Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Mary Bliss

Female Abt 1628 - 1712  (~ 84 years)


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  • Name Mary Bliss 
    Alternate birth Abt 1625  Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Alternate birth Abt 1626  [2
    Born Abt 1628  Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5
    Gender Female 
    Alternate birth Abt 1628  England Find all individuals with events at this location  [6, 7
    Died 29 Jan 1712  Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4, 5, 7
    Person ID I53  Nielsen Hayden genealogy
    Last Modified 26 Dec 2015 

    Father Thomas Bliss,   b. of Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Bef 14 Feb 1651, Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Mother Margaret Hulins,   b. Abt 1595, of Rodborough, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 28 Aug 1684, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 89 years) 
    Married 18 Oct 1621  Rodborough, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Family ID F2056  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family "Cornet" Joseph Parsons,   b. Bef 25 Jun 1620, Beaminster, Dorset, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Oct 1683, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 63 years) 
    Married 26 Nov 1646  Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 4, 5, 7
    Children 
    +1. Joseph Parsons,   b. Abt 1647, Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Nov 1729, Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years)
    Last Modified 10 Nov 2017 18:38:48 
    Family ID F1468  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • From the Find a Grave entry for "Cornet" Joseph Parsons:

      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.

  • Sources 
    1. [S171] The Bliss Family History Society.

    2. [S387] Hale, House and Related Families, Mainly of the Connecticut River Valley, by Donald Lines Jacobus and Edgar Francis Waterman. Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut Historical Society, 1952.

    3. [S255] Gerald James Parsons, "Were Joseph and Benjamin Parsons and David Wilton of Beaminster, Dorset, England, the New England colonists?" The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 143:101, April 1989.

    4. [S682] Gerald James Parsons, "The Early Parsons Families of the Connecticut River Valley." The New England Historical and Genealogical Register 148:215, July 1994.

    5. [S899] The Mary Bliss Parsons Trial, website developed by Historic Northampton and the Center for Computer Based Instructional Technology (now the UMass IT Center for Educational Software Development [CESD]) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

    6. [S218] Findagrave.com page for Mary Bliss Parsons.

    7. [S256] The Parsons Family: Descendants of Cornet Joseph Parsons, by Gerald James Parsons. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1984.