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William Wallace Smith Bliss

Birth17 AUG 1815
West Point, West Point Academy
USA Army / Lieutenant Colonel
History8 MAY 1846
Palo Alto
Mexican-American War
9 MAY 1846
Resaca de la Palma
Mexican-American War
SEP 1846Monterrey
Mexican-American War
FEB 1847Buena Vista
Mexican-American War
Death5 AUG 1853
Graveaft 5 AUG 1853
Aged: 38 years
Married to Zachary Taylor's youngest daughter and served as OCCU adjutant and secretary to President Zachary Taylor U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 William Wallace Bliss Gender: Male Spouse Name: Mary Elizabeth Taylor Marriage Year: 1848 Louisiana Marriages to 1850 Name: Bliss, William Spouse: Taylor, Elizabeth Marriage: 4 Dec 1848 This source has a date a day earlier than all other sources, family or official. The accepted date of the marriage is 5 December 1848. I suspect the date on this Louisiana source is the date of issuance of the license, with the marriage taking place the next day. The image of the record was not available, only a transcription on Ancestry.com. "William Wallace Smith Bliss (August 17, 1815 - August 5, 1853) was a United States Army officer. He was born in Whitehall, New York. He was the son of Captain John Bliss (of Lebanon, New Hampshire) and Olive Hall Simonds (of Todd County, Kentucky). John Bliss was a graduate of West Point in 1811. ... On December 5, 1848, at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, he married the general's youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Taylor ("Miss Betty"). When General Taylor became President of the United States, on 4 March 1849 he became Private Secretary to the President. ... Following a visit to plague-ridden New Orleans on behalf of Tulane University then named the University of Louisiana, Colonel Bliss died of Yellow Fever at Pascagoula 5 August 1853, aged 38. ... A twenty-foot memorial of Italian marble was raised to the memory of Colonel Bliss, "a finished scholar, an accomplished gentleman and a gallant soldier", in the Girod Street Cemetery, New Orleans. In 1955, the cemetery being condemned for the building of a highway, Colonel Bliss' remains and monument were moved to Fort Bliss [which was named for him in 1854]." -- Wikipedia, William Wallace Smith Bliss" wikipedia.org

Mary Elizabeth Taylor

Birth20 APR 1824
Death25 JUL 1909
Aged: 85.3 years
"Mary Elizabeth 'Betty' TAYLOR, b. 20 Apr 1824, Louisville, KY; d. 25 Jul 1909; m. 5 Dec 1848, Col. William Wallace Smith BLISS"
-- Taylor -- Zachary and Margaret, dgmweb.net

Some sources have reported her birth date as 22 October 1820. Her age of 25 in August 1850 census would match birth in the first half of 1825. The 1860 age of 27 would make it the first half of 1823. In 1880 she is 55, matching the April 1824 birth. Her grave does not have her birth date, only the death date. The Find a Grave Memorial for Betty reports the dare as 20 April 1824, but does not report the source of this date. Wikipedia and other reliable sources also report this April 1824 date.

U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
William Wallace Bliss
Spouse Name: Mary Elizabeth Taylor
Marriage 1848

Some genealogies report that the marriage took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A Louisiana marriage record reports the marriage occurred in East Baton Rouge Parish on 4 December 1848.

Louisiana Marriages to 1850
Spouse 1: Bliss, William
Spouse 2: Taylor, Elizabeth
Marriage 4 Dec 1848 East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

In the 1850 census, she and her husband are listing in the family of her father, President Zachary Taylor, in Washington, DC.

1850 Federal Census, Washington, DC, 31 August, Ward 1, page 125 (63), Hse #930, Fam #983
Zachary Taylor 66 M Prest US $100 Real Estate b Virginia [b abt 1784]
Margaret Taylor 64 F Maryland [b abt 1786]
Wm W S Bliss 35 M Lt Col USA b NY
M E Bliss 25 F Kentucky

After the death of her husband William Bliss in 1853, Mary Elizabeth married Philip Pendelton Dandridge. I find the middle name spelled both Pendelton and Pendleton. I find that his name on Betty's grave monument is spelled Pendleton. Interestingly, Wikipedia spells in Pendelton (see below).

"She married Philip Pendleton Dandridge 2 NOV 1858, son of Adam Stephen Dandridge and Sarah Pendleton. He was born 2 OCT 1817 in Virginia, and died 28 OCT 1881."
-- RootsWeb, Edelen, McAfee etal, ancestry.com

Census records of the related individuals report that Philip and Betty lived in Winchester, Virginia.

1860 Federal Census, Frederick County, Virginia, 19 July, Winchester, PO Winchester, page 116, Hse #824, Fam #825
Philip P Dandridge 43 M Laborer $0 Real Estate $0 Personal stated b VA [b abt 1817]
Mary E Dandridge 33 F Housewifery b KY [b abt 1927]
Anna S Dandridge 18 F born MD [b abt 1842]
Philip P Dandridge 16 M born VA [b abt 1844]
Lilly D Dandridge 15 F born MD [b abt 1845]
Charles V Dandridge 14 M born VA [b abt 1846]
William F Dandridge 10 M born VA [b abt 1850]

1880 Federal Census, Frederick County, Virginia, 2 June, Winchester, District 46, page 8, Hse #49, Fam #52
Dandridge, P P W M 62 Head Farmer At Home VA VA VA
Dandridge, Mary E W F 55 Wife Keeping House KY VA MD
Berns, Jane Mulatto M 45 Servant Servant VA VA VA
Turner, Mollie Mulatto F 16 Servant Servant VA VA VA

Some sources report she was buried in Bayou Sara, Louisiana. But records show she and her husband Philip Dandridge were living in Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, in the years before her death. Credible sources report she died in Winchester.

