Thomas Bliss

Thomas BLISS (1588 – 1647) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Thomas Bliss – Coat of Arms

Thomas Bliss brother of George and cousin of Thomas, was born about 1588 probably in the village of Preston Parva, Daventry, Northamptonshire, England in England. His parents were John BLISS of Daventry, and later of Preston Parva, Northamptonshire and  Alice SMITH. He married Dorothy WHEATLEY on 22 Nov 1614 in Holy Cross Church, in Daventry, Northampton, England. After Dorothy died, he married Abigail Southam in Feb 1632/33 in Daventry. England.  Thomas, a blacksmith, and his children by Dorothy emigrated to Massachusetts in about 1638.  Some researchers think he married, the widow Hyde (Ide), see discussion below.  Thomas died after 7 Oct 1647 in Rehoboth, Mass.

Holy Cross Church, in Daventry, Northampton, England

Dorothy Wheatley was baptized 22 Aug 1591, Maiden Newton, Dorsetshire, England.  Her parents were  Frank WHEATLEY and Mary FIENNES of Tingsboro, Somerset, England.  The register of Holy Cross church Daventry records the burial of Dorothy Blisse 10 May 1631.  The record does not identify her as Thomas’ wife; it simply reports the burial of Dorothy Bliss and the date. In that year Thomas was churchwarden at Holy Cross, therefore a man of some repute in the town. In Feb 1632/33 Thomas Blisse married Abigail Southam. Two children were born to them but  their son Thomas was buried in 1635/36 and their daughter Amity was buried in 1637, the year before Thomas Blisse and children by Dorothy are believed to have emigrated. I believe no documentary evidence of Abigail Bliss has been found in America. But in England an Abigail Bliss was buried at Daventry 6th Oct 1681.

If the 1681 burial were Thomas’ wife, then  the traditional explanation that Thomas Bliss married the widow Ide in New England and her son Nicholas was accepted by him as a foster son who inherited a child’s portion in Thomas’s will of 1647 would be in serious question.

True no wife was metioned in the will, so it is doubtful that Abigail was present in New England at that time (if, in fact, she ever went to America with her husband). However she was alive and continued to live for many years after Thomas’s death. Her existence weakens the long-accepted suppostion (for that is all it is) that Thomas Bliss took up with the widow Ide and adopted her son as his own.  Alternatively, Dorothy died 1646 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.

Children of Thomas and Dorothy:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Elizabeth BLISS 09 Feb 1614/15
Daventry, Northampton, England.
Thomas WILMARTH
8 Jun 1645 Rehoboth, Mass.
Feb 1675/76
Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.
2. Mary Bliss 16 Mar 1615/16
Daventry, England
Nathaniel Harmon
1638
Braintree, Norfolk, Mass.
29 Jan 1712
Springfield, Hampden, Mass
3. Jane Bliss 14 Jan 1618
Daventry, England
16 Sep 1621
Daventry, England
4. John Bliss 12 Nov 1620
Daventry, England
1635
Daventry, England
5. Martha Bliss
(See discussion below)
08 Dec 1622
Daventry, England
Nicholas Ide (Actually step-son)
16 May 1647 Springfield, Hampden, Mass
Possibly died Young .
Daughter-in-law possibly died
3 Nov 1676
Rehoboth, Mass
6. Thomas Bliss 19 Nov 1624 14 Aug 1628
7. Sgt. Jonathan Bliss 11 Mar 1625/26
Daventry, England
Miriam Harmon
1648 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass
11 Jun 1687
Rehoboth, Mass

Thomas and Dorothy settled in Braintree where, according to the first book of the Boston town records, they were granted 36 acres of land in 1639. Thomas took the freeman’s oath in May of 1642 in Cambridge, and the family moved to Rehoboth in 1643. One of the original proprietors of Rehoboth, Thomas received a home lot of eight acres in the northwest end of town. They both died by 1647, owning 45 acres

Thomas was a blacksmith, farmer and surveyor, of Rehoboth, MA.   He learned the
blacksmithing trade and practiced it at Daventry.

