Mary Bliss


Personal and Family Information

Mary was born on 16 MAR 1616 in Rodborough, Glocester, England, the daughter of Thomas Bliss and Margaret Hulins.

She died on 29 JAN 1712 in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts.

Her husband was Joseph Parsons, who she married on 26 NOV 1646 in Belstone, West Devon Borough, Devon, England. Their fourteen known children were Joseph (1647-1729), Benjamin (1649-1649), John (1650-1728), Samuel (1652-1734), Ebanezer (1655-1675), Jonathan (1657-1694), David (1659-?), Mary (1661-1711), Hannah (1663-1739), Anbigail (1666-1689), Benjamin (1668-1668), Esther (1670-1670), Hester (1672-1760) and Benjamin (1672-?).

Pedigree Chart (3 generations)


Mary Bliss


Thomas Bliss


Margaret Hulins


John Hulins





Birth16 MAR 1616
Place: Rodborough, Glocester, England
Death29 JAN 1712
Place: Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts


OccupationAccused of Witchcraft


Note 1

!Source: howard-Baily Family Tree, Sandra VanConant

Mary Bliss

Mary Bliss


Birth 16 MARCH 1616 • Rodborough, Gloucestershire

Death 29 JAN 1712 • Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts, USA


26 Nov 1646 • Hartford, CT

Cornet Joseph Parsons Sr



!Source: New England, Salem Witches and Others Tried for Witchcraft, 1647-1697

Name of Accused [Mary Parsons] [Mary Bliss Parsons] [Mary Bliss]

Residence Place Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

Trial Date 1651

Trial Place Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

Outcome Acquitted

!Source: EVELYN MOORHEAD originally shared this article on 16 Nov 2019 from*17egdvg*_gcl_au*MzcxMjYyMzIxLjE3MTcxMDcwMzc.*_ga*NDk4NzgxMTgyLjE3MTcxMDcwMjg.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*ZGRlN2RhYjgtOWU2ZS00NGI5LThkMWEtNGIxMGU5ZWI4YTMwLjE0LjEuMTcxODQ4NzYyMy42MC4wLjA.*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*ZGRlN2RhYjgtOWU2ZS00NGI5LThkMWEtNGIxMGU5ZWI4YTMwLjE1LjEuMTcxODQ4NzYyMy4wLjAuMA..

Mrs Mary Bliss Parsons





29 Jan 1712

Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA


Springfield Cemetery

Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA

Memorial ID

22828242 · View Source

She was repeatedly tried as a witch and forced to suffer many indignities by her jealous neighbors . In 1674, the suit was brought by James Bridgman and his son-in-law Samuel Bartlett, in connection with the "untimely death from unnatural causes" of Mary Bartlett. She was sent to Boston for trial and was acquitted.


Mary was the daughter of Thomas Bliss Jr and Margaret Bliss of Hartford,CT.


She married Joseph Parsons on Nov 26,1646 at Hartford,CT.


Children: Joseph Parsons Jr, Benjamin Parsons, John Parsons, Samuel Parsons, Ebenezer Parsons, Jonathan Parsons, David Parsons, Mary Ashley Williston, Hannah Glover, Abigail Colton, and Esther Smith.


She is my [Evelyn Moorhead’s] 9th great aunt. Are you related to her? Please email me if you are or compare your family tree to mine and then email me if we may be related. Thank you.

!Source: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, Springfield, 1636--Northampton

CORNET JOSEPH PARSONS b. Beaminster about 1620. He was known in many subsequent records by his military title, Cornet Joseph Parsons, came to America as a boy but earned prominence as a public servant and founder of towns, which grew into cities. Joseph was the child of Margaret Hoskins and William Parsons . His maternal grandparents were Robert and Margret Hoskins, one of two couples of that name in Beaminster, England, both of whom had a daughter named Margaret.

He came to Massachusetts in 1635 aboard the Transport out of Gravesend, County Kent. Joseph Parsons received many notations in colonial town records. Young Joseph is mentioned as a witness to a deed on July 15, 1636 in Springfield, MA. The deed was between Joseph Pyncheon and local Indians. The wealthy Pincheon may have sponsored his young friend in establishing himself in Springfield as well as in Northampton.

In 1646, Joseph was appointed highway surveyor of Springfield, holding this position in 1653. In 1652, Joseph was elected a Springfield Selectman but was living in Northampton, MA by 1655. In December of 1656 in Northampton, Joseph Parsons was elected to the Board of Selectmen. He served as Selectman in 1659, 1664, 1667, and 1670. Joseph served frequently as a juror.

In 1834, an examination of Northampton records by Dr. Usher Parsons revealed that Joseph Parsons' house lot covered four acres. He bought an adjoining lot and in 1661, was licensed to keep "an ordinary," or house of entertainment in Northampton. Also in 1661, Joseph Parsons was made a member of a committee to lay out the plans of the Meeting House and residence for the Rev. Eleazer Mather, first minister of Northampton. In this same year, Joseph was on a committee to meet with counterparts of Newtown, MA to see to the establishment of a road between Newtown and Northampton; in 1670, Joseph Parsons was made a member of the committee to construct a "Cart bridge" over the Munhan River.


