Cornelius Newton Bliss

Born: January 26, 1833, Fall River, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 9, 1911, New York City
Occupation: Merchant

Source Citation:
America's Successful Men of Affairs: An Encyclopedia of Contemporaneous Biography, Volume I and Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America.

Cornelius New Bliss, merchant, a man of sturdy physique, clear mind, and unquestioned force and probity of character, has, from a modest beginning, made his way to the front in the business life of the United States and especially of the metropolis, by honorable business methods and an unconquerable determination to succeed.

He was born in Fall River, Mass., in 1833. His ancestry was English, belonging to the yeoman class, which owned and tilled its own land. They were Puritans of sturdy convictions and suffered persecution for conscience sake. Mr. Bliss's immigrant ancestor came to America in 1633, settling first at what is now Weymouth, but becoming later one of the original settlers of Rehoboth, Mass. The father of the subject of this sketch moved to Fall River and died there at the age of twenty-six, when Cornelius was an infant. The mother remarried and moved to New Orleans, but the boy remained in Fall River in charge of his mother's family until he had graduated from the common schools and Fiske's Academy. Thus at an early age he was compelled to accept the responsibility and endure the labors which toughen a man's fiber and develop his manhood. At fourteen, the lad went to New Orleans and completed his school life there in the High School of that city.

He then entered mercantile life, gaining his first acquaintance with the requirements of trade in the counting room of his stepfather. After a brief experience there, he returned North and secured a position in the house of James M. Beebe & Co., of Boston, then the largest dry goods importing and jobbing house in the country. He proved a valuable clerk and solely upon his merits was in time admitted as a partner to the firm succeeding J. M. Beebe & Co. In 1866, he became a member of the dry goods commission house of J. S. & E. Wright & Co. Upon the death of the senior partner, this firm was reorganized as Wright, Bliss & Fabyan; and later, it became Bliss, Fabyan & Co., of Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and as such remains, having now grown to be one of the leading commission dry goods houses in the United States, its members highly esteemed and its trade one of great proportions. They occupy a large store on Duane street at its junction with Thomas street, in the very heart of the downtown wholesale dry goods district, their sign being one of the landmarks of that busy region. The New York house has been conducted under the direct personal supervision of Mr. Bliss for many years.

Since his removal to New York, Mr. Bliss has entered heartily into every movement which would promote the growth and welfare of this town. Few public spirited projects fail to receive his contribution of time or money, and in all the numerous admirable schemes which have emanated from among his colleagues of the Union League Club, he has taken a cordial interest. Mr. Bliss's strong character, high social standing and financial strength have caused him to be much sought after as a trustee in financial institutions in this city, the character of whose directorate is the important element in securing the public confidence. He is a director and vice-president of The Fourth National Bank (once having served as its acting president), The Central Trust Co., The American Surety Co., The Equitable Life Assurance Society, The Home Insurance Society, and other important institutions, and is governor and treasurer of The Society of the New York Hospital.

Always an active and loyal Republican in politics, Mr. Bliss has, however, never sought public office and has never occupied official station, except as a member of the International Conference in Washington, D.C., in 1889-90. A Cabinet position was tendered to him during the term of President Arthur, but he declined that honor as well as the suggestion of nomination for various elective offices.

While too preoccupied to serve his countrymen in public station, he has, however, labored with energy to promote the practical work of his party. In 1884, he was Chairman of the Committee of One Hundred, appointed at a public meeting of the citizens of New York to attend the Chicago Convention and urge the nomination of the Hon. Chester A. Arthur to the Presidency. The committee failed to gain their object, and thereupon became loyal supporters of Mr. Blaine. He has been for several years a member of the Republican County Committee in New York, and was chairman of the New York Republican State Committee in 1887 and 1888, as well as treasurer of the Republican National Committee in 1892. He has long been a director, and is now president, of The Protective Tariff League which carries on a persistent appeal to the reason and patriotism of the people of America in favor of the American system of protection to domestic industry.

#00002 Thomas Bliss and Dorothy Wheatlie of England and Rehoboth, MA
#00021 Jonathan Bliss and Miriam Harmon of  Rehoboth, MA
#00069 Jonathan Bliss and Miriam Carpenter of Rehoboth, MA
#00174 Deacon Ephraim Bliss and Rachel Carpenter of Rehoboth, MA
#00512 Capt. Jonathan Bliss and Lydia Wheeler of Rehoboth, MA & Calais, NY
#01412 Deacon Asahel Bliss and Deborah Martin of Rehoboth, MA
#03210 Asahel Bliss and Irene Borden Luther of Fall River, MA
#06365 Cornelius Newton Bliss and Elizabeth Plummer (4 children)