JOSEPH LYMAN BLISS
It has been left to modern civilization to perpetuate by written record the lives of those who have been prominent factors in the upbuilding of towns, cities and countries. Deeds of battle have been the theme of song and poetry from the earliest ages, but the man who quietly remained in the ranks of business, performing each day's duties as they came to him, promoting the general prosperity through his individual efforts was unnoticed by the singer, the poet and the historian. Yet the growth of the community is due to its representative, energetic business men. It was to this latter class that Mr. Bliss belonged and at his death, which occurred in Atchison April 4, 1895, the city lost one of its most valued residents.
Mr. Bliss was born in Royalston, Massachusetts, October 16, 1835, and was a son of Joseph and Sarah (Lyman) Bliss, who were natives of Massachusetts. Our subject spent the days of his youth in the old Bay state, where he acquired the greater part of his education, first attending the public schools and later pursuing his studies in Worcester, Massachusetts. The rapidly developing west, with its limitless opportunities, attracted him. Leaving the Atlantic coast he made his way to Wisconsin, where he learned the jewelry business. Upon the outbreak of the Civil war he tendered his service to the government and was enlisted in the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry and remained in the service three years. For considerable time he was steward of the hospital at New Orleans, under General Butler. Upon the close of the war he returned to Massachusetts. In 1865 he came to Kansas, locating at Atchison, where he soon after formed a partnership with George Willis, under the firm name of Willis & Bliss, jewelers. From the beginning the enterprise prospered and their trade steadily increased. This partnership was maintained until 1872, when Mr. Bliss purchased the interest of Mr. Willis and continued in business alone up to the time of his death in 1895. He had a large, well-appointed store, stocked with everything found in a first-class jewelry store, and enjoyed the leading trade in this line in the city.
In 1873 Mr. Bliss and Miss Carrie Pierce, of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, in which state she was born, reared and educated, were joined in wedlock. One daughter graced their union, Caroline Gale, a student in Salem Academy, Massachusetts. Mr. Bliss was a man of domestic tastes and found his greatest pleasure at his own fireside. In politics he was a stanch Republican, a member of the Masonic lodge of Atchison, also of the subordinate lodge and encampment of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also the G. A. R. In his public and private life he was actuated by high principles, was ever faithful to the trusts reposed in him and with him friendship was inviolable. Since her husband's death Mrs. Bliss has conducted the store, employing efficient help to aid in the conduct of the business. She possesses excellent business qualifications, is a lady of culture and refinement, who presides with gracious hospitality in her home and occupies a very prominent position in social circles.