The Widow Margaret Bliss


Citations are from the First Century of the History of Springfield: The Official Records from 1636 to 1736 with an Historical Review and Biographical Mention of the Founders by Henry M. Burt.  Original spelling has not been changed.


Biography of Margaret Bliss, p. 531-2

"The husband of Widow Margaret Bliss, Thomas Bliss, was a son of Thomas Bliss of Belstone Parish, in Devonshire, England. (Note: Belstone Parish, Devonshire is an error.  Thomas Bliss was probably from County Gloucester.) He was married in England and several of his children were born before he and his wife emigrated to this country. The date of marriage is not known (Note: the Bliss Family History Society identifies the date as 18th October 1621), nor the family name of his wife, although the compiler of the Bliss Genealogy states that there is some reason to believe that her maiden name was Margaret Lawrence. (Note: Her maiden name is Hulins.) It is also stated that they embarked at Plymouth, England, and sailed for New England in the autumn of 1635. After arriving in Boston they went to Braintree, and subsequently to Hartford, Conn., where Thomas died in 1640. 

Their children were:

Ann, b. in England, m. April 29, 1642, Robert Chapman and never came here.

Mary, b. in England, m. November 26, 1646, Joseph Parsons of Springfield.

Thomas, b. in England, went to Norwich, d. April 15, 1688.

Nathaniel, b. in England, m. Catherine Chapin, November 20, 1646.

Lawrence, b. in England, m. Lydia Wright, October 25, 1654, d. in 1676.

Samuel, b. in England, 1624, m. Mary Leonard, November 10, 1665, d. March 23, 1720.

Sarah, b. at Boston Mount, 1635-6, m. at Springfield, July 20, 1659, John Scott.

Elizabeth, b. at Boston Mount, about 1637, m. February 15, 1670, Miles Morgan (second wife) and had one child.

Hannah, b. at Hartford, 1639, d. single, January 25, 1660

John, b. at Hartford, 1640, d. September 10, 1702.

Hester, b. ó, m. Edward Foster. See Longmeadow Centennial, page 187."

(According to the Bliss Family History Society, THOMAS BLISS of Hartford Connecticut was probably a native of Co. Gloucester, England. He married Margaret Hulins of Rodborough in that county at Gloucester St Nicholas 18th Oct 1621. Their son Nathaniel was baptised at Rodborough 28th Dec 1622. It is probable that Margaret was his second wife and that Thomas had children by his first marriage. 
The children of Thomas Bliss of Hartford were: 
By first wife? THOMAS born c 1618 ANN born c 1620.
By Margaret NATHANIEL born 1622 MARY born c 1625 LAWRENCE born c 1628 HANNAH born c 1633 JOHN born c 1635 SARAH born c 1638 (America?) HESTER & ELIZABETH twins born c 1640 (Hartford?) SAMUEL born c 1642 (Hartford?)

"Thomas, son of Thomas and Margaret, went to Saybrook, Conn., after his fatherís death. Nathaniel, Lawrence, Samuel, and John came to Springfield and were among the early settlers. Their mother, Margaret, died here, August 28, 1684. The compiler of the Bliss Genealogy states that Widow Margaret removed from Hartford to Springfield in 1643, and that two of her sons, Nathaniel and Samuel, preceded her and had prepared a dwelling for her. The first mention of any member of the family in the Town Records is under date of 1646, and it is somewhat doubtful about their having come here long before that year.  It is evident that she was a woman of more than ordinary force of character.  Her homelot was on what is now generally termed South Main Street, between the present Fremont and Margaret Streets.  She died in 1684, outliving two of her sons, Nathaniel and Lawrence.  Samuel and John survived her."

Topic Citations from Volume 1 Page Number
When Settled "1646: Margaret Bliss, widow of Thomas of Hartford; died here in 1684" 43
Granted Land January ye 22th 1651: "Widow Bliss, 3 acres" 220
Granted Land January 30th 1655: "Wd. Bliss, 1 1/2 acres" 241
To Fence Land over River Jan. 3rd, 1661: "It was agreed by the Proprietors of the land from the upper side of Abell Wrights lott to the Lower end of ye neck to runn a fence from Aggawam River to the great River ofr the securing of that feild: the fence to be a good sufficient fence of posts & rails, & this fence to be up & finisht by the middle of Aprill next: hereto agreed the Major part of the Proprietors of those lotts: vizt Samll Marshfeild, Nath Ely, Rich Sikes, Jonath Burt, Lawrence Bliss, Abell Wright, Charles fferry, Nath Pritchard, Anthony Dorchester, John Lumbard, Widdow Bliss, John Matthews." 290
Complaint concerning fence May 8, 1678: "At a meeting of ye proprietors of ye Genll feild on the west side of ye great River, the proprietors being warned to appeare by the veiwers of ye same feild to answer their Complaints wth reference to defects in ye fences, & of stakes: ye underwritten proprietors did meet according to warning after Lecture: viz: Samll Marshfeild: Tho Mirricke Jn Barb Senr: John Holyoke: James Sikes: Jonathan Burt: Widow Blisse." 420
Defective Fence - fined Sept 4th 1680: "The veiwers of fenses making presentments to the Selectmen of several defects of fenses in the feild on west side of the great ryver and the Select men have hard the cause and doe fine persons as followeth:

Samuell & nathanell Bliss 3 pence
Widow Bliss 2 pence"

Topic Citations from Volume 2 Page Number
Granted Pond "Here ffolloweth Severall Grants of Land, Made by this Towne Beginning wth ye Yeare, 1665": "Widdy Bliss hath granted unto her soe much of the pond as is at ye end of her lott in Long meddow: provided ye Indians be not molested in comeing to or gathering of their pease" 221
Highways ffebr. 12th 1668:"And in reference to ye highway up the great hill over Mill River these persons vizt Lawrence Bliss John Harmon Nathaneel Pritchard Benjamin Parsons Widdow Bliss John Bliss John Matthews Anthony Dorchester Richard Sikes Jonathan Burt John Lumbard & Thomas Bancroft" 69