Aaron T. Bliss

Aaron Thomas Bliss (May 22, 1837 – September 16, 1906) was a U.S. Representative from and the 25th Governor of the US state of Michigan, and was from Saginaw. Bliss Township was named after him.[1]

Aaron T. Bliss
Aaron T. Bliss, Governor of Michigan portrait
25th Governor of Michigan
In office
January 1, 1901 – January 1, 1905
LieutenantOrrin W. Robinson
Alexander Maitland
Preceded byHazen S. Pingree
Succeeded byFred M. Warner
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 8th district
In office
March 4, 1889 – March 3, 1891
Preceded byTimothy E. Tarsney
Succeeded byHenry M. Youmans
Member of the Michigan Senate
In office
Personal details
BornMay 22, 1837
Peterboro, New York
DiedSeptember 16, 1906 (aged 69)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Allaseba Phelps

Early life in New York

Bliss was born to Lyman and Anna M. (Chaffee) Bliss in Peterboro, New York and attended the common schools. He was employed as a clerk in a store in Morrisville, New York, in 1853 and 1854 and with the $100 he made there he attended a select school in Munnsville, New York, in 1854. The following year, Bliss moved to Bouckville, a small town in Madison County, New York, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits.

Civil War

During the American Civil War, Bliss enlisted as a private in the Peterman Guards of the Tenth New York Volunteer Cavalry, October 1, 1861, and reported for duty at Elmira, New York. After a quick advancement to lieutenant, his regiment formed a part of Kilpatrick’s Brigade and was ordered to the front, joining the Army of the Potomac. He commanded a squadron from Washington, D.C. during the Second Battle of Bull Run and his rank advanced to captain. He also fought in the battle of Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, Petersburg, Ground Squirrel Church, Stony Creek, South Mountain, Falls Church and Warrenton. Then he was captured on General Wilson’s raid near Richmond. For six months he was held at the Confederate prisons of Andersonville, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, Macon, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina, where on November 29, 1864, like the man who would later precede him as governor, Hazen S. Pingree, Bliss escaped from a Confederate prison. He walked near three weeks until he reached General Sherman’s army at Savannah, Georgia, just two days before its evacuation. Bliss soon rejoined his own command at Petersburg, Virginia, where he remained until the war ended.

Life in Michigan

In December 1865, he moved to Saginaw, Michigan and found employment at a shingle mill. With his brother, Lyman W. Bliss, and J. H. Jerome, he formed A. T. Bliss & Company and engaged in the manufacture of lumber and the exploitation of lands along the Tobacco River. On March 31, 1868, he married Allaseba Morey Phelps of Solsville, New York, north of the town of Madison. That same spring the brothers bought the Jerome mill at Zilwaukee, and it became A. T. Bliss & Brother. In 1880, Bliss was one of the organizers and a director of the Citizen’s National Bank, which was reorganized into the Bank of Saginaw, and was president and director of the Saginaw County Savings Bank.


In 1882, Bliss was elected member of the Michigan Senate from Saginaw County (25th district), and during that time helped establish a soldiers' home in Grand Rapids. He was appointed aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Russell A. Alger in 1885, with the rank of colonel, and held the same position on the staff of the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1888.

In 1888, Bliss was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 8th congressional district to the 51st Congress, serving from March 4, 1889, to March 3, 1891. Among notable bills he introduced were for appropriating $100,000 for a federal building in Saginaw and $25,000 for an Indian school at Mt. Pleasant. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1890 to the 52nd Congress, being defeated by Democrat Henry M. Youmans.

After leaving Congress, Bliss resumed the lumber business and also engaged in banking. He was department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in Michigan in 1897.

In 1900, Bliss was elected Governor of Michigan, defeating mayor of Detroit William C. Maybury, and was re-elected in 1902, serving from 1901 through 1904.[2] During his four years in office, the Michigan Employment Institution for the Adult Blind was established in Saginaw, a state highway department was formed, and railroad taxation was sanctioned.