Dorothy’s father Frank Wheatley was born in about 1562 (son of Capt. John and Mary Wheatley). He was married to Mary Fienes of Maiden Newton, Dorset, England and had seven children:

i. Dorothy WHEATLEY (baptized August 22, 1591 at
Maiden Newton and married Thomas BLISSE),

ii. John Wheatley (born 1593 at Maiden Newton and married
Leah Sanders),

iii. Richard Wheatley (baptized 4 Jan 1595 at Maiden Newton and married),

iv. Edward Wheatley (born about 1598, resided at Maiden Newton and married Elizabeth Piper),

v. Precilla Wheatley (born about 1600, married Alden Mervin and resided at East Knoyle, Wiltshire, England),

vi. Zachariah  Wheatley (born about 1602, married and resided at East Knoyle)

vii. Magdalen Wheatley (born about 1604, married Charles Polden and resided at Hastings, Sussex, England.

Thomas Bliss Home Front – Preston Parva, Noramptonshire, England

Thomas Bliss Home Rear- Preston Parva, Northamptonshire, England

Seven children were born to Thomas and Dorothy prior to their immigration to America in about 1638, of whom only three are known to have come to America with their parents. At that time Thomas was by no means a poor man. He was “wealthier” than his cousin, Thomas of Hartford, but it appears that the cost of transporting his family to the New World took the greater part of his means.

And yet Thomas was a skilled worker, not wholly dependent on the fortunes of a harvest. Though he farmed consistently, his blacksmithing expertise proved to be the foremost of the assets he was able to bring from England.

The family landed at Boston, settled at Braintree, MA, and then removed to Rehoboth. 1647 -

The last Will and Testament of Thomas Blise

Being sick in body but in perfect memory made the seventh Day of the eighth month; 1647 the said will allso Exhibbited unto the Court holden at new Plymouth the eighth of June 1649, upon the oathes of Steven Payne Edward Smith

Imprimus I give in the name of the father sonn and holy Goste my soule into the hands of god yt gave it and my body to the earth

It I give unto my soon Jonathan my house and home lot Conditionally yt hee shall give unto my sonninlaw Thomas Willmore his lot wh hee now hath and allso the one half of my broken up ground for two yeares and shall healp him to build him an house and let him peacably and quietly live in the house with him untell they shall bee able to set up a house for him

It I give unto Jonathan two of my oxen Called Spark and Swad and my heifer wh is Called traveler and my heifer Calfe at the Iland and all my beding and all my tooles Conditionly yt hee shall use them in my trade or els they shalbee Devided to my fouer Children

It I give unto my eldest Daughter and her husband Thomas Willmore my other two oxen Called quick and benbo an my broad headed heifer and my Cow Called Damson and all my wearing aparrell

It I give to my Daughter Mary and her husband Nathaneill harmon my three two yeare ould steers and ten bushells of wheat

It I give unto Nathaneell the sonn of my sonninlaw Nicolas Ide my browne heifer and my two steere Calves wh are at the Iland

It I give unto Nicolas Ide ten bushells of Rye

It I give unto my sonn Jonathan and my sonninlaw Thomas Willmore the Resedew of my Corn and allso the Rye now sowne on the ground and my Coult and all my tackling and Implements as plowes Cart and Chaines all these to be equally Devided between them allso my pot and ketell; and I Doe make them exequters Joyntly of this my will and Testament; and I Doe Intreat my trusty and wellbeloved frends Richard Wright and Steven Payne to bee overseers of this my Will yt it bee Dewly and Justly performed in Wittness heerof I have set to my hand the Day and yeare first above written; I give unto my fouer Children my hide of leather which is in William ffeilds hand to be equalli Devided between them; and if any of my Children shall seeck to Defraude the others of any pt of theire Right or shall bee any wayes troublesom and it bee Justly proved hee shall forfeite all his part heer menssioned to be equally Devided between the Rest

