NortonFamily of Fluvanna, Virginia
Ten Generations in America
Some thoughts on the journey of the Norton family from England to Virginia to Utah.
Generation 1 - Reverend Robert Norden (b.abt. 1650, East Sussex, England d.1726, Isle of Wight, Virginia) m. Jann
Generation 2---- unknown Norden b.abt 1694 wife Catherine Layless (Lillis) Isle of Wight. VA
Generation 3---- ---- Christopher Norden “The Commodore” b.abt 1714 m 1st Anna abt 1737
Generation 4---- ---- ---- John Norton (b. 1738 New Kent, Virginia d.abt.1787, Bourbon, Kentucky) m. Mary unknown
Generation 5---- ---- ---- ---- David Norton (b.1763 Fluvanna, Virginia d.1814, Pendleton, Kentucky) m.Sophia Fancher
Generation 6---- ---- ---- ---- ---- David Norton Jr. (b.1796, Pendleton, Kentucky d.1860, Lehi, Utah) m. Elizabeth Benefield 1819
Generation 7---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- John Wesley Norton (b.1820, New Lisbon, Indiana d.1901, Panguitch, Utah)
Generation 8---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- Riley Reynolds Norton (b.1855, Salt Lake City, Utah d.1942, Panguitch, Utah)
Generation 9---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- Merritt Lee Norton (b.1891, Panguitch, Utah d. 1981, Provo, Utah)
Generation 10---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- Merritt Ronald Norton (b.1913 Panguitch, Utah.
It is not the purpose of this book to document and prove every generation of this pedigree. In fact, it’s certain that some of the early information will change. But I’m satisfied that the future changes won’t detract from the story. From the devoted Reverend Robert to our retired British naval officer with pirates. From the hill country of Kentucky to the coast of California and back to Utah. The Revolution, George Washington, Yorktown, Death Valley, the Gold Rush, polygamy, the Gunfight at the OK Corral, masked robbers on horseback, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young the massacre at Haun’s Mill and Mountain Meadows and more. This is an incredible story. I hope you enjoy.
Reverend Robert Norden born about 1650, Warbleton, England
"I Robert Norden Profess faith in God the Father and in Jesus Christ his Eternal Son, the true God and in the Holy Spirit, one God Blessed for ever more, and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration."
I was as surprised as any to learn our actual surname is Norden. We know this from DNA testing. It turns out our DNA does not match any other Norton in the world, but is a perfect match with all the Norden’s south of the Mason-Dixon line.
The Reverend Robert Norton was born in Warbleton, East Sussex, England about 1650.
Warbleton is also just 16 miles from Hastings where William the Conqueror came ashore from Normandy to assert his rule of England in 1066. Our specific Norden DNA strongly supports the idea that we are descended from these invading Norman. As early as 1200 there is a place name within a few miles of Warbleton called “Norden Fields” located near Hamsey were Samuel Norden lived. In any event, our Norden ancestors were not warriors. We find clergy, scholars and Gentlemen in the ranks, but no Knights.
There’s just a couple of things to know about Warbleton and East Sussex. First, almost all the cannons for England’s early navy were forged here. They were very good at it, but they cut down a lot of the trees for charcoal and that led to erosion that silted up the harbors on the seacoast. The sea commerce moved to open harbors at Portsmouth. This made the sea coast of East Sussex perfect for smuggling goods from Europe and resulted in keeping the countryside, country and not urban. By the time Robert Norden is born, the canon business has moved on and the prominent industry is making gloves. Our Robert Norden is known as “glover” to distinguish him from “Robert Norden of the brook” in Waldon just 7 miles east.
The second thing to know about East Sussex in the time of Robert Norden is that it’s a hotbed of religious reform. The Reverend Samuel Norden of Hamsey less than 20 miles to South of Warbleton represented the Puritan cause at the Court of St James when King James 1 called the clergy together to try and settle their differences in 1604. The Puritans sought to “purify” the Church of England and the Church of England wanted to hold on to the great wealth and power they wielded. The Church won, but out of the process came the first authorized English translation of the Bible, the King James version. As a result of the Puritan loss, Samuel Norden was removed from his position as pastor of the church at Hamsey. He died a few years later in 1609 and in his will he has a lot to say about the state of religion in England.