Retirement and death

Bliss was a patron of the Home for the Friendless, the Y.M.C.A., the Methodist Church and was also a member of the Freemasons and Knights Templar.

Bliss died less than two years after leaving office at the age of sixty-eight in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while on a visit for medical treatment. He is interred in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan.


  1. ^ 1999 Michigan Encyclopedia, retrieved 3-Nov-2014
  2. ^ Election notes, Aaron Bliss Archived July 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

Mills, James Cooke (2005) [1892]. "s.v. Aaron T. Bliss". History of Saginaw County, Michigan. Saginaw, Mich.: Seemann & Peters. pp. 24–28. Retrieved May 11, 2007.

Further reading

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Timothy E. Tarsney
United States Representative for the 8th Congressional District of Michigan
Succeeded by
Henry M. Youmans
Political offices
Preceded by
Hazen S. Pingree
Governor of Michigan
Succeeded by
Fred M. Warner
1901 in Michigan

Events from the year 1901 in Michigan.

1902 in the United States

Events from the year 1902 in the United States.

1903 in the United States

Events from the year 1903 in the United States.

1904 in the United States

Events from the year 1904 in the United States.

1905 in the United States

Events from the year 1905 in the United States.

Alexander Maitland (Michigan politician)

Alexander Maitland (June 20, 1844 – January 1, 1929) was a lieutenant governor in the US state of Michigan from 1903 to 1906.

Bliss (surname)

Bliss is a surname. Notable people with the name include:

Aaron T. Bliss (1837–1906), U.S. Representative and Governor of Michigan

A. J. Bliss (1862–1931), British iris breeder

Alexa Bliss (born 1991), ring name of American professional wrestler Alexis Kaufman

Arthur Bliss (1891–1975), British composer

Atlanta Bliss (born c. 1952), American jazz trumpeter

Baron Bliss (1869–1926), British philanthropist in British Honduras

Bliss Carman (1861–1929), Canadian poet

Brian Bliss (born 1965), American soccer defender and coach

C. D. Bliss (1870–1948), American football player and coach

Caroline Bliss (born 1961), British actress

Charles K. Bliss (1897–1985), inventor of Blissymbols

Chester Ittner Bliss (1899–1979), biologist known for his contributions to statistics

Cornelius Newton Bliss (1833–1911), American merchant and politician

Daniel Bliss (1823–1916), American founder of the American University of Beirut

Dave Bliss (born 1943), American college basketball coach

Diana Bliss (1954–2012), Australian theatre producer

Doctor Willard Bliss (1825–1889), American physician

Dorothy Bliss (1916–1987), American carcinologist

Douglas Bliss (1900–1984), Scottish painter

Duane Leroy Bliss (1835–1910), American industrialist

Ed Bliss (1912-2002), American journalist

Edward Bliss (1865-1960), American missionary to China

Eleanor Albert Bliss (1899–1987), American bacteriologist

Frank Bliss (1852-1929), American baseball player

Franklyn Bliss Snyder (1884-1958), American educator and academic

Frederick J. Bliss (1857–1939), American archaeologist

George Bliss (disambiguation), multiple people

Gilbert Ames Bliss (1876–1951), American mathematician

Harry Bliss, American cartoonist

Henry E. Bliss (1870–1955), American librarian and inventor of the Bliss classification

Henry H. Bliss (1830–1899), first person killed in a motor vehicle accident in the United States

Ian Bliss, Australian actor

James Blish (1921–1975), American author of fantasy and science fiction

Johnny Bliss (1922–1974), Australian rugby league footballer

Karen Bliss (born 1963), American cyclist

Laurie Bliss (1872–1942), American football player and coach in the United States

Lillie P. Bliss (1864–1931), American art collector and patron, founder of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Lucille Bliss (1916-2012), American actress and voice artist

Michael Bliss (born 1941), Canadian historian and award-winning author

Mike Bliss (born 1965), American NASCAR driver

Nathaniel Bliss (1700–1764), English astronomer

Philemon Bliss (1813–1889), U.S. Congressman and jurist

Philip Bliss (1838–1876), American hymn lyricist and composer

Philip Bliss (academic) (1787–1857), Registrar of the University of Oxford, etc.