In the prsence of Thomas Blise
Steven Payne
Edward Smith

An Inventary of the goods and chattells of the late deseassed Thomas blise takein The 21 of the eight month [October] 1647.
Item £ s d
Impri his wearing aparell 3 0 0
It one fether bede 2 bolsters one blanked and one
coverlid and 2 sheets
4 0 0
It one Iron pot one brasse kittle 0 10 0
It 3 payls one tube 0 6 0
It in bookes 0 5 0
It 3 axsses one throw one hatchet one adds one wimble 0 12 0
It 2 sithes one how 0 6 0
It one ould muskate one pistoll one pistollbarell and
one barell of a peece and 2 ould swords
1 10 0
It 3 pitchforks one mukeforke . 0 5 0
It Iron and Steelle 0 9 0
It 2 beetleRings one wedge one mortising axe 0 6 0
It one warming pan one pot crooke one paire of pot
hooks one frying pan
0 10 0
It one payer of stillyards 0 3 0
It one horse harnesse one Sadle tree 0 7 0
It 2 meale troughs tow old hoggsheads 0 6 0
It one ould bagg 0 10
It in oattes pilcorn and peasen 0 12 0
It all the tooles belonging unto the Smiths trade 22 0 0
It one hyde of soallether 1 4 0
It 2 sives 0 1
It 2 oxen 12 0 0
It one Cow 5 5 0
It 2 oxen 22 0 0
It one Cow 5 0 0
It one heaifer 4 15 0
It 3 young Steers 8 0 0
It one Cow 5 5 0
It one court 7 0 0
It 3 calves 4 0 0
It 2 swyne 2 10 0
It haye 8 0 0
It wheat 6 15 0
It Rye 1 0 0
It in chaynes 0 12 0
It 2 plows and plow Irons 1 0 0
It one cartrope 0 4 0
It 2 yookes 0 5 0
It one cart 1 0 0
It Indian corn 1 6 0
It hempe 0 1 0
It one ould Sawe and other ould lumber 0 10 0
Sum 117 16 4

Aprised by Steven payne and Richard Bowin at a generall court holden at neu plimouth the 7th of March 1647 Johnathan Blise and Thomas willmore testified Upon oath before the said court yt this is a true Inventory of the goods and chattels of thomas Blise above written

Children

1. Elizabeth BLISS (See Thomas WILMARTH‘s page)

2. Mary Bliss

Mary’s husband Nathaniel Harmon was born 1616 in England. His parents were Francis Harmon and Sarah Martin.  His sister Miriam married Mary’s brother Jonathan. Nathaniel died 1693 in Milton, Norfolk Co., Mass.

5. Martha Bliss?

According to researcher Tom B., Thomas was married a second time in England. According to this theory, Thomas did not have a daughter Martha and Nicholas Ide was his step-son, not his son-in-law.

That a marriage between Nicholas Ide and Martha Bliss occurred at Springfield in 1647 is a fabrication and a confused one at that. There were two, contemporary Thomas Blisses, one of Rehoboth (d. there between 7 Oct. 1647 [will] and 21 Oct. 1647 [estate inventory]), the other of Hartford, Conn. (d. there shortly before 14 Feb. 1650/51; his wife was Margaret Hulins [TAG 52(1976): 193-97, 60(1984): 202]). At least one of Hartford Thomas’s children was living at Springfield by 1646, and others followed. Thomas of Rehoboth and his children, on the other hand, never resided at Springfield.  No daughter Martha is recorded for either man. While a baptismal date of 8 December 1622 is often attributed to Martha, supposed daughter of Rehoboth Thomas Bliss, it was his son Nathaniel who was baptized at Daventry, Northamptonshire, England, on that date.

Who can the fourth child mentioned in Thomas’ will be, if not Nicholas Ide? He is mentioned in relation to “Nathaneell the son of my sonninlaw Nicolas Ide,” not “my grandson Nathaneell” or “Nathaneell, the son of my daughter Martha.”