The Puritans in East Sussex took a terrific beating during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and and later Queen Mary. Hundreds were burned alive for their beliefs and to assure the supremacy of the Church of England over the Catholic Church. Robert Woodman who lived in Warbleton and a contemporary of Samuel Norden was burned alive in 1557. Samuel Norden was called to an Inquisition by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the days when the first Wycliff English translations of the bible were smuggled into England, they came through Hamsey and Warbleton. Warbleton Puritans expressed their displeasure with the Church of England by naming their children in descriptive ways. Eschew-evil, Lament, No-merit, Sorry-for-sin, Learn-wisdom, Faint-not, Give-thanks, and the most popular, Sin-deny.
Robert Norden registered his home in Warbleton as a Baptist meeting place in 1690 and became a prominent spokesman for the General Baptist movement from 1704 being chosen as a “messenger” who had the responsibility to establish new Baptist congregations. About this time the idea of establishing Baptist congregations in Virginia was put forth. There were several Baptist families already there and asking for a “messenger” to formally organize churches there.
Robert Norden was overwhelmingly approved for this cause. He was about 64 at this time. His wife, Jan Norden had died a few years earlier in 1706. His children were in their 20’s and all he lacked was the means to get there. In May 1714 the General Assembly of the General Baptist churches in England "appointed and approved " the two men to go to Virginia to "propagate the Gospel of truth". They wanted them to go with all "Convenient Speed". They were sent as "messengers" but in effect they were "missionaries" and even "church planters." Virginia was viewed as a mission field.
Thomas White was the second man chosen. He served a church at Bessels Green, Kent, which viewed the experiment as "the great work of gathering and settling churches in gospel order in Virginia". After some debate over White's possible departure, the church agreed to spare him for a time to perform "this good and great work." White died on the ocean journey, but Norden arrived and gathered Baptists into what traditionally is held to be the first Baptist church in Virginia, Burleigh in the Prince George and Isle of Wight area.
But first Robert Norden had to register and take an Oath of Loyalty to the King of England in court in Virginia.
Robert's mission was not in Virginia to preach every Sunday at these churches but to travel and establish new churches. The first church was at Burleigh, Virginia and another in the county of Surry as well. It’s probable that he set up others, but we have no records. After he died members of his churches as well as some of his grandsons moved to South Carolina and established Baptist congregations there.
"I , Robert Norden do sincerely promise and Solemnly Declare before God and the World that I will be true and faithful to his Majesty King George, and I do Solemnly promise and Declare, that I do from my heart abhor,detest and renounce as Impious and Heretical that Damnable Doctrine and Position that Princes Excommunicated or Deprived by the Pope or any Authority of the See of Rome may be deposed or Murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever, and I do Declare that no foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, State or Potentate hath or ought to have any power, Jurisdiction Superiority, Pre Eminence or Authority , Ecclesiastical or Spiritual with in his Realm. .
To this oash he insisted on amending
"I Robert Norden Profess faith in God the Father and in Jesus Christ his Eternal Son, the true God and in the Holy Spirit, one God Blessed for ever more, and I do acknowledge the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration."
It’s evident Robert brought along at least some of his family. One son, Robert died in Waldron, England 23 years before he left for Virginia. We have identified at least 2 other sons and a daughter in Virginia. Robert labored in his ministry until 1725 when he died on December 1. One of his grandsons was Melchizedek Norden who moved to Harnett county, North Carolina and all the Nordens in North Carolina and Tennessee descend from him.
The other children are Charles Norden who died before his father in 1724, Sarah Norden who married Arthur Bridger in Virginia and an unknown son who married Catherine Layliss in what is known as Hampton, Virginia today. It is interesting to note that all of the Norden families had cleared out of East Sussex by 1760.
