Lee County Biography
James Bliss

James Bliss has developed a fine farm from the wild prairies of Alta Township, placing it under substantial improvement, and has thus materially contributed to the wealth of Lee County. He was born in the town of Exeter, Otsego County, N. Y., June 28, 1812. His father, whose name was Palatire Bliss, was a native of Connecticut, and was reared and married in that State, Elizabeth Lathrop, also a native of that commonwealth, becoming his wife. He was a cooper by trade, and after his removal in 1795 to Otsego County, N. Y., of which he was a pioneer, he also gave his attention to farming, working at his trade only in the winter seasons and the remainder of the year clearing his land and tilling the soil. He bought a tract of heavily timbered land in what is now the town of Exeter, and his first work was to build a log house, which was the birthplace of the son of whom we write. There were no railways or canals in that part of the country for many years, and Albany, eighty miles distant, was the nearest market. Mr. Bliss lived and labored there for more than half a century, and there death found him in 1853 at a ripe old age on the farm that he had hewed from the wilderness, and his wife, the mother of our subject, also died there. Seven children were born of their wedded life. Ho was three times married and reared two other children.

James Bliss, of this biography, was reared amid the pioneer scenes of his birth, and was educated in the local schools. He commenced when very young to help his father on the farm, and was thoroughly drilled in agricultural pursuits. He remained an inmate of the parental household until he married, and after that he gave his time to learn the trade of a cooper. He lived in his native county until 1848, and then bought a home in the village of Nineveh, Chenango County, where be manufactured barrels, etc., for some years. In 1856, he disposed of his possessions in New York, as he had decided to try the calling to which he had been bred on the prairies of Illinois. He settled among the pioneers of DeKalb County, buying one hundred and ten acres of land in Somanauk Township, at $12 an acre. It was a tract of wild prairie, and he went to work with a good will to develop it. He placed the land under good tillage, erected good suitable buildings, and so increased its value that he was enabled to sell the place in 1869 at 135 an an acre. He then came to Lee County, and bought his present farm at $17 dollars an acre. At the time of purchase it was merely a tract of wild, uncultivated prairie, with never a furrow turned. Today he reaps from its well tilled soil abundant harvests, and has the place in a fine condition. The land is fenced and cross fenced into convenient fields, choice fruit, shade and ornamental trees have been planted, and a good set of frame buildings has been erected, everything indicating thrift and prosperity.

By his marriage more than fifty years ago, in the year 1839. Mr. Bliss was so fortunate as to secure for a life-companion a woman who has been to him a true helpmate, and has done her share in the upuilding of their comfortable home. Mrs. Bliss who bore the maiden name of Roxie C. Rose, was born on Block Island, in Long Island Sound. Her married life with our subject has been blessed with these three children—James A., John Adelbert and Ella. Mr. Bliss was formerly a Whig, but when the Republican party was organized he fell into line, and has ever since been firm in his support of its principles. He is in all respects a good citizen and a most estimable man whose life- record is honorable and worthy of emulation.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 410

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