The reference in Thomas Bliss’s will to “my sonninlaw Nicolas Ide,” seems to indicate that Ide had married Bliss’s daughter. This, however, is not the case. With his first wife, Dorothy Wheatlie, Bliss had seven known children (baptized 1615-1626), of whom none was named Martha (BLISS FAMILY, 1:36). Bliss’s will, dated “the seventh day of the eighth month [October] 1647,” names only three of these seven; it nevertheless speaks of “my fouer Children” (Plymouth Colony Wills, 1:67 [will], 68 [inventory, dated "the 21 of the eighth month (Oct.) 1647"]). The will refers to Bliss’s surviving daughters’ husbands in association with their respective wives: “my eldest Daughter [Elizabeth] and her husband Thomas Willmore [i.e., Wilmarth]” and “my Daughter Mary and her husband Nathaneell Harmon.” “[S]onninlaw” Nicholas Ide, by contrast, is mentioned only in relation to Ide’s son “Nathaneell.” While these facts are significant in their own right, they become all the more so when it is understood that the term SON-IN-LAW was commonly used at this time to mean STEPSON.

The conclusion is inescapable: Nicholas Ide, by virtue of his widowed mother’s having become Thomas Bliss’s second wife, was Bliss’s stepson and NOT the husband of a Bliss daughter. That Ide was the fourth of Bliss’s “fouer Children” is confirmed by the petition of “Nicolas Hyde” to the Plymouth Colony General Court, 7 June 1648, “for a childs portion of the estat[e] of Thomas Blisse, desseased”

Die-hards who might argue that Nicholas could have married his stepsister should recall that there is no record of Thomas Bliss’s having had a daughter Martha. New England colonists, moreover, would have considered such a marriage as bordering on incest.

If Nicholas Ide’s son Nathaniel had been Thomas Bliss’s natural grandson (Bliss’s will refers to him only as Ide’s son), Ide’s petition for a full, child’s share of Bliss’s estate would have been made on behalf of Nathaniel; it wasn’t. Of course, if the petition were on behalf of Nathaniel, it would indicate that his mother (a Bliss daughter in this scenario) had died. But Martha Ide (bur. Rehoboth, 3 Nov. 1676) was alive when both the will and the petition were made (8 Oct. 1747 and 7 June 1648, respectively). That being so, if she had been Thomas Bliss’s daughter, Nicholas Ide would have had absolutely no grounds for his petition

Finally, here’s an explanation which requires two assumptions, but does fit all the facts:  Thomas Bliss’ daughter Martha born in 1622 died young.  Nicholas Ide, Thomas’ step-son also married a woman named Martha, but she was a different woman.

7. Sgt. Jonathan Bliss

Jonathan’s wife Rachel Pfuffer was born about 1626 in England.  Her parents were George Puffer b: ABT 1600 in England and Elizabeth Sedley b: ABT 1605. Rachel died 21 MAY 1676 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.

“Jonathan Bliss probably married Rachel Puffer, according to Eugene Cole Zubrinsky’s ‘To Say It Doesn’t Make It So: Clues to the Probable Identity of the Wife of Jonathan Bliss of Rehoboth, MA,’ in ‘NEHGR’, 151 (1997), 31-37.” [Ancestral Lines]

Miriam Harmon was born in England.  Her parents were Francis Harmon and Sarah Martin.

According New England Hist and Gen Register vol 151 (Jan 1997) 31-37  Jonathan’s did not marry Miriam Harmon. The entire article is about the wife of Jonathan Bliss, with conclusion that the conventional Miriam idea is certainly wrong, but the most probable is that she was the daughter of George Puffer of Braintree, posibly a Rachel?

Early in the eighteenth century the first settlers of Rehoboth who had come from Weymouth with Samuel Newman in 1643, had passed away and their descendants had spread out from the “ring of the town” which is now East Providence Center. Some of the more enterprising had moved as far east as Palmer’s River and were settled along the borders of that stream. Following the river up from the Swansea line, we find the Thurbers the Smiths, the Burrs, the Palmers, the Bullocks, the Aliens, the Millers, the Martins and the Millards; then the Lakes, the Pecks, the Fullers and the Blisses; still farther up, the Blandings, the Hunts, the Wilmarths, the Carpenters and the Read ways; then the Wheatons, the Perrys and the Blisses again.

