Zenas E. Bliss, M.D.

Born: July 4, 1832 in New York, United States
Died: April 23, 1877 in Grand Rapids, MI
Occupation: Medical Doctor

Source Citation: American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men with Portrait Illustrations on Steel, Volumes I-II
and Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America

Zenas E. Bliss, M. D., Grand Rapids, was born at Eaton, New York, July 4, 1832. He is the son of Obadiah Bliss, of Rehoboth, Massachusetts, who was a man of energy and public spirit. His mother was a woman of deep spiritual faith. Dr. Bliss received his early schooling at Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. His father was owner of a large woolen factory; and, availing himself of the opportunity, the son became thoroughly acquainted with the business in all its branches. In 1850 he commenced the study of medicine, receiving private instruction in the office of Drs. Harlan & Bliss, after which he entered the office of his brother, at Ionia, Michigan. He spent three years in study, at the Michigan University, with an interval of several months' practice at Lowell, Kent County. He received his degree of M. D. in 1855, and settled in Ionia, where he remained six years, with the exception of one winter, spent in attending clinical lectures in the hospitals of Philadelphia and New York. In June, 1861, he entered the army as Assistant-Surgeon of the 3d Regiment of Michigan Volunteers. He was commissioned Surgeon of his regiment in October, and from that time, served with it. He was engaged in the siege of Yorktown, the battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, and the seven days' fight before Richmond, including Malvern Hill. After this campaign, he was promoted, by President Lincoln, to the position of Surgeon of the United States Volunteers, stationed at Baltimore, Maryland. His duties included the furnishing of the United States General-Hospital, the temporary charge of invalid officers, and the charge of the National Hotel Hospital, from July, 1863, until December, 1864. He was then appointed Purveyor of the United States Army, stationed at Baltimore. He continued in the discharge of these duties until February 2, 1866, when, his services being no longer needed, he was discharged with the title of Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel. Dr. Bliss spent the winter of 1866-67 in Paris and London, attending clinical lectures. After his return, he engaged in the practice of medicine at Grand Rapids, where he remained until the fall of 1874. His health being seriously impaired, he then withdrew from his professional labors, and went to Europe. He returned to Grand Rapids in 1875. He was a member of the Grand Rapids Medical and Surgical Society, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association. In August, 1873, he was appointed, by Governor Bagley, a member of the State Board of Health; but resigned this commission soon after, on account of declining health. He was President of the Board of United States Examining Surgeons for a number of years, and an honored member of the Christian Church since 1860. On the 16th of September, 1856, he married Marian Carr, only child of Archibald Carr. of Ionia County, Michigan, and of this union one daughter has been the issue. In the character of Dr. Bliss, the mind and heart are in perfect unison; what his judgment approves, his hand executes. Possessing an enthusiastic love for his profession, and having a mind enriched by long years of constant study, his experience was peculiarly favorable for the development of his powers. After his return to Grand Rapids, he ceased practice, in consequence of his health, which continued to fail rapidly, until, on the 23d of April, 1877, he passed from life, in the forty-fourth year of his age. At a called meeting of the Grand Rapids Medical and Surgical Society, resolutions of the most complimentary character were adopted, a passage from one of which we here insert, as expressive of facts worthy of record: "By his death the medical profession of this city and State, and especially the Grand Rapids Medical and Surgical Society, lose an eminent and honorable member. He was energetic and enthusiastic in all that pertained to his calling. He was honorable in his intercourse with members of the profession, and ever courteous to all. His skill in the practice of all departments of his vocation, though especially of surgery, has been equaled by few and surpassed by none of his co-workers; and his Christian fortitude and cheerfulness, during his protracted sickness, are eminently worthy of our example. His life was an example of earnestness in the performance of all duties, professional and private, and his death removes one of our most honorable practitioners and upright citizens."

#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
#00504 Ephraim Bliss, Jr. and Sarah Read of Rehoboth, MA
#01397 Obadiah Bliss and Ruth Kent of Savoy, MA
#03155 Obadiah Bliss, Jr. and Marilla Poole of Savoy, MA
#06262 Zenas E. Bliss and Marion Carr (2 children)