David Bliss, 1791-1860
David, son of David Bliss and Lucy Stebbins, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was a saddle and harness maker.
David married Samantha Griswold in 1812 and had 13 children, 12 of whom were born in Wilmington, Vermont. He served as a Deacon in the Wilmington Congregational Church. They also lived in Bennington and Shaftsbury, Vermont, and then moved to New York State before heading west.
In 1848, David and several of his children, including our ancestor David Pitney Bliss set off for Michigan to their “soldiers claim” in Riley Township. Their experiences as described by David’s son Henry were reported in the following article from the St. John’s newspaper. The account is long and will broken into several installments. There is not a date on the article, but Henry died in 1929, the last of the Bliss children to die. The article is entitled, “BLISS FAMILY HELD REUNION.”
The Bliss family held a reunion at the M.A.C. Saturday, about 150 being present, the greater part of whom live in Clinton County. G.F. Ottmar of Riley read the following family history.
David and Samantha Bliss lived in Vermont state and later moved to New York state in the early 40’s. The family consisted of Stebbins, David, Horatio, Augustus, Henry, Sidney, Lucy Hodges, Sabrina Temple, Adeline Pratt, Elizabeth Osborn, and Emily, who died in New York state in the spring of 1848. From this point of the family history begins our story as related to me by Uncle Henry Bliss. [Note: Henry Bliss is son of David Bliss and brother to David Pitney Bliss, our direct ancestor.] He said:
In the fall of 1848, father and mother, David, Horatio, Augustus, myself, Sidney, Cyrus and Adeline Pratt his wife, and Rufus Pratt started for Michigan, and settled on a soldier’s claim in the Township of Riley, Clinton County. Stebbins came in 1849. Jim and Lucy Hodges came from Wisconsin to Michigan and joined the family in 1849. Elizabeth Osborn remained in New York. Sabrina and Merret Temple came in 1861.
We took an Erie Canal boat at Schenectady, N.Y., and arrived in Buffalo one week later. The weather was fine and the trip was very slow. The boat was drawn with horses and they walked all the way. We took a steamer from Buffalo to Detroit, Michigan.
Uncle Clark Griswold, who lived at Northville, Mich., sent a team of horses and lumber wagon to Detroit to get us and took us all to his place. It was quite a load. Uncle Clark was husking his corn, so we stayed a week with him and helped him finish. He then sent his team and hired man, and a neighbor with his team and wagons, and took us and what goods we could carry to Riley. The roads were very bad, and traveling was hard. The balance of the goods we left at Uncle Clark’s. The next summer we hired Freeman Nichols, who then lived the second house west of Boughton’s corners, to go to Northville to get the remainder of the goods. We had no money to pay for this, so we agreed to chop and clear a certain number of acres of heavy timbered land to pay for this trip. We had to chop down the trees, burn them and fence the field. We got a lot of experience. The logs were green elms and hard to burn. This was our first experience clearing forests.
Uncle Clark asked Mr. Nichols how we were getting along and he told him that we were hard up, and so he sent along with the goods a whole barrel of pork for us. I tell you that was good. Uncle Clark was certainly a fine man. (Right here let me say that the writer of this article met Uncle Clark at the home of the relater, Uncle Henry, a few years before his sad and sudden death and he can frankly say that he never met a kinder-hearted and more pleasing old gentleman than Uncle Clark Griswold.)
More tales of the Bliss adventures will be told in subsequent posts to this blog.