Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Lucia Bailey (Mrs. Robert F.) Bliss, 1881-1967
By Sally Blanchard-O'Brien, Archivist, Vermont State Archives & Records Administration
Vermont Equal Suffrage Association: Committee on Arrangements for the April 21, 1920 meeting with the Governor
Lucia Matilda Bailey was born on June 24, 1881 to Dr. Charles A. Bailey and Ella S. Brown of Williamstown, Vermont, and was the granddaughter of a Civil War lieutenant colonel, A. C. Brown of Montpelier. Lucia attended schools in Montpelier while living with her uncle, and was involved with Unitarian Church groups, and debate and theater clubs. She was a member of the 1898 graduating class of nineteen from the Washington County Grammar School, the predecessor to Montpelier High School, and attended Smith College with one of her closest friends.
Lucia graduated from Smith in June of 1903 and returned to Montpelier, where she soon after wed Robert Farwell Bliss, a clothing merchant in his family's store, A. D. Farwell Co. The young couple were married July 7, 1903, in a celebration at her grandfather's house on Summer Street. The Blisses moved to a home on neighboring Winter Street, near the entrance of Hubbard Park. They went on to have five children – Ella in 1904, Albert in 1905, Arthur in 1908, Esther in 1913, and Robert Jr. in 1922.
Lucia was a founding member of the Montpelier Women's Club, which was organized under the Vermont Federation of Women's Clubs (established in 1896). Lucia was very active in the Montpelier club, serving on several committees and in executive roles. She was recording secretary in the early 1910s and was elected president of the club in 1919.
She was one of 400 women to march on Montpelier on April 22, 1920 in an attempt to force Governor Clement's hand in calling a special session to ratify the federal voting amendment, which was not effective in changing the Governor's mind. Shortly after the Nineteenth Amendment was finally ratified, Lucia was made Chairman of Thrift for the Vermont Federation of Women's Clubs.
Later in life, Lucia was a Justice of the Peace for Montpelier for over two decades (1923 until 1945) and served as a commissioner of the Green Mount Cemetery. She was widowed in 1946 when her husband died of a sudden and unexpected illness. Lucia died of heart disease at age 86 in Girouard's Nursing Home in Barre on November 8, 1967 and was buried in Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier.
- State of Vermont. Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908. Ancestry.com.
- State of Vermont. Vermont, Birth Records, 1909-2008. Ancestry.com.
- State of Vermont. Vermont, Death Records, 1909-2008. Ancestry.com.
- 1900 US Federal Census. Montpelier, Washington, Vermont; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0231; FHL microfilm: 1241695
- 1910 US Federal Census. Montpelier Ward 5, Washington, Vermont; Roll: T624_1617; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0293; FHL microfilm: 1375630
- 1920 US Federal Census. Montpelier Ward 5, Washington, Vermont; Roll: T625_1875; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 93
- "School Days Ended." Montpelier Evening Argus, June 11, 1898, pg. 2-3. Newspapers.com.
- "Goddard Boy Married." Barre Daily Times, July 8, 1903, pg. 1. Newspapers.com.
- "Bailey-Bliss Wedding." Montpelier Evening Argus, July 7, 1903, pg. 1. Newspapers.com.
- "Annual Meeting of the Women's Club Held and Officers Elected." Montpelier Evening Argus, May 2, 1912, pg. 2. Newspapers.com.
- Montpelier local news, Waterbury Record, May 21, 1919, pg. 2. Newspapers.com.
- "Vermont Women Report Results." Barre Daily Times, June 5, 1919, pg. 1. Newspapers.com.
- "Suffragists Final Drive on Clement Apparently Fails." Burlington Weekly Free Press, April 22, 1920, pg. 1. Newspapers.com.
- "Women Respond." Rutland News, November 16, 1920, pg. 2. Newspapers.com.
- "Robert F. Bliss." Burlington Free Press, December 17, 1946, pg. 13. Newspaper.com.
- "Mrs. Lucia B. Bliss." Burlington Free Press, November 9, 1967, pg. 8. Newspapers.com.
- Montpelier City Directory, 1915, pg. 62. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995, Ancestry.com.
- Finding aid for Vermont Federation of Women's Clubs Records, 1896-2002, Doc 142 & Doc 673. Vermont Historical Society, Barre, Vermont. Accessed online: https://vermonthistory.org/documents/findaid/VermontFederationWomensClubs.pdf
- Lists of Justices of the Peace. Vermont governor's executive records 1791-1977 (A-189). Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, Middlesex, VT.