The Unknown Norden born about 1689 East Sussex, England
This is our missing link. He was born in England and whether he came to Virginia or not we don’t know. Our Norden’s in East Sussex were not wealthy but were Gentlemen or Yeomen. (Yeoman was a Gentleman who declined to pay the fee to be listed as a Gentleman.) In Virginia, one son was a school teacher and a possibly a clerk for the Anglican church in New Kent county. Sarah Norden married into a well off Bridger family. Our unknown Norden who married Catherine Layliss lived in Elizabeth cittie now called Hampton, Virginia. This is the point where all the ships from England hit land in Virginia. But this is all we know.
Christopher Norden born about 1714, England
One of our best sources of family information is Nimrod Norton who was born in Kentucky in 1830. He left several histories of his family.
This appears to be Christopher Norden. We have to calculate and infer a lot of his history, but we have records for a lot more. He was born about 1714 in England. It is said he was a British naval officer and that appears to be correct. In the family he is never mentioned by name but always referred to as “The Commodore”. This is a term for a captain who commands other captains and certainly is a nickname. It’s doubtful that his career in the British navy took him further than a midshipman or lieutenant. Often midshipmen began a career between 12 and 14 years of age. There might be a dozen midshipmen on a larger ship as well as several lieutenants. Advancement depended on passing tests determining knowledge of navigation and seamanship. But advancing also depended on patronage and opportunity to distinguish yourself. Opportunities during Christopher’s naval career were few and between naval actions when the navy didn’t need officers, they were simply put ashore to fend for themselves. Then called back when England needed their services.
“ (my grandfather) was the son of a retired British Naval officer who had settled in Virginia before the Revolution, and gave five sons to the Continental army.”
One history comes from Elizabeth Norton Trimble who lived with her grandmother until her death in 1819 and heard from her lips this story.
"My grandmother, Elizabeth (Norton) Benefiel, was the daughter of John Norton and was born May 1, 1769. Her (grand)father, (Christopher) Norton, was born in England in the time of trouble with sea pirates. He went to sea at the age of twelve and was 40 years on the sea. There was one noted pirate that did such havoc to the merchant vessels that England fitted out a vessel expressly to capture him. My grandfather Norton was on the English vessel that followed the pirate five years and finally came on it in a heavy fog in speaking distance. When spoken to they hoisted a black flag. The pirates had two vessels - one very small and tams - the idea was with the English that they would cripple the small vessel first. They shot into it and it sank like a lump of lead. They then attacked the other vessel and had a hard fight with them - finally overpowered them and took them to England. But most all the treasure was on the little vessel. Grandfather said that the money that was on the big vessel was divided among the men and there was a hatful to each man. All treasure was on the little vessel. I did know the names of the two captives and of both the English and pirate vessels which I have often heard my grandfather relate. I don’t doubt it is in the libraries as England fitted out the vessel expressly for the capture of the noted pirate, the event would no doubt be on record.”
I have made a couple of edits in parenthesis to correspond with the names. The father of Elizabeth’s mother was John Norton b.1738 in New Kent, VA,, his father was the “Naval Officer” Christopher Norden. There is no record we can find of this action. But here is what we do know and what we infer.
Christopher Norden was born about 1714. He possibly began his career in the British navy at age 12 as a midshipman about 1726. He would have needed an appointment, but his family connections in England could have supplied that. 40 years of sea might have taken him until 1766 and should have included a career in the merchant marine of Virginia. With family at Hampton and Richmond, VA it would be normal for Christopher to be put ashore there or even traveled from England to Virginia.
In 1738 he’s about age 24, father of a boy John and married to Anne in New Kent, VA. It’s right then that Britain needed a navy for the War of Jenkins Ear which takes place mainly in the Caribbean. This war lasted until 1747 and Christopher might have been at sea from 1739 to 1746 when he is next mentioned in a lawsuit in 1747 against Charles Friend a mariner at James City, VA.
It appears there are no more children with Anne and it seems she died during this period. Christopher is back in Virginia and just north of Richmond in Herico county and is mentioned making 5 pairs of shoes for Thomas Craddock in 1751. While he is obviously a man of higher station, he is just as obviously without funds. He witnesses deeds and is involved with court actions but in 1754 he takes the oath of an insolvent debtor.
