NOTE: The several Thomas Bliss' of New England have had their vital records, family relationships and biographical facts mixed and matched in a Gordian knot by those who were less than attentive to details as they imported unevaluated and unsourced data including fanciful pedigrees into their family trees. In brief, we are dealing with three or possibly four individuals of the name Thomas Bliss:
Thomas Bliss (called Sr) b. before 1595 a founder of Hartford, wife Margaret Hullings (and the subject of this profile)
Thomas Bliss b. about 1618 of Saybrook and Norwich son of #1, wife Elizabeth Birchard who may or may not be the Thomas Bliss, called Jr. in early Hartford records and counted as a founder.
Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth, Mass. Wife Dorothy Wheatlie, father: John.
See the end of the biography for common errors and earlier notions that have since been disproved.
In editing the biographies of the several Thomas Bliss' I (djt) have elected to treat Thomas Jr. of Hartford as the same person as Thomas Bliss of Saybrook and Norwich.
Thomas Bliss was a founder of Hartford, he is called "Sr" in town records. Barbour, basing his work on Bliss' Genealogy mingles the lives of Thomas Bliss of Hartford and Thomas Bliss of Rehoboth and treats Thomas Bliss, Jr. as his son.
In Hale, House and Related Families Jacobus analyzes the available information and concludes that Thomas was born between 1590 and 1595, location in England unknown but possibly Painswick, Gloucestershire. Hyde adds Rodborough, where Thomas was married and eldest son Nathaniel was christened as a possibility. Parents are unknown.
He arrived at Massachusetts after the 1637 baptism of son Samuel, but was present in Hartford prior to 1640.
Thomas Bliss married Margaret Snowe, as his first wife, 14 April 1616 at St. John the Baptist Parish, Gloucester, England. Margaret was buried 4 June 1621 at St. Nicholas Parish, Gloucester. They had three children.
Thomas' public life in Hartford was fairly uneventful.
Both Thomas Bliss Sr. and Thomas Bliss Jr. are on an early list of inhabitants granted lots by the towns courtesy, with liberty to fetch wood and keep swine or cows by proportion on the common. This early list gives them status as Founders of Hartford, with their names on the Founder's Monument.
As of Feb 1639 Thomas owned several lots in Hartford. He owned his house lot, with house, yards or gardens about 2 rods; a parcel of upland about two acres and two rods; about two acres he bought from Thomas Bliss Jr.; a five acre piece of upland, part from Thomas Bliss Jr and part from the town that was John Sables; and another two rods that had also been granted to John Sabells; nineteen acres near the Wethersfield border; six acres on the Great River that he bought of Thomas Bliss jr; 25 acres that belonged to Thomas jr.
Sept 1639 Thomas was behind paying his town rates, 5s.
4 March 1646, Thomas Blisse was fined 2s for not training.
”Bliss, Thomas, Hartford. Invt. ₤86-12-08. Taken I4 February, 1650, by Nathaniel Ward, Joseph Mygatt. Nuncupative Will. Testimony of John Pinchon & Hen: Smith gives property to his wife. Mary Parsons, a daughter, of Springfield, doth Testify to the same.
”Court Record, Page 17 – 20 February, 1650-1: Adms. to the Relict, She to keep the whole Estate in her Hands for her Use and the Education of the Children during her life, then to be divided among the Children, viz: to Lawrence, to ]ohn, to Samuel, to Hester, to Elizabeth, to Hannah, and to Sarah Bliss.”
Children listed following generally Jacobus, The first three Thomas, Ann and Sarah by first wife Margaret Snowe, the remainder by Margaret Hulins.
Sarah Blisse, baptized 23 April 1620 at St. Nicholas, Presumably died young since a second Sarah was born later to Thomas 2nd wife.
Anna or Ann, was born about 1620 or 1621; d. at Saybrook, Conn., 20 Nov. 1685; m. at Saybrook, 29 Apr. 1642, Robert Chapman, b. abt. 1617, d. at Saybrook, 13 Oct. 1687 ae. 70. Note that the order of Ann and Sarah is uncertain.
Elizabeth (twin), b. abt. 1640; d. before 1684; m. at Springfield, 15 Feb. 1669/70, as his second wife, Sergt. Miles Morgan, b. abt. 1615, d. at Springfield, 28 May 1699.