These sturdy and devout men and women, prizing the ministrations of the Sanctuary, found it difficult to attend worship at the Newman Church so far away, and petitioned the General Court in 1711 to have the town divided into two separate precincts for the support of the ministry. This the people in the older part of the town opposed by a counter petition. Thus arose a sort of distrust and rivalry between the east and west sections of the town, which increased until it culminated in 1759 in two distinct precincts; and in 1812, the year after the ”fighting town meeting,” in two separate towns.

In May, 1713, the General Court recommended to Rehoboth to raise one hundred and twenty pounds for the support of two ministers, — one at Palmer’s River.

In 1717 the people at Palmer’s River, by the consent of the Court, began to build a meeting-house in their part of the town, which was finished and occupied in 1721.

It stood half a mile north of the Orleans factory, on Lake Street, on the spot now marked by the remains of the old burying-ground. The lot includes three acres of land given by the brothers Nathniel and Samuel Peck and Jonathan Bliss, each giving one acre.

The parent church had been granted two hundred and fifty pounds for building a new meeting-house; of this they relinquished fifty pounds to aid the church at Palmer’s River, receiving a written release from any further payments. They also gave the facing of the galleries and the pulpit of their old meeting-house.

The Church was organized Nov. 29, 1721, consisting of ten members, David Turner (pastor), Elisha May, Thomas Ormsbee (deacons), Jathniel Peck, Samuel Peck, Benjamin Wilson, Solomon Millard, Samuel Fuller, William Blanding, Joseph Wilson. The worshippers were to be seated with discrimination, according to dignity, age and liberality toward the building and supporting of the church.

The business of the two churches and societies was “managed by the town as the affairs of one church,” and the expenses of both were to be borne by the whole town, an arrangement which,
according to the precinct record, “occasioned great difficulties.” They continued to be thus managed until the year 1759, each voter paying a yearly town rate and a ministerial rate collected by constables.

Children of Jonathan and Rachel:

i. Experience Bliss b: 5 FEB 1649 in Rehoboth, MA

ii. Rachel Bliss b: 1 DEC 1651 in Rehoboth, MA

iii. Jonathan Bliss b: 4 MAR 1653

iv. Mary Bliss b: 30 SEP 1655 in Rehoboth, MA

v. Elizabeth Bliss b: 29 JAN 1657 in Rehoboth, MA

vi. Samuel Bliss b: 24 JUN 1660 in Rehoboth, MA

vii. Martha Bliss b: APR 1663

viii. Jonathan Bliss b: 17 SEP 1666 in Rehoboth, Bristol, MA [Rehoboth vital records] sometimes rec. as Timothy He first married Miriam Carpenter 3 Jun  1691 at Rehoboth, MA.

After Miriam died, he married 10 APR 1711 Rehoboth to Mary French, daughter of John FRENCH Jr. and Hannah PALMER. Jonathan died 16 Oct 1719 in Rehoboth, Mass.

Jonathan Bliss Headstone – Palmer River Churchyard Cemetery Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts, – Note that The double “S” is written the archaic way, the first “s” looks like an “f”

ix. Dorothy Bliss b: 27 JAN 1668 in Rehoboth, MA; m.  m. 26 JUN 1690 Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass. to James Carpenter b. 12 APR 1668 Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.; d. 27 APR 1738 Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass. His parents were Samuel Carpenter and Sarah Redway and his grandparents were William CARPENTER Jr. and Abigail BRIANT.

x. Bethia Bliss b: AUG 1671 in Rehoboth, MA

Sources:

http://members.cox.net/spartanshope/Tree/famf204.html

http://www.usgennet.org/family/bliss/rehoboth/tbliss/tblisswill.htm

http://www.usgennet.org/family/bliss/index.html

http://rickster.org/ancestry/b27018.htm#P52032

Two of the more reliable secondary sources pertaining to these men and their families are Donald L. Jacobus and Edgar R. Waterman, HALE, HOUSE AND RELATED FAMILIES [1952], pp. 476-80, and Aaron T. Bliss, GENEALOGY OF THE BLISS FAMILY IN AMERICA, 3 vols. [1982]

New England families, genealogical and memorial: a record of the …, Volume 4 edited by William Richard Cutter 1915  (Story of Nicholas Ide)

http://genforum.genealogy.com/ide/messages/275.html (See message string for detailed arguments about history of Nicholas Ide and Martha Bliss.