By this time he is associated with Thomas Emmerson of Henrico county Virginia and in 1753 he married Emmerson’s daughter Mary. They had children in 1754 and 1757. Then the British Navy came calling again for the 7 years war with major action again in the Caribbean. We have no further children until the war is over in 1759.
Christopher b.abt 1714 and Mary Emmerson have 3 children
Christopher is 62 by 1776 and probably didn't participate in the army. However, he may have been active as a naval advisor.
Nortonsville, Boonesville and the Shenandoah
Nortonsville is a hamlet located on the border of
present day Albemarle and Green counties Virginia. There are several
records and events that tie our Norton family to this little hamlet
and it's possible this is the area that our Norton family came to settle
after Christopher and Mary married in 1752. It is possible Christopher
Norton aquired this land from a headright for transporting people to
Virginia. There are several nearby examples of this but there is no
Link to a map of land owners around Nortonsville circa 1760
of Nortonsville are very old. An expert who examined them said some
of the buildings were made of recycled earlier materials including ship
timbers. The main house consists of three sections built at different
times. In fact one (the oldest) was supposed to have been moved there
from another spot nearby. The land contains the old general store, a
cottage, a farmhouse, a smithy, grist mill, dairy, barn, cemetery
and two schools - one for white children and the other for black children,
Some of the wood beams in the farmhouse appear to be recycled from a
circa-1600s building and, before that, a ship.
link to a picture of Nortonsville.
In 1761 Mary
Norton witnessed a deed for a property just 7 miles from Nortonsville.
(see map below) source Why is
Mary Norton witnessing this deed? As it turns out, three of Mary's brothers
own about 1,000 acres bordering or very close to this deed. Further
evidence that Mary's brothers were active in this area is a record
of her brother Henry Emmerson being baptized by Benjamin Burger, the
same minister who married one of Mary's children. The other witnesses
on the deed are David and Caty Thompson. The Thompsons are a significant
family in Albemarle and Fluvanna owning many thousands of acres. George
Thompson posted marriage bonds for James Norton in 1788. The owner of
the property under Nortonsville was originally Roger Thompson who's
actual plantation is thought to be at Boonesville. (note on this map
it's called Boonesboro, but on recent maps it is Boonesville.) There
is a significant connection between the Nortons and Thompsons, but we
have not been able to identify the source. (It may be through the Emmerson
family who owned land next to David Thomson in Lousia county.)
An important note
is that Mary Norton witnessed the deed and not Christopher Norton. We
consistantly find that Christopher Norton is missing from important
documents suggesting that he is away from the family and perhaps at
to Nortonsville are the marriages in 1775 of two of Christopher
and Mary's children.
married Mildred Taylor in January of 1775. She is the daughter of Erasmus
Taylor and Jane Moore of Orange County and have land situated not far
from Nortonsville. Mildred Taylor was a 2nd cousin of President James
Madison. Mildred's uncle also produced another president, Zachary Taylor.
Mary's oldest daughter, Sarah married William Farney of Orange county
Virginia in November of 1775. William Farney is really Fearneyhough
and the Fearneyhough land is located just 2 miles from Nortonsville
over the border in present day Green county. (Orange county included
Green county in 1774). The Fearneyhough also appear to be a wealthy
family. When Sarah's husband died just after the Battle of Yorktown
their estate was valued at 30,000 pounds Sterling. These marriages give
us some insight into the status of the Norton family at this time. Christopher's
former commission in the Royal Navy and position in maritine must have
established him in society. Mary's family is also well placed.
While we haven't
been able to determine when Nortonsville got it's name it is included
on the earliest maps we can find. Nortonsville is missing from "The
Roads of Albmarle County" which records the building of the roads
through Nortonsville in 1743. (source)
John Norton Sr. born 1738 New Kent, Virginia d.abt.1787, Bourbon, Kentucky
John has been one of our most difficult ancestors to find. We have confused him with Christopher and with his son John. But we have teased him out of the historic references available to us so far and I expect that now that we know he’s there, more references will appear.
Our first reference is his birth recorded in New Kent, Virginia to Christopher and Anne Norden. But he was assumed to be John Norton the older brother of David. It was in Kentucky that we identified two John Nortons. The senior John living in Carