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Daniel Bliss - Poet

Journal by TLBoehm

For almost a year now Ive had this genealogy addiction and my two small family histories encompassing less than a thousand souls has now burgeoned to over 4500 souls on Ancestry.com and over 100 thousand on onegreatfamily.com. Now I am an opportunist. I will research any branch biological as well as by marriage which means I now have some interesting information on my step mom, my step dad and a step grandfather (my biological grandfather my dads dad died the same year I was born so the step grandfather is the only one Ive known.)

So far my northern European appearance holds true with few surprises of the oh I didnt know we were Dutch, French or German variety. That being said, I keep searching for family members who may be non Caucasian blood ties (so far I have one Native American great great grandmother) and since Im seeing some evidence of settlers in the 1700s it may be possible that I will run into some family member who owned slaves. I would find this onerous but I know its possible.

What I recently found however is that at least one of my step family had a spine and stood publicly against slavery (unfortunately he was also a British sympathizer.cant win em all) and the information thus far is below:

The Gravestone of John Jack on the Burying Hill in Concord. John Jack a former slave who had bought his freedom in 1761, asked Daniel Bliss to draw up his will, and Bliss made him immortal by composing an epitaph in the prevailing balanced syle of the day, wlhich had a barb for the liberty-loving patriots who nevertheless kept slaves. One of Bliss's Tory friends sent it to England to be printed in a London newspaper as an ironic comment on the pretensions of the Sons of Liberty. Lane Bliss 2009

John Jack was a former slave who had been owned by shoemaker Benjamin Barron of Concord, MA. Jack was able to buy his freedom and before his death on March 17, 1773. According to the local historian his epitaph was written by a local attorney who was an active abolitionist.
This attorney was also a Torrey and supported the British during the Revolutionary War. He had to flee for his life since Concord was a hot bed of British resistance. No one ever knew for sure where he went. (research shows he died in New Brunswick, Canada Boehms notes)
Here's the tombstone epitaph he wrote:

God wills us free
Man wills us slaves
Gods will be done
Here lies the body of John Jack,
Native of Africa. Who died March 1773
Aged about sixty years
Tho' born in a land of slaves
He was born free
Tho' he lived in a land of liberty
He lived a slave,
Till by his honest tho' stolen labour
He acquired the source of slavery
Which gave him his freedom;
Tho' not long before
Death the grand tyrant
gave him his final emancipation,
and put him on a footing with kings
Tho' a slave to vice
He practiced those virtues
Without which kings are but slaves. " (-Daniel Bliss (1739 - 1805) relationship to me: 1st cousin 5x removed of husband of paternal grandmother)

From the internet Craig Brown

My bent in posting this is: we humans have the propensity at times to distance ourselves from things based on our immediacy or our personal experience. Time and distance become our excuses to forget the horror and the injustices real people experienced while living out their lives in anonymity. We can certainly overcome via education and empathy but we can never forget..complacency and apathy are poisonous - deadly

Peace.

Surnames: BLISS
Viewed: 289 times
by TLBoehm Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-08-15 12:22:30

TLBoehm , from New Mexico, has been a Family Tree Circles member since May 2010. is researching the following names: BOEHM, HUGHES, KEELEY and 5 other(s).

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