Mother of Children: Disputes over whether Thomas had one wife or two and questions of which children if any belong to a first wife are now solved by finding a record of his first wife and her burial.
There is no known family relationship between Thomas of Hartford and Thomas of Rehoboth as reported by John Homer Bliss in his 1881 Genealogy of the Bliss family in America, from about the year 1550-1880. This was reviewed by Donald Lines Jacobus in 1951 and found to be without any basis in fact. However, descendants generally accept that they were cousins of uncertain degree.
The father of Thomas Bliss was not Thomas of Belstone. He did not come from Belstone Park In the Genealogy of the Bliss family in America J H Bliss included two chapters on the family of immigrants Thomas and George Bliss. Whose alleged father was Thomas of Belstone Park. English research published by Charles Arthur Hoppin in The Bliss Book: a romantic history of the Bliss family... found that Thomas and George were sons of John of Preston Parva. John Homer Bliss published a correction, which unfortunately, is not in every copy. The version on Ancestry does not have the correction. The version at Archive.org has the replacement pages. It also has the replaced pages with X drawn on them, so we can compare.
Thomas of Hartford, was not the man from Daventry / Preston Parva, son of John. Hoppin also made errors. He jumped to the conclusion that the Thomas of Preston Parva was Thomas of Hartford. Jacobus notes: “There is evidence of only one Thomas Bliss born about 1590, belonging to the Daventry and Preston Capes family, and he was of John; common sense makes this Thomas the one who married Dorothy Wheatley in 1614 and who was most certainly the emigrant to Rehoboth, Massachusetts. As for Thomas Bliss of Hartford, Conn., there is not the slightest evidence or even reason to believe that he belongs to the Daventry of Preston Capes family.”
Thomas of Hartford was from Gloucestershire. Newer research has located family members and the marriage of Thomas to Margaret Hulins in Gloucestershire.[two TAG Articles]
Margaret Lawrence was a made up person. Given name Margaret is known from the will of Thomas of Hartford. Lawrence was an assumption because they named a son Lawrence, but this was a common enough given name.
↑ 6.06.16.26.220.127.116.11.7 Bennett, Anne Selene. "The First Wife and Older Children of Thomas Bliss of Gloucester, England and Hartford, Connecticut. The American Genealogist Vol 91, No1 January 2019. p. 43-45
↑ Gloucestershire Archives Gloucester, Gloucestershire; Gloucestershire Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P154/9 IN 1/1 Accessed at Ancestry.com as Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1813 image 85 of 134 at Ancestry
↑ Gloucestershire Archives; Reference Number: GDR/V1/134. . Reference Number P154/15 IN 1/1 image 239 of 332
↑ 11.011.111.2 Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society Vol. 14 Original Distribution of The Lands in Hartford Among the Settlers 1639. (The Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Hartford 1860) Indexed Thomas Sr., abutter 257, 277, 284; land bought by 258; land bought of 286, 287; land recorded to p. 256; mentioned as proprietor p. 501
↑ 13.013.113.213.3 Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society]] Vol. 6 Hartford Town Votes Vol. 1 1635-1716 (The Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Hartford 1897) https://archive.org/details/collectionsofcon06conn/page/n5 (p. 8, Sept? 1639 Goodman bles behind of 1 rates allsoe 00 05 0); (pp 63, 64. 16 May 1642 town gave permission to Goodman Blis to use the lot of John Sables that adjoins his); (p. 20 inhabitants granted lots by town’s courtesy (sr and jr)); (p 24. 3 Jan 1639 footnote additions to list of proprietors.); (p. 47, 48. 24 March 1650/1 Thomas blise Jewnier shall have 2 acre near Hucanum pownd. Thomas blise Senier shall have 2 acre near Hucanum pownd.); (p. 50. A list Thomas Blysse Senior 6, Thomas Blysse Junior 4.)
↑#S4A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records
↑ Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society]] Vol. 22 Records of the Particular Court of Connecticut 1639-1663 (The Connecticut Historical Society and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Hartford 1928) https://archive.org/details/collectionsofcon22conn -- pp. 46 suit ___ Blysse; 45 not training fine; 93, 94 estate;