Biography - C. W. BLISS

C. W. BLISS, former president of the Illinois Press Association, and a leading journalist of the central section of the state, is the owner and publisher of the Montgomery News, the leading Democratic paper of the county. He was born in Fillmore township, where the village of Fillmore now stands, January 8, 1846. His father, the Rev. Alfred Bliss, was a pioneer Methodist preacher of central Illinois long connected with the southern Illinois Methodist Episcopal conference. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Direxia Haines Knowles, was married to Alfred Bliss in New Hampshire, March 4, 1834. In 1838 Alfred Bliss and his wife, accompanied by their two children, sisters of our subject, came to Illinois, settling in Fillmore township, Montgomery county, where he had purchased land. The trip was made by wagon, and they reached their destination on the 24th of September, 1838. Rev. Bliss afterward acquired a large body of land in Fillmore township, and was not only extensively engaged in farming, but was also prominent in public affairs and assisted in the substantial, intellectual and moral development of his community. He was for two terms one of the associate judges of the county court of Montgomery county, and in 1853 he began preaching, devoting the remainder of his life to the itinerary, being sent to a number of charges in central and southern Illinois. His wife died in 1894, but he passed away in 1899.

C. W. Bliss attended the public schools of Fillmore and in 1864 entered McKendree College at Lebanon, Illinois, where he was graduated on the completion of the classical course in 1869 with salutatorian honors of his class. The degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred upon him, and in 1874 he received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from the same institution.

Mr. Bliss entered upon his business career as a school teacher and followed that profession for two years, during which time his leisure moments were devoted to the reading of law. He was admitted to the bar at Edwardsville, Illinois, in the fall of 1871 and located for practice in Hillsboro, where for two terms he held the office of city attorney, and in addition enjoyed a good private practice. He has been master in chancery in Montgomery county for three terms and has performed other official service, having in 1892 been appointed by Governor John P. Altgeld a trustee of the Southern Illinois Normal University at Carbondale, serving for four years as president of that board.

In February, 1892, Mr. Bliss purchased the Montgomery News, the leading Democratic paper of the county, and has devoted his time and energies to newspaper work since then, having secured the largest subscription list of any paper the county has ever had and larger than any other in this part of the state. The News is a sixteen-page journal, all home print, and the office is one of the best equipped newspaper plants in the central section of the state. The building, a large brick structure, was erected by Mr. Bliss in 1894 as a home for the News, and is furnished with a large power press, job presses, folders and other equipments all operated by electricity. His standing as a representative of the profession is indicated by the fact that he was chosen president of the Illinois Press Association for the year 1902-3. His business interests have not been confined entirely to the law or to his newspaper work. He is a director of the First National Bank of Litchfield, also of the Hillsboro National Bank and of the Hillsboro Building & Improvement Association, and he is the president of the Montgomery County Telephone Company. He owns about five hundred acres of land in Fillmore township.

Mr. Bliss was married October 15, 1872, to Miss Elizabeth W. Phillips, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burrell Phillips, of Hillsboro, and a niece of Judge Jesse James Phillips of the supreme court. To this union three children were born: Noi Celecta, born July 25, 1873, is the wife of Dr. H. A. Seymour, of Hillsboro; Clinton P., who was born July 30, 1875, is private secretary to Congressman Ben F. Caldwell, of the twenty-first Illinois district; and Marguerite was born May 23, 1890.

Mr. Bliss is a Mason, a member of Litchfield Commandery, K. T., and is also identified with the Knights of Pythias lodge and with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He holds membership relations with the Methodist Episcopal church of Hillsboro, and is a liberal contributor to every public enterprise.

Extracted 11 Apr 2020 by Norma Hass from 1904 Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois, by Jacob L. Traylor, pages 8-11.

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