Ray C. Bliss (1907–1981), one of the important national U.S

Richard Bliss, American telecommunications technician arrested in Russia on charges of espionage.

Ryan Bliss (born 1971), American digital artist

Sister Bliss (born 1970), British keyboardist, record producer, DJ, composer and songwriter

Stephen Bliss (1787–1847), American minister and politician

Sylvester Bliss (1814–1863), Millerite minister and editor

Timothy Vivian Pelham Bliss (born 1940), British neuroscientist

Thomas Bliss (born 1952), motion picture producer and executive producer

Tasker H. Bliss (1853–1930), U.S. Army officer

William Dwight Porter Bliss (1856–1926), American religious leader and activist

William Henry Bliss (1835–1911), English scholar

William Wallace Smith Bliss (1815–1853), U.S. Army Officer

Zenas Bliss (1835–1900), U.S. Army General and Medal of Honor recipient

Bliss Township, Michigan

Bliss Township is a civil township of Emmet County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the township population was 572. It was named after Gov. Aaron T. Bliss. Bliss Township is the location of Wilderness State Park and White Shoal Light.

Fred M. Warner

Fred Maltby Warner (July 21, 1865 – April 17, 1923) was an American politician. He served as the 26th Governor of Michigan from 1905 to 1911.

Henry M. Youmans

Henry Melville Youmans (May 15, 1832 – July 8, 1920) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Youmans was born in Otego, New York and attended the common schools. He was in the employ of the York & Erie Railroad Co. on the Susquehanna division for ten years. He moved to East Saginaw, Michigan in 1862 and engaged in the manufacture of lumber and salt from 1863 to 1878. He moved to St. Clair County in 1878 and engaged in farming and lumbering until 1884 when he returned to East Saginaw. Youmans served as mayor of East Saginaw in 1886 and 1887, and also served four terms as alderman.

In the general election of 1890, Youmans ran as the candidate of the Democratic Party and defeated incumbent Republican Aaron T. Bliss to be elected from Michigan's 8th congressional district to the 52nd United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1891 to March 3, 1893. He was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures on Public Buildings. He was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1892, losing to Republican William S. Linton. He was also unsuccessful against Joseph W. Fordney in 1902.

After leaving Congress, Henry M. Youmans became a member of the Michigan Senate (22nd district) in 1896 and 1897. He engaged in agricultural pursuits in Bridgeport, Michigan until his death in Saginaw, where he was interred in Brady Hill Cemetery.

Horatio Earle

Horatio Sawyer Earle (1855–1935) is known as the "Father of Good Roads" or simply Horatio "Good Roads" Earle.

James C. McLaughlin

James Campbell McLaughlin (January 26, 1858 – November 29, 1932) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

McLaughlin was born in Beardstown, Illinois. His parents, David and Isabella (Campbell) McLaughlin, had come from Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1851 and settled in Beardstown. The family moved to Muskegon, Michigan, in 1864, and David became a leading attorney in Muskegon. He served on the Muskegon School Board for 25 years and was the secretary for 19 years.

McLaughlin attended the public schools of Muskegon and graduated from high school in 1876. After a preparatory course, he entered the literary department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the fall of 1878, but did not graduate. He became an assistant to his father and later worked at a bank. In the summer of 1880, he worked as an office clerk and bookkeeper in a law office, and studied the law. He entered the law department of the University of Michigan in the fall of 1881 and graduated in 1883. In the same year, he was admitted to the bar, and joined his father's law firm in Muskegon.

After his father's death in 1891, he had his own practice until 1899, when he formed the firm, J.C. & J.A. McLaughlin, with a cousin as the junior partner. McLaughlin also succeeded to the abstract business of his father, under the name of Muskegon County Abstract Company. He was also a director of the Enterprize Foundry Company and a director and attorney for the Home Builders & Loan Association, both of Muskegon.