Family Data Collection - Individual Records
Mary Elizabeth Taylor
Spouse: William Wallace Smith Bliss
Parents: Zachery Taylor, Margaret Mackall Smith
Birth 20 Apr 1824 Jefferson, KY
Marriage 5 Dec 1848 Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge, LA
Death 26 Jul 1909 Winchester, VA

Minnesota Cemetery Inscription Index, Select Counties
Mary Elizabeth Dandridge
Birth Date: 20 Apr 1824
Death Date: 26 Jul 1909

Note that the Cemetery listing reports the date of death as 26 July 1909. Other sources report death date as 25 July 1909. An obituary collection cites publication of her obituary on 26 July 1909, which states that death was that same date.

Ohio Obituary Index, 1830s-2009, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Elizabeth Dandridge [Elizabeth Taylor]
Birth Date: abt 1824
Death Date: 26 Jul 1909
Age at Death: 85
Parents: Zachery
Newspaper: Fremont Daily News, Fremont, Ohio, 26 Jul 1909, p. 2, col. 4
-- Newspaper Repository: Hayes Presidential Library - Fremont, Ohio

Wikipedia has a brief summary of facts about Mary Elizabeth. The marriage date here is again different, giving us three different reported dates of marriage, if all these records indeed report the marriage of the same two individuals.

Mary Elizabeth Bliss

Mary Elizabeth Taylor Bliss (April 20, 1824 - July 25, 1909) was the daughter of President Zachary Taylor and First Lady Margaret Taylor. She served as White House hostess due to her mother's ill health.

On December 8, 1848, Mary married William Wallace Smith Bliss, the future president's secretary. Bliss died in 1853.

On July 9, 1850, the Taylor presidency came to an abrupt end when the President died. After that, Mary lived the rest of her life out privately, living with her mother until her mother's death in 1852.

On February 11, 1858, she married Philip Pendelton Dandridge.

Mary lived until the age of 85.
-- "Mary Elizabeth Bliss, Wikipedia, "wikipedia.org

There is a virtual memorial for Mary Elizabeth Taylor Bloiss Dandridge on Find a Grave. Note that the builder of this memorial has added Mary Elizabeth's birth date. There is no birth date on the grave monument, only her death date.

Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Taylor Dandridge
Birth: Apr. 10, 1824 Kentucky, USA
Death: Jul. 25, 1909 Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia, USA

Daughter of General Zachary Taylor "Old Rough and Ready", President of the United States and Margaret Mackall Smith. "Betty" assumed the role of official hostess for her father due to her mother being a semi-invalid.

She received high praise for the manner in which she preformed the required duties. She was only 25 at the time and had just wed her father's faithful Adjutant General Lt. Col. William Wallace S. Bliss. She became widely acquainted with noted men and women during her brief but brilliant regime in the White House and she was known far and wide as a young woman of rare fascination and beautiful character.

It was regarded as a high honor to be asked to one of her entertainments. Her oldest sister Sarah Knox "Knoxie" Taylor was the first wife of Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern Confederacy. Betty lost her husband in 1853; she remarried to Philip Pendleton Dandridge of Winchester, moving to her husband's home in 1857 and living there for fifty-two years.

A southern sympathizer during the civil war she saw fit to save a young scout, John E. Boyd who was captured by Federal officials and sentenced to death. He lived and served as one of the pallbearers that carried Betty to her final rest place.

Zachary Taylor (1784 - 1850)
Margaret Smith Taylor (1788 - 1852)
William Wallace Smith Bliss (1815 - 1853)
Philip Pendleton Dandridge (1817 - 1881)

Burial: Mount Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, Winchester City, Virginia, USA
Created Apr 23, 2007
-- Find A Grave Memorial #19066269, findagrave.com
Pics & Attach-
  • West Point, West Point Academy

Namesake Places (1)

SuggestTo suggest changes to these records, login & edit by choosing options to edit, & your suggested changes will be saved for the record moderator to review.
  1. Findagrave LTC William Wallace Smith Bliss
  2. Book: Officers and Graduates of the US Military Academy, V1;
    Source from: Ray Gurganus
  3. Book: The Descendants of the Presidents, by R. Whitney Tucker; Chapter 12, Zachary Taylor;
    Source from: Ray Gurganus
  4. Other: Gedcom Import: Jenkins-Gregory-LeStrange-McSwainPRIV.ged; Imported 8/19/2007;
  5. Website: Wikipedia; Article "William Wallace Smith Bliss";
  6. Website: Taylor -- Zachary and Margaret;
  1. Wikipedia
  2. Findagrave
  3. Census: 1900 VA, Frederick Co, Winchester. 1900, Winchester City Ward 4;
    Source from: Steve Taylor
  4. Other: Gedcom Import: Jenkins-Gregory-LeStrange-McSwainPRIV.ged; Imported 8/19/2007;
  5. Website: Wikipedia; "Mary Elizabeth Bliss:" Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Taylor (Bliss) Dandridge, Birth Date: 20 Apr 1824, Death Date: 26 Jul 1909;
  6. Website: Taylor -- Zachary and Margaret;
NY Churches
Orange Co Markers
Orange Co Postcards
VA Churches
Jefferson Co Postcards
Winchester Postcards
Added8-19-2007 01:49 PM8-19-2007 01:49 PM
Updated9-4-2022 09:02 PM4-24-2016 09:32 AM
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