly disposition; of Christian principles, and was greatly respected for his moral worth, his integrity and honor in all transactions.
He was married, May 11, 1865, to Susan V. Crane, born May 25, 1843. They were the parents of: 1. Homer Crane, subject of this record. 2. Alfred Theodore, who died without issue in 1919. 3. George Harvey, who married, in 1894, Robina Mouat, of Chicago. To them were born five children: George L.; Jessie G.; Lucile R; Elizabeth, who died in infancy; and Florence E. George L. Bliss, the first child, was graduated from the Northampton (Massachusetts) High School, and from the University. of Pennsylvania. During the World War he served as second lieutenant in the 316th United States Infantry and as first lieutenant, commanding Company I of that regiment in the heavy fighting in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Troyon Sector and the Grand Montague Offensive. During these drives the regiment lost 1936 men in killed, wounded and missing. Lieutenant Bliss was promoted to captain and returned to the States in command of Company M, of the same regiment. He is now serving as a major in the 71st Regiment, New York National Guard. George L. Bliss is vice-president of the Franklin Society for Home Building and Savings, located at No. 15 Park Row, New York City. He married Corinne Sawyer, of Northampton, and they have one son, George D. 4. Anna Maria, who married Louis C. Phelps, and they have one daughter, Barbara Bliss Phelps.
(VIII) Homer Crane Bliss came to Florence, Massachusetts, with his parents when five years old. He was educated in the public schools of Florence and Northampton, and was graduated from the high school in 1885, and soon after was engaged as a clerk in the offices of the Nonotuck Silk Mills. The name becoming afterwards the Corticelli Silk Mill. Mr. Bliss has worked up to the office of assistant treasurer of that corporation. He has had forty years of continuous service with the company. Mr. Bliss is a vice-president and trustee of the Florence Savings Bank: a director in the First National Bank, of Northampton; a director of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; a member of the Board of Public Works; has served in the City Council; and was a member of the License Commission for nine years. He is a member of the Northampton Historical Society; a trustee of the Cooley Dickinson Hospital; a director of the Community Chest, and an associate member of the Florence Congregational Church. Fraternally he is a member of Jerusalem Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; and is a thirty-second degree Mason. He is a member of Aleppo Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, in Boston; a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and of the Northampton Club. Mr. Bliss always has taken an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community.
On October 27, 1896, Homer Crane Bliss married Eleanor M. Guilford, of Northampton. daughter of Austin and Lydia J. (Field) Guilford. They have no children. His home is at No. 9 Park Street, Florence, Massachusetts.