The previous posting concludes with the following statement: "It seems perverse to reject the claim that Martha the wife of Nicholas Ide the son in law of Thomas Bliss was not [sic] the daughter of Thomas Bliss born in England in 1622."If it is perverse to hold this proposition accountable to generally accepted standards of genealogical proof--of which it falls far short--then I am guilty as charged.
Taking Tom Bliss's points one at a time:
"[A]nother discovery also has bearing on the arguments.The register of Holy Cross church Daventry records the burial of Dorothy, wife of Thomas Bliss, 10 May 1631."While this is probably Thomas Bliss's wife (Dorothy Wheatlie, whom he married at Daventry, 22 Nov. 1614), the record does not identify her as such; it simply reports the burial of Dorothy Bliss and the date.To imply that the record includes marital data is inappropriate.
"In that year Thomas was churchwarden at Holy Cross, therefore a man of some repute in the town. . . . I think it unlikely that a man of his standing . . . ."The conclusion as to Thomas Bliss’s "repute" or "standing" is unwarranted.Churchwardens assisted the parish priest in managing the secular affairs of the church. The qualifications for such a position would have entailed nothing more than efficiency, piety, and moral rectitude; the position's status implications would have been negligible.
"In Feb 1633 Thomas Blisse married Abigail Southam.Two children were born to them but both died in 1837 [sic], the year before Thomas Blisse and children by Dorothy are believed to have emigrated."Taken together, the record of Dorothy Bliss's burial and that of the marriage, less than two years later, of Thomas Bliss and Abigail Southam make it likely (though there is no direct evidence) that both women were wives of Thomas Bliss of Daventry, who immigrated to Massachusetts about 1638.As a matter of clarity and accuracy, however, the year of the Bliss-Southam marriage was 1632[/3], and although their daughter Amity was buried in 1637, their son Thomas was buried in 1635[/6].
The foregoing overstatements and inaccuracies may seem insignificant, but they suggest a pattern that cannot inspire confidence in other, more pertinent statements made in the same posting.Those, however, can be challenged according to their own respective deficiencies:
"[I]n England Abigail Bliss was buried at Daventry 6th Oct 1681. . . .Thomas Bliss . . . had a wife [Abigail] in England living at the time of his death."This involves a huge speculative leap.There is absolutely no evidence that the Abigail Bliss buried at Daventry in 1681 was the former Abigail Southam, second wife of Thomas Bliss.
"In my opinion, this presents quite a problem for the traditional explanation that Thomas Bliss married the widow Ide in New England and her son Nicholas was accepted by him as a foster son who inherited a child's portion in Thomas's will of 1647. . . . [Abigail’s] existence weakens the long-accepted supposition (for that is all it is) that Thomas Bliss took up with the widow Ide and adopted her son as his own."As above, the problem is in jumping to an unwarranted conclusion as to the identity of the Abigail Bliss buried at Daventry in 1681.And to represent the "traditional explanation" as saying that Thomas Bliss accepted Nicholas Ide as his "foster" son, that he "adopted" him, is irrelevant and inaccurate.Bliss's will, dated in 1647, refers to Nicholas Ide as his "sonninlaw," a term then commonly used to mean not only a daughter's husband but, alternatively, a stepson.That Bliss "accepted" Ide is beside the point; if the latter was the son of Bliss’s wife, he would have been, "in law," Bliss's son.Bliss, moreover, did NOT will a full, child’s share of his estate to Ide.The modest bequest to him--ten bushels of rye--was considerably less generous than the legacies to daughters Elizabeth Wilmarth and Mary Harmon and their respective husbands.Ide therefore petitioned the court in 1648 for a child’s portion of Bliss's estate.It is precisely this fact (in combination with others [see below]) that lends support to the interpretation that Nicholas was Bliss's stepson.
"Although I can see problems with the way his will makes no reference to Martha by name, I see no strong reason to believe that 'son in law Nicholas Ide refers to his step son rather than the husband of his daughter."This makes light of one important fact and ignores another.It is no small matter that Bliss's will fails to mention a daughter Martha either by name or implication (e.g., an unnamed daughter whose husband is identified as Nicholas Ide).It is also significant that while directly mentioning only two daughters and one son, Bliss's will nevertheless refers to "my fouer Children."Who can the fourth child be, if not Nicholas Ide?He is mentioned in relation to "Nathaneell the son of my sonninlaw Nicolas Ide," not "my grandson Nathaneell" or "Nathaneell, the son of my daughter Martha."
"Although the supposed marriage of Nicholas and a Martha Bliss at Springfield has been discredited, I understand Nicholas was married to a woman named Martha who was buried at Rehoboth in 1676."That Martha Ide lived until 1676 deserves more than a passing reference.It is her burial record that provides the only evidence of Nicholas's wife's forename.The claim that this Martha was Thomas Bliss's daughter cannot be reconciled with the facts presented above, or with the following, quoted from my posting of 9 February 2002 (this thread). "If Nicholas Ide’s son Nathaniel had been Thomas Bliss's natural grandson . . . , Ide's petition for a full, child's share of Bliss's estate would have been made on behalf of Nathaniel; it wasn't.Of course, if the petition were to have been made on Nathaniel's behalf, it would indicate that his mother (a Bliss daughter in this scenario) had died.But Martha Ide (bur. Rehoboth, 3 Nov. 1676) was alive when both the will and the petition were made (8 Oct. 1747 and 7 June 1648, respectively).That being so, if Martha Ide had been Thomas Bliss's daughter, Nicholas Ide would have had absolutely no grounds for his petition."If, on the other hand, one argues that the Martha Ide buried at Rehoboth in 1676 was a different Martha, and that Thomas Bliss's daughter of that name married Ide but died before her father made his will, then the burial record--the only primary evidence that Nicholas Ide married a woman named Martha--cannot be used to support the claim that Ide's previous wife was also named Martha (let alone Bliss).Both positions are therefore untenable.
Inexplicably neglected by advocates of the view that Nicholas Ide's wife was Martha Bliss is that three ofIde's children were named Mary, John, and Elizabeth (the names of three of Thomas Bliss's children, including his surviving daughters) and another was Dorothy (the name of Martha Bliss's mother).The first and third matches can be explained as reflecting the sentiments of a loving stepbrother.The second and fourth, however, cannot: John Bliss had died probably before Nicholas Ide became a member of the Bliss family and Thomas's first wife, Dorothy, had certainly died by then.
Even with this added observation, the evidence supporting the claim that Nicolas Ide married Thomas Bliss's daughter Martha is neither as extensive nor as strong as one might suppose from the previous posting.And contraposed to it is substantial evidence supporting the view that Ide was Bliss's stepson and married another Martha, surname unknown.In light of this unresolved conflict, to assert with anything remotely resembling certainty that Nicholas Ide’s wife was Martha Bliss is indefensible.