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Philemon Bliss (July 28, 1813 – August 25, 1889) was an Ohio Congressman, the first chief justice of the Supreme Court of Dakota Territory, and a Missouri Supreme Court justice.

Bliss was born in Canton, Connecticut in 1813 to Asahel Bliss and Lydia Adams (Griswold) Bliss. He attended Fairfield Academy and Hamilton College, where he studied law. In 1840 Bliss passed the bar and began practicing law, first in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and later in Elyria, Ohio. On November 16, 1843 he married Martha W. Thorpe. He served as presiding judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit of Ohio from 1848 through 1851. Bliss ran for congressional office as a republican and was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He served in both the thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth congressess, but did not run for re-election in 1858. President Abraham Lincoln appointed Bliss chief justice of the Supreme Court of Dakota Territory in 1861. He also served as associate justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri from 1868 through 1872.

After his retirement from the bench, Bliss became Law Dean for the University of Missouri, where he served until his death in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1889. He is buried at the Columbia Cemetery in Columbia, Missouri.


The Philemon Bliss Scholarship was established at the University of Missouri School of Law in his honor.

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