A History of Rehoboth, Massachusetts: Its History for 275 Years, 1643-1918 (1918) By George Henry Tilton , Leonard Bliss 1918

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9 Responses to Thomas Bliss

  1. Pingback: Richard Ormsby | Miner Descent

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  5. Bob Ruth says:

    I am researching Thomas Bliss (1588) and Margaret Lawrence. I don’t have her DOB.
    The following is taken from “Miner Descent”. It provides information on Thomas and spouse Dorothy Wheatley, however when it list their children it list Thomas’ spouse as “Elizabeth”. It does not identify “Elizabeth”. Their second daughter “Mary is listed as married to Joseph Parsons. That is the same info I have so I must be on the right track.
    Can you identify the Margaret Lawrence that married Thomas Bliss?

    Thomas BLISS (1588 – 1647) was Alex’s 11th Great Grandfather, one of 4,096 in this generation of the Shaw line.His parents were John BLISS of Daventry, and later of Preston Parva, Northamptonshire and Alice SMITH. He married Dorothy WHEATLEY on 22 Nov 1614 in Holy Cross Church, in Daventry, Northampton, England. Thomas, a blacksmith, and Dorothy emigrated to Massachusetts in about 1638. Thomas died after 07 Oct 1647 in Rehoboth, Mass.
    Her parents were Frank WHEATLEY and Mary FIENNES. Dorothy died 1646 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.
    Children of Thomas and Elizabeth:

    1. Elizabeth BLISS, born 09 Feb 1614/15, Daventry, Northampton, England. Spouse: Thomas WILMARTH, married 8 Jun 1645 in Rehoboth, Mass, died Feb 1675/76 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Mass.
    2. Mary Bliss born 16 Mar 1615/16, unknown location. Spouse: Joseph Parsons, married 26 Nov 1646, in Springfield, Mass, died 29 Jan 1712, Springfield, Hampden, Mass
    It then list the remaining children.

    Thanks
    Bob

    .

    • markeminer says:

      Hi Bob,
      Thanks for your sharp eyes, I corrected a typo and this page now reads “Children of Thomas and Dorothy”

      Also, the Mary Bliss that married Joseph Parsons in 26 Nov 1646 in Springfield, Mass was the daughter of “your” Thomas Bliss. This Mary Bliss only married Nathaniel Harmon
      in 1638 in Braintree, Norfolk, Mass. (Not her second husband as I had it before.)

      Your query got me looking into a controversy whether Nicholas Ide was Thomas’ son-in-law or step-son. For the detailed arguments see the message string at http://genforum.genealogy.com/ide/messages/275.html

      My personal explanation requires two assumptions, but does fit all the facts: Thomas Bliss’ daughter Martha born in 1622 died young. Nicholas Ide, Thomas’ step-son also married a woman named Martha, but she was a different woman.

      Your Thomas Bliss immigrated to Hartford, CT. Several sources state that he was the cousin of my Thomas and George, The relationship is unproven, but it is interesting coincidence that both family branches had a Thomas, Johns, George and Jonathan. This Thomas was from Devon while my Bliss ancestors originated in Northampton.

      Many sources say he married Margaret Lawrence, but the more accepted interpretation is that Thomas’ wife Margaret Hulings was born 15 Jul 1595 Rodborough, Gloucestershire, England. Her parents were John Hulings and Margaret Lawrence. She married Thomas Bliss 18 Oct 1620. Margaret died 28 Aug 1684 – Springfield, Hampden County, Mass., full forty years after the death of her husband, and nearly fifty after she emigrated.

      Margaret’s story is very interesting. For example, she is the only woman I know of who was accepted as “freeman.” I put the details on my Thomas Bliss’ father’s page. See

      http://minerdescent.com/2011/12/01/john-bliss/

      Cheers!, Mark

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