Joseph Parsons was one of two persons of Northampton licensed to trade with Native Americans. It is supposed that this trade was primarily in furs. A common practice was for a trader to offer money or articles of value in exchange for the promised delivery of furs, which would then be sold at a great mark-up. If the fur delivery was defaulted, land would be exchanged for the debt. Joseph Parsons seems to have obtained much land by this means, including land upon which was established the town of Hadley, MA. The 1834 Usher Parsons study reported that Joseph Parsons owned 100 acres at the foot of Mount Tom, at a place called Pascommuck. Joseph Parsons "for half a century remained the richest man in the Connecticut Valley" . On Nov 26, 1646, Joseph Parsons married Mary Bliss in Hartford, CT. They became the parents of 13 children, 5 girls and 8 boys. It seems probable their first three children were born in Hartford, as their births were not recorded in Springfield.


In Dorchester, in 1656, almost 40 years before the witchcraft travesty in Salem, MA, Joseph Parsons filed a lawsuit for slander, seeking damages against Sarah Bridgman, wife of James Bridgman. The suit accused Sarah Bridgeman of calling Mary Bliss Parsons a witch. Sarah Bridgman's child had died and she accused Mary Parsons of causing the child's death. Other neighbors came forward with similar accusations. The quality of the evidence produced against Mary Bliss Parsons is indicated by testimony of Mrs Bridgeman on behalf of an older son, whose knee, being fractured and it being set, the child screamed in great pain that Mary Parsons was pulling his leg off and that he saw her on the shelf; when she went away, a black mouse followed her. Trial resulted in a verdict for Mary Parsons, which prompted the suit for slander, which was won by Joseph and Mary Bliss Parsons. The defendants were order to make a public apology and to pay the plaintiffs' costs: "seaven pounds, one shilling and eight pence."


But the matter did not end there.


Nineteen years later, in 1675, Mary Parsons was again accused of witchcraft when Sarah Bridgman herself died. These accusations, made by the father and the husband of the deceased, prompted the prosecution of Mary Bliss Parsons. Mary was indicted by a grand jury and imprisoned in Boston for several months and then put on trial. Her ordeal included the examination of her person by "Soberdized, Chast women to make Diligent Search upon ye body of Mary Parsons, whether any marks of witch craft might appear." She was acquitted.


Such allegations as were made against Mary Bliss Parsons, by neighbors of long standing, living within minutes of one another's homes, treating with one another virtually every day, parents of families, whose children would have know one another in every aspect of small town life – such life-threatening denunciations must surely have sundered many friendships and provoked the deepest of bitter feelings. Dorchester, after 1656, like Salem after 1691, could not have been a happy place. In this the first American generation, the Puritan experiment had turned toxic within itself.


1664, Joseph Parsons was charged with resisting a constable in his lawful duties. Court records indicate that the constable had meant to appropriate oxen belonging to Joseph Parsons for use on a public project, as decreed by county authorities. There followed "Scuffling in the busyness whereby blood was drawn between them." The charge was not denied and Joseph sold an acre and a half to the town in payment of the fine, part of which was abated owing to Joseph's apology.


Joseph was the plaintiff or defendant in several suits over money owed. Some of these were settled out of court; in some cases, payment was made through the court or a parcel of land would be sold to satisfy the debt.


On the 7th of October 1678, the General Court appointed Joseph Parsons, Sr. to be "Cornet of the Troop of Hoarse," Hampshire Co. . With this appointment, Joseph was third in command and the color-bearer of the Hampshire Cavalry.


Joseph Parsons died on October 9, 1683. He was probably buried in the Elm Street cemetery, in Springfield, and in 1848, reburied in a mass grave near the Pine Street entrance to the present Springfield Cemetery, when land within the cemetery was needed for the Hartford-Springfield railroad.

!Source: Origins of the Bliss Family in England

The American Bliss families can trace their roots mainly to two counties in England, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire. Contrary to the information erroneously reported by many, the Bliss lines are NOT from Belstone, Devonshire. Belstone, Devonshire was never the home of Thomas Bliss or any other Bliss. Genealogies based on Blisses from Belstone are incorrect.

The Newport and Rehoboth lines link back to their father, John Blisse of Daventry, and later, Preston Capes and Preston Parva.

The Hartford line is traced to County Gloucester, probably to Painswick, an old Cotswold wool town. We know that Thomas Bliss resided in Rodborough, Gloucestershire for a time, and that his wife, Margaret was born there. Thomas's father is unknown. According to the research of Aaron Tyler Bliss, Thomas is undoubtedly a descendant of John Blisse of Tyringham, a feudal serf.

The earliest Blisses are described by Aaron Tyler Bliss in Genealogy of the Bliss Family in America. Click here for a summary.

The Bliss Charity School in Nether Heyford, Northants, was endowed with income from lands in the will of William Bliss. William Bliss, a wine merchant living in Southwark, died in 1674. William had been born and brought up in Nether Heyford, later moving to London. In his will, William left £400 to the village: £100 to buy a Schoolhouse and £300 to buy land, whose rent would pay for the Schoolmaster and the upkeep of the School. The Bliss Charity School in Nether Heyford, Northants, was endowed with income from lands in the will of William Bliss. William Bliss, a wine merchant living in Southwark, died in 1674. William had been born and brought up in Nether Heyford, later moving to London. In his will, William left £400 to the village: £100 to buy a Schoolhouse and £300 to buy land, whose rent would pay for the Schoolmaster and the upkeep of the School.