William C. Bliss

William C. Bliss was born June 24, 1819, in Onondaga County, New York.

William’s father was reportedly born in Connecticut and his mother in New York. In any case, William eventually left New York and may have been living in Pennsylvania when he married Ohio native Lucinda Rosetta Lord (1826-1913) on November 11, 1845, in Lineville, Pennsylvania; they had at least four children: Eliza (b. 1847), Emma (b. 1850), Amelia (b. 1851), Estella (b. 1857) and William (b. 1866).

In 1847 William was still living in Pennsylvania, but he eventually moved his family westward and by 1850 was residing in Wisconsin where he remained until about 1858. By 1860 he had apparently settled in Michigan and was working as a farmer and living with his family in Ravenna, Muskegon County.

William stood 5’8” with blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and was 41 years old and living (and/or working) in Muskegon County when he enlisted as a Musician, probably a Fifer in Company I on May 13, 1861. (It is curious that William did not join the “Muskegon Rangers”, a local militia company which would serve as the nucleus for Company H, if in fact he was residing in Muskegon County. Instead he joined Company I which was made up predominantly of men from the Ottawa County area.)

According to a statement William made in 1876, “Sometime in the fall of 1861, while encamped with his regiment at Arlington Heights, he contracted the disease of rheumatism and heart disease from exposure while in the service. . . . That about the 1st of February, 1862, he was sent to the regimental hospital at Arlington Heights, where he remained most of the time, unable to do any duty, until the latter part of March, 1862, when he was sent to [the] general hospital at Philadelphia, & remained there until discharged.”

He claimed in 1883 (or thereabouts) that he contracted rheumatism in October of 1861 at Fort Lyons near Arlington Heights, “caused by exposure to the wet weather. That about the same time he was attacked by heart disease, caused (so the Regimental surgeon Dr. Zenas Bliss stated to him) by the rheumatism, partially.” William further claimed “that he was removed to Regimental hospital at Camp Michigan in February of 1862, where he staid [sic] until about the 15th of March 1862 when the Regiment was ordered south and he was left at the hospital at Alexandria for two or three days and then sent to general hospital, Philadelphia from which he was discharged April 22, 1862 by reason of surgeon’s certificate of disability so the discharge papers say.”

William was in fact sent to the Regimental hospital in February of 1862 at Camp Michigan, Virginia, and from there he was sent to Alexandria, Virginia on or about March 14. He remained in Alexandria for three or four days before being transferred to a hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in early July of 1862 it was reported that Bliss had been a patient in Buttonwood Street hospital but had recently recently left the hospital. He was alleged to have deserted in August, but was in fact discharged for chronic rheumatism on April 22, 1862, at Philadelphia.

In any case, William eventually returned to western Michigan and settled his family on a farm in Barton, Newaygo County where they were living in 1870. Later that year or in early 1871 he reportedly moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, and in 1873 to Mitchell County, Kansas. He returned to Michigan the following year, first to Courtland, Kent County and then to Barton, Newaygo County, and was living in Howard City, Montcalm County in 1876, in Coral, Montcalm County in 1878, in Winfield working as a farmer and living with his wife Lucinda in 1880, in Coral, Montcalm County in 1881 and in Howard City or Coral, Montcalm County in 1883, and for many years worked as a carpenter. By 1894 he was residing in Big Rapids where he lived through 1901.

He applied for and received pension no. 243,145.

William apparently fractured his femur sometime before mid-October of 1908 and he never recovered from th einjury.

He died on October 13, 1908, possibly in Paris, Mecosta County and was reportedly buried in Davenport cemetery, Barton, Newaygo County.

His widow received pension no. 672,148, and she was living in Paris, Mecosta County in 1908.