From the Hobart Independent, February 28, 1905.
For many years a farmer in Delaware County, New York, Novatus Mapes Blish also held a few local political offices in his native county, serving as a justice of the peace and justice of the session. Possessing a truly unique first name (the first such instance of which this author has located), Blish earns a spot here on the site due to his service as a delegate to the 1880 Republican National Convention from New York. The son of Novatus (1795-1848) and Mary Mapes Barlow Blish (1804-1884), Novatus Mapes Blish was born in Roxbury, New York on July 16, 1828.
The Blish family removed to the town of Stamford, New York while Novatus was still a child and here purchased a 150-acre farm, which would later be enlarged by an additional 100 acres. Young Novatus would attend the district school and later studied at the Hanford Academy in Hobart, New York. Left fatherless at age 19, Blish would take on the day to day management of his family's farm, as well as a small store that came with the original property. He married on September 22, 1851, to Marietta Cowan (1830-1893). The couple's four decades of marriage saw the births of four children, Charles Addison (born 1852), Helen Mary (1855-1878), John Cowan (born 1858) and Marietta Louise (born 1861).
After selling the store on his property in 1861, Novatus Mapes Blish continued operations with his farm, which would eventually consist of 430 acres and a dairy. Blish's obituary in the Hobart Independent also denotes his involvement with a hardware store in Hobart, which he operated with two partners. A devout Presbyterian, Blish served as a deacon in the Hobart Presbyterian Church and for many years served as church treasurer. He undertook further religious work with the Delaware County Sunday School Association (being that organization's secretary) and was also connected with the New York State Sunday School Association.
An active Republican in Delaware County, Blish held the office of justice of the peace for twelve years and from 1858-1859 served as a justice of sessions for the county. In 1880 he was selected as part of the New York delegation to that year's Republican National Convention in Chicago that nominated James A. Garfield for the Presidency. Blish also had some oddly named company at the convention, his fellow delegate being Cyrillo Southworth Lincoln (1830-1900), a former Ontario County state assemblyman featured on this site in August of 2012.
Following his service as a delegate, Blish found prominence in the state grange, representing it before the state assembly in 1883-84 "in promotion of legislation for the benefit of agricultural interests. In 1892 he retired from farming, turning over ownership of the farm to his son John. Widowed in 1893, Novatus Blish made his home with his daughter Marietta Blish Griffin in his later years and died at home on February 19, 1905, aged 76. He was later interred at the Locust Hill Cemetery in Hobart.
From the Jefferson New York Courier, February 1905.