Speakers of the Legislative Assembly

Hon. Bliss Botsford

Bliss Botsford was born November 26, 1813 at Westcock, Sackville, Westmorland County, New Brunswick. He was of Loyalist ancestry, the seventh son of the Hon. William Botsford, a Justice of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick, and his wife, Sarah Lowell Hazen.

His grandfather, Hon. Amos Botsford, was a United Empire Loyalist and the first Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. His father, Hon. William Botsford also occupied the position of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

Bliss Botsford was educated at the public school and at King's College, Fredericton, New Brunswick. He studied law in the office of William End, Bathurst, New Brunswick and was admitted to the Bar of New Brunswick as attorney on June 8, 1836, and as barrister on June 14, 1838.

He located at the "Bend", now Moncton, New Brunswick, and practiced law until 1870. A Cyclopaedia of Canadian Biography describes Hon. Bliss Botsford:

he had a fair share of criminal as well as an extensive civil practice, and gained well-merited distinction at the bar of his native province. He was brought into special prominence by the celebrated Albertite suit, in which he was the defendant's attorney, and won the case. While at the bar, his vigorous, earnest, and persuasive style of delivery always made a favorable impression on a jury, being, like most of the members of his family, of commanding presence, with a personal magnetism that was often irresistible.

He was a prominent member of the A.F. & A.M. for more than 40 years. In 1842 he married Miss Jane Chapman, daughter of John Chapman, Cumberland, England. They had a family of two sons and three daughters.

He was first elected to the House of Assembly as one of the members for Westmorland County at the general election of June 1850, and sat in that Legislature until its dissolution in 1854. At the general election of June 16, 1854, he was defeated but was re-elected in the general elections of June 24, 1856 and April 1857. He sat until the dissolution in 1861 when he temporarily retired.

He was again elected to the House of Assembly in the Anti-Confederation interests at the general elections of March 3, 1865 and June 5, 1866, and also at a by-election held in April 1865. He was re-elected at the general election of July 5, 1870 and sat as a member until his appointment as Judge of the County Court.

In April 1865, he was sworn in as a member of the Executive Council of New Brunswick and received the appointment of Surveyor General in the administration of the Hon. A. J. Smith. He held this appointment until April 14, 1866, when the administration resigned following its defeat at the general election of that year. From February 13, 1868 to 1870, he was Speaker of the House of Assembly, succeeding the Hon. John H. Gray.

In October of 1870 he was appointed a Judge of the County Court of New Brunswick for the district comprising the counties of Westmorland, Kent and Albert, upon the death of Hon. J .W. Chandler. He held this appointment until his death.

He died April 6, 1890, at Moncton, New Brunswick, at the age of 76.

Source - Speakers of the Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, 1786-1985. 1985, Legislative Assembly, Province of New Brunswick, Office of the Clerk, Fredericton, N.B.