| LYMAN W. BLISS, M. D., of Saginaw City, was born in
Smithfield, Madison County, N.Y., July 12, 1836. He is one of seven sons
born to Lyman and Anna (Chaffee) Bliss, and was reared in his native
place, where he received his primary education. His school advantages
were exceptionally good for that day, when the typical schoolhouse was a
log cabin with a puncheon floor and clapboard roof, and the teacher was
usually a dictatorial ruler possessing meager resources of learning.
Very different are the facilities that now obtain all over our country
to meet the educational wants of our youth. To state that Lyman W. Bliss
availed himself to the utmost of his advantages, is but to record what
actually occurred. He possessed a desire for knowledge which achieves
scholarship in spite of adverse circumstances, and without which no high
order of learning is attainable, however complete the educational
machinery may be.
Having resolved upon becoming a physician, our subject entered upon the study of medicine in Madison County, under the preceptorship of Drs. Milton, Barnett and F. T. Mayberry, and later took a course of lectures in Albany Medical College and also at the Geneva Medical College, where he graduated in 1856. His scholarship was of so high an order that in his early manhood he was offered and accepted a professorship in Hobart College, at Geneva, N. Y. The breaking out of the Civil War was the immediate cause of his resignation of that lucrative position, in order that he might serve his country on the battle field. In due time he was commissioned first assistant surgeon of the Tenth New York Cavalry and was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. As the reward of faithful discharge of duties, he was promoted to be surgeon of the Fifty-first New York Infantry, also serving as Brigade Surgeon and acting Medical Director.
Close attention to his professional labors and exposure brought on an attack of typhoid fever in 1864 and it was three months before Dr. Bliss was able to resume to work. At the close of the war he was in charge of the field hospital of the Ninth Army Corps, after which he was placed in charge of a hospital at Alexandria, Va., where he remained until he was mustered out of service in August, 1865. From the field of battle he proceeded to Michigan, locating in Saginaw City in September, 1866, and commencing the practice of medicine which he still continues. As a physician he enjoys a lucrative practice. and is foremost among the practioners of the Saginaw Valley, while as a business man he possesses abilities of no ordinary charactor (sic).
Forseeing the vast importance of lumbering interests in this State and the great future of pine, the Doctor established the firm of A. T. Bliss & Bro., purchasing the old Jerome mill in 1868, which they rebuilt. From .a small beginning their business grew to an enormous magnitude until a few years ago when the property was placed in hands of the Doctor's sons, J. W. and E. S. The lumber operations of the firm of A. T. Bliss & Bro. are chiefly carried on in Gladwin and Clare Counties, where they run two camps of about fifty men each, and also lumber through several jobbers. They still own and operate the fine mill at Carrollton, which gives employment to a force of more than one hundred men and finds a ready market in the principal cities of the East. Their sawmill, which is one of the largest on the river, is equipped with a five hundred horse-power engine a battery of five large boilers, and a smaller one of two boilers for the salt works. The products of the mill amount to nearly thirty million feet of lumber, which he banked each season, and the mill and salt works cover an area of about twenty-five acres of ground.
Another enterprise which engages Dr. Bliss's attention is the James Stewart Company, of which he is President. That business was originally started by James Stewart in 1872 and continued by him until 1882, when the present corporation was formed. The office and salesroom of the company consist of a large two-story building, 200x100 feet in dimensions, with first-class shipping facilities, in addition to which the firm has a feed mill 160x25 feet, on North Water Street; a feed warehouse 200x20 feet, and other warehouses for pork, flour, tobacco and general merchandise, covering 60x100 and 60x75 feet respectively. They carry an enormous stock and are especially known as importers of teas, which comprise the finest qualities ever brought to the Valley. Their extensive business throughout the county as well as in various portions of the State, requires a large forte of clerks besides several traveling men. The standing of the company is of the highest and their reliable dealings secure for them an immense patronage.
The Doctor is also a stockholder in several enterprises besides the James Stewart Company. His abilities have been called into requisition by his fellow citizens who bestowed upon him the highest gift within their power, the Mayoralty. In that office he served three years, and his efforts were directed with success toward checking all useless expenditure of public moneys as well as introducing into the city every improvement calculated to advance its growth. Dr. Bliss was married July 1, 1858, to Miss Mary Jerome of Tompkins County, N.Y., and they are the parents of four children, three living, namely: Anna M., now Mrs. J. M. Bittman, James W. and E. Stanton. The Doctor is a systematic reader and keeps well posted upon the great issues of the day. A man of firm conviction, his cheerful disposition of heart and mind disarms those who might otherwise be his opponents, and causes all who know him to hold him in high esteem. The Doctor was President of the State Medical Society for the year 1891.