He served as prosecuting attorney of Muskegon County, 1887-1901. In 1901 was appointed by the Governor of Michigan Aaron T. Bliss as a member of the board of State tax commissioners and State board of assessors, on which he served until 1906. He also served at various times as chairman of the county and city Republican Party committees.

In 1906, McLaughlin was elected as a Republican from Michigan's 9th congressional district to the 60th United States Congress. He was subsequently re-elected to the twelve succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1907, until his death in 1932, just 21 days after losing the November 8 general election to Democrat Harry W. Musselwhite.

McLaughlin died in Marion, Virginia, while en route to Washington, D.C.. He is interred in Evergreen Cemetery in Muskegon, Michigan. He was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, the Foresters, Maccabees, and Elks.

His brother, Andrew C. McLaughlin, was a respected scholar of American history.

List of Lieutenant Governors of Michigan

The Lieutenant Governor of Michigan is the second-ranking official in U.S. state of Michigan, behind the governor. The holder of this office is afforded the courtesy title of the Honorable for life.

The current lieutenant governor is Garlin Gilchrist, a Democrat, who has held the office since January 1, 2019.

List of people from Saginaw, Michigan

Heidi Androl, actress, contestant on The Apprentice Season 6

Robert Armstrong, actor, star of King Kong, nephew of playwright Paul Armstrong

Sewell Avery, chairman of U.S. Gypsum Corporation and Montgomery Ward

Edward G. Begle, mathematician specializing in topology; director of the School Mathematics Study Group, credited with developing what came to be known as new math

Aaron T. Bliss, Governor of Michigan

Alfonso Boone, NFL player

Ken Brown, NFL player

Monty Brown, professional wrestler

Sophina Brown, actress

Ferdinand Brucker, US House of Representatives (1897–1899)

Wilber Marion Brucker, Governor of Michigan 1931–1933, Secretary of the Army 1955–1961

Bob Buhl, pitcher for Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies

Jim Burba, hotel investment partner

Wellington R. Burt, wealthy industrialist

Louis Campau, pioneer who lived in Saginaw before he founded Grand Rapids

William Clemens, film director

L. Perry Cookingham, first City Manager

E. Irving Couse, artist

Bob Devaney, football coach

Frank Emerson, 15th Governor of Wyoming

Matthew Glave, actor

Draymond Green, NBA player

Harold J. Grimm, professor of history and expert on Protestant Reformation

Darvin Ham, NBA player

Robert G. Heft, designer of the current American flag

Edward Heinemann, aircraft designer responsible, wholly or in part, for 20 major military aircraft, including the A-4 Skyhawk light bomber, the F3D Skyknight night fighter and the F4D Skyray carrier-based fighter aircraft

Tory Humphrey, NFL player for Green Bay Packers

Brian d'Arcy James, musician and actor

Isham Jones, musician

Kid Lavigne, boxer, world lightweight champion 1896-99

Laurie Beebe Lewis, born Laurie Seaman, singer with Pitche Blende, The New Mamas and The Papas, and The Buckinghams

Stephen Lynch, Tony Award-nominated actor, comedian and musician

Mark Macon, NBA player

Roy Manning, NFL player

Gerald Marks, songwriter

Kenyon Martin, NBA player

Janet J. McCoy, High Commissioner of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

Tim McCoy, cowboy actor, member of Cowboy Hall of Fame

Terry McDaniel, NFL Pro Bowler for Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Raiders

