"Bicentennial Bliss"

The Story of Eleaser Bliss

By Dan Touse <DTouse@catskill.net>

 

Below is based on personal research & A Tyler Bliss' "Bliss Family in America."

 

"ELEAZER BLISS WAS LIVING IN BERKSHIRE, IN WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS AS EARLY AS 1785. HIS SON JESSE IS RECORDED AS HAVING BEEN BORN THERE ON 15 DECEMBER 1787. ELEAZER'S BROTHER ABRAHAM SETTLED IN SCHODACK, N.Y., AND LEVI ESTABLISHED A LARGE FAMILY AT SALISBURY, HERKIMER COUNTY, JUST NORTH OF OTSEGO COUNTY. IT WAS PROBABLY JACOB BLISS, BORN 16 OCTOBER 1739 AT REHOBOTH, WHO WAS THE FIRST OF THE BLISS FAMILY TO SETTLE IN OTSEGO COUNTY. JACOB MARRIED MARY SHERLOCK AND RESIDED IN RICHMOND, MASS. FOR APPROXIMATELY TWENTY YEARS, THEN MOVED TO THE TOWN OF OTSEGO, PERHAPS BY 1800. I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO RESEARCH THE DEEDS OR EARLY MAPS OF OTSEGO COUNTY BUT SUSPECT HIS FARM WAS JUST NORTHEAST OF HARTWICK VILLAGE. IN 1975 I FOUND AN OLD FARM WITH SEVERAL OF THE FAMILY GRAVESTONES LAYING FLAT ON THE GROUND ALONG THE DRIVE. JACOB BLISS "OF THE TOWN OF OTSEGO" SIGNED AS A WITNESS THE DEED FOR HIS BROTHER'S, "ELEAZER OF RENSSALAERVILLE, BUT LATE OF HARTWICK", PURCHASE OF LAND IN THE TOWN OF HARTWICK.

ELEAZER BLISS WAS BORN 7 MAY 1745 IN REHOBOTH, MASS. HE LEARNED THE MILLING TRADE FROM HIS FATHER ABRAHAM AND WITH HIM OPERATED THE FAMILY SAW AND GRIST MILL DURING THE REVOLUTION. HE WAS MARRIED TO BETSEY INGALLS 16 FEBRUARY 1769 AND HAD THREE CHILDREN BORN AT REHOBOTH BEFORE REMOVING TO BERKSHIRE WHERE HE WAS ALSO AN EXTENSIVE MILLER. AS MENTIONED EARLIER, ELEAZER PARTICIPATED IN THE REVOLUTION, SERVING AS PRIVATE IN CAPT. JOSEPH WILMARTH'S COMPANY, COL.THOMAS CARPENTER'S REGIMENT, IN A MARCH FROM REHOBOTH TO TIVERTON, R.I. FROM 1 AUGUST 1780 - 8 AUGUST 1780 IN ANSWER TO AN ALARM AT TIVERTON. IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE BOTH OFFICERS WERE RELATIVES OF ELEAZER. HIS GREAT GRANDFATHER JONATHAN'S SISTER MARRIED THOMAS WILMARTH. JONATHAN'S SON JONATHAN MARRIED MIRIAM CARPENTER; HIS DAUGHTER BETHIA MARRIED MIRIAM'S BROTHER DANIEL. SOMETIME AFTER THE BIRTH OF JESSE, ELEAZER MOVED HIS FAMILY TO RENSSALAERVILLE, SOUTHWEST OF ALBANY. IT IS NOT KNOWN WHAT BROUGHT ELEAZER TO OTSEGO COUNTY. PERHAPS IT WAS HIS BROTHER JACOB. OR PERHAPS IT WAS HIS WIFE'S BROTHER, STEVEN INGALLS, WHO HAD BEEN IN THE COUNTY SINCE AT LEAST 1791. IN ANY EVENT THEY CAME NO LATER THAN 1803 WHEN THEY PURCHASED THE PROPERTY IN HARTWICK MENTIONED EARLIER.

THE BLISS FARM WAS LOCATED IN THAT VICINITY LATER KNOWN AS CHRISTIAN HILL. AT THE TIME HE ARRIVED IT WAS STILL VERY MUCH A FRONTIER WITH THE PATHS FROM ONE SETTLEMENT TO THE NEXT MARKED BY BLAZED TREES. AMONG HIS EARLY NEIGHBORS WERE THE BRESEES, FIELDS, STEELES, AND WINSORS. ELEAZER'S WIFE BETSEY DIED 25 MAY 1808 AND IS BURIED IN THE "FIELD CEMETERY", LITERALLY LOCATED BY A CORN FIELD BEHIND A FARMHOUSE ON THE ROAD BETWEEN HARTWICK VILLAGE AND COOPERSTOWN. HE NEXT MARRIED MRS. SALLY TUTTLE, PRIOR TO 1810. SALLY WAS LISTED AS A WIDOW IN THE 1800 CENSUS FOR LANESBOROUGH, BERKSHIRE, MASS, WITH TWO SONS AND A DAUGHTER, ALL UNDER AGE TEN. SHE APPEARS AS A WIDOW IN HARTWICK AS EARLY AS 1804. NOT LONG AFTER ELEAZER'S SON JESSE MARRIED SALLY'S DAUGHTER, FANNY TUTTLE. IN 1814 ELEAZER'S SONS JESSE AND ELEAZER ELIAS, AND THE LATTERS WIFE CLARISSA, WERE AMONG THE SMALL GROUP OF HARTWICK CITIZENS WHO BANDED TOGETHER TO FORM THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF HARTWICK. LATER, "THE OLD STONE CHURCH" WAS ERECTED AT CHRISTIAN HILL BORDERING THE BLISS FARM.

THERE WAS ONE RARE ARTICLE PERTAINING TO ELEAZER WHICH APPEARED IN THE 4 DECEMBER 1818 ISSUE OF THE OTSEGO HERALD:

"ABSCONDED - FROM THE SERVICE OF THE SUBSCRIBER, ON THE

3RD INST. AN APPRENTICE GIRL NAMED POLLY COLE, ABOUT

TWELVE YEARS OF AGE. WHOEVER SHALL RETURN HER TO THE

SUBSCRIBER SHALL RECEIVE 1 CENT REWARD, BUT NO CHARGES

WILL BE PAID. ALL PERSONS ARE FORETOLD AGAINST HARBOR-

ING OR TRUSTING HER ON MY ACCOUNT. ELEAZER BLISS"

 

IT WOULD PROBABLY BE UNFAIR TO DRAW ANY CONCLUSIONS BASED ON THIS ONE FRAGMENT OF EVIDENCE. IT IS WRITTEN THAT ELEAZER AND SALLY LIVED OUT THERE YEARS HAPPILY ON THEIR HARTWICK FARM WHERE SALLY DIED IN MARCH OF 1833 AND ELEAZER DIED THAT SAME SEPTEMBER AT THE AGE OF 88! THEY SOLD THAT FARM IN 1830 AS INDICATED BELOW:

FREEMAN'S JOURNAL, 7 NOV 1830:

"THE SUBSCRIBER WILL SELL AT PUBLIC AUCTION, ON WED. THE 8TH

OF DECEMBER NEXT, AT 10 O'CLOCK A.M. AT HIS DWELLING HOUSE IN THE

TOWN OF OTSEGO, SITUATE ONE MILE WEST OF STEARES TANNERY, SEVERAL

YOUNG HORSES, 14 COWS, ONE YOKE OF OXEN, ALSO A NUMBER OF YOUNG CAT-

TLE AND HOGS. ALSO, HIS STOCK OF HAY AND FARMING UTENSILS WITH WAGONS,

CARTS, SLEDS ETC. LIKEWISE A VARIETY OF HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE. THE

TERMS OF THE SALE WILL BE, FOR ALL PURCHASES TO THE AMOUNT OF $5.00,

CASH, IN HAND...OVER THAT SUM, NOTE, AT 1 YEAR, INTEREST, WITH AP-

PROVED SECURITY." ELEAZER BLISS

 

PRESUMABLY THEY CONTINUED TO LIVE WITH JESSE. SALLY DIED 12 MAR 1833, AGE 73. THE FOLLOWING 8 SEPTEMBER ISSUE OF THE FREEMAN'S JOURNAL ANNOUNCED: "DIED IN HARTWICK, ON THE 2D INST. AFTER A SEVERE SICKNESS OF THREE WEEKS, MR ELEAZER BLISS, IN THE 89TH YEAR OF HIS AGE."

ELEAZER ELIAS, SON OF ELEAZER, APPEARS TO HAVE REMAINED IN OTSEGO COUNTY UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1850. HOWEVER, MOST OF HIS CHILDREN MOVED ON, WITH THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF LUCY (STEERE) WHO DIED AT HARTWICK. HER SON, SCHUYLER BLISS STEERE, WAS A COTTON BROKER IN COLUMBUS, MISS. IN 1865! HIS FOUR SONS - ABRAHAM, SYLVESTER, ELEAZER, AND SCHUYLER - ALL MOVED TO ALLEGANY AND WYOMING COUNTIES IN WESTERN NY. AGAIN THIS NEW LAND WAS VERY MUCH UNSETTLED. IN 1832 SYLVESTER MANAGED TO PURCHASE 182 ACRES OF LAND IN EAGLE TOWNSHIP FOR $575. THE OWNER HAD BEEN DECLARED INSANE AND SYLVESTER ACQUIRED THE PROPERTY FROM THE OWNER'S LAWYER. HE CLEARED HIS LAND OF FORESTS AND COMMENCED FARMING. IN ADDITION, HE WOULD PURCHASE BUTTER AND CHEESE FOR SHIPMENT TO NYC VIA THE ERIE CANAL, AS WELL AS WOOL WHICH HE SHIPPED TO NEW ENGLAND MILLS. IN 1846 THE TOWN OF EAGLE, ALLEGANY COUNTY, WAS ANNEXED BY WYOMING COUNTY. HE SOLD THE 182 ACRE FARM TO HIS SON STEPHEN IN 1865 AND LIVED WITH STEPHEN UNTIL HIS DEATH IN 1886, IN THE TOWN THAT CAME TO BE KNOWN AS BLISS, NY. IN NEARBY HUME, ALLEGANY CO., SYLVESTER'S BROTHER ELEAZER PURCHASED 160 ACRES AT $1.25 PER ACRE. THE FAMILY HAD TO TRANSPORT THEIR PRODUCE TO THE NEAREST MARKET BY SLEDS YEAR ROUND BECAUSE THE PATHS THROUGH THE WOODS WOULD NOT ALLOW WAGONS.

MOST OF THE CURRENT BLISSES AND BLISS DESCENDANTS IN OTSEGO COUNTY PROBABLY DESCEND FROM THE ORIGINAL ELEAZER'S SON, JESSE BLISS. JESSE WAS BORN IN BERKSHIRE, MASS. ON 15 DECEMBER 1787 AND WAS ONLY ABOUT 15 WHEN THEY SETTLED AT HARTWICK. AS MENTIONED EARLIER, JESSE MARRIED HIS STEP-MOTHER'S DAUGHTER, FANNY TUTTLE. THEY RESIDED AT CHRISTIAN HILL, PROBABLY WITH HIS FATHER. HE BECAME DEACON OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH OF HARTWICK WHICH HE AND HIS FAMILY HELPED TO ESTABLISH, AND REMAINED SO FOR OVER FORTY YEARS. THE HISTORY OF THAT CHURCH IS ANOTHER INTERESTING STORY WHICH I MAY TRY TO ADDRESS LATER. HIS WIFE FANNY DOES NOT APPEAR MUCH IN THE CHURCH RECORDS AFTER THE 1820'S. PERHAPS "THAT OL' TIME RELIGION" WAS A BIT TOO INTRUSIVE FOR FANNY. THEIR TEN CHILDREN WERE ALL BORN AT HARTWICK.

------------------------------------

Eleazer [Sr] was recently registered in DAR Patriot Index and we have a DAR plague for his grave. We hope this yr to clean up the grave site & install the plaque...

Dan

 Back to Stories and Genealogies

Back to Wyoming Main Page