S. Epatha Merkerson, actress (Law & Order)

William Butts Mershon, Saginaw mayor, author and businessman

Richard Mudd, grandson of Samuel Mudd

Ruth Nelson, actress

Robert Nickle, artist

Anthony Ray Parker, actor

Doug Peacock, author, grizzly bear expert, lecturers

Rose M. Poole, Oregon businesswoman and politician

Prozak, born Steven T. Shippy, rapper

Question Mark and the Mysterians, rock band

James Reed, NFL player

Jason Richardson, NBA player

Anthony Roberson, NBA player

Theodore Roethke, poet

Charles Rogers, NFL player

James St. James, TV personality and celebutante

Stuart Schweigert, NFL player

Dan Severn, mixed martial arts fighter, UFC Hall of Fame

Harry Shannon, actor, Citizen Kane

Tom Smallwood, professional ten-pin bowler and winner of the 2009 PBA World Championship

Ernest A. Snow, Michigan Supreme Court justice

Sonny Stitt, jazz musician

Deon Strother, NFL player

Sam Sword, NFL player

Dick Wagner, musician

Harry Watson, Jr., actor

Serena Williams, 7x Australian Open, 3x French Open, 7x Wimbledon, 6x U.S. Open and Olympic tennis champion

Sharrie Williams, gospel blues singer/songwriter

Stevie Wonder, singer, musician and composer, winner of 22 Grammy Awards

Lamarr Woodley, NFL player

Curt Young, MLB player and pitching coach

Clifton Ryan, NFL player

Sonny Digital, Musician

Mars Argo, (born Brittany Alexandria Sheets) singer/songwriter, ex lead singer of band Mars Argo, part of the defunct YouTube channel grocery bag.tv

Michigan's 8th congressional district

Michigan's 8th congressional district is a United States congressional district in Southern Michigan and Southeast Michigan, including almost all of the state capital, Lansing. From 2003 to 2013 it consisted of all of Clinton, Ingham, and Livingston counties, and included the southern portion of Shiawassee and the northern portion of Oakland counties.

After the redistricting that resulted from the 2010 Census, the district was shifted south to no longer cover Clinton or Shiawassee counties and instead covers more of Oakland County, including Rochester.

The district was first created in 1873, after redistricting following the 1870 census.

The district's current representative is Democrat Elissa Slotkin, who defeated incumbent representative Republican Mike Bishop in November 2018.

Orrin W. Robinson

Orrin Williams Robinson (August 14, 1834 – September 6, 1907) was a politician and businessman from the U.S. state of Michigan. He ran a successful logging operation in the Upper Peninsula and was elected to serve in both houses of the Michigan Legislature and two terms as the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, from 1899 to 1903 under Governors Hazen S. Pingree and Aaron T. Bliss.

Timothy E. Tarsney

Timothy Edward Tarsney (February 4, 1849 – June 8, 1909) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Tarsney was born in Ransom, Michigan and attended the common and high schools. He worked on the Government roads in Tennessee until the close of the Civil War. When he returned to Michigan, he settled in Saginaw, where he was employed as a sawmill engineer and became a marine engineer in 1867. He graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1872 and was admitted to the bar the same year and commencing practice in East Saginaw. He was elected justice of the peace in 1873 and city attorney from 1875 to 1878, when he resigned. His brother, John Charles Tarsney, was a U.S. Representative from Missouri. His sister Mary E. Tarsney married Thomas A. E. Weadock who became a U.S. Representative from Michigan after her death.

In 1880, Tarsney was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the 47th United States Congress, losing to Roswell G. Horr. He was a delegate at-large to the Democratic National Convention in 1884. That year, he defeated Horr to be elected as a Democrat from Michigan's 8th congressional district to the 49th Congress. He defeated Horr again to be re-elected to the 50th Congress, serving from March 4, 1885 to March 3, 1889. He was an unsuccessful candidate for re-election in 1888, losing to Aaron T. Bliss.

Tarsney moved to Detroit in 1893 and resumed the practice of law. He served on the corporation counsel of Detroit from 1900 to 1908. The following year, he died at the age of sixty in Detroit and is interred in Calvary Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan.

United States congressional delegations from Michigan

These are tables of congressional delegations from Michigan to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

William C. Maybury

William Cotter Maybury (November 20, 1848 – May 6, 1909) was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan.

Territorial (1805–37)
State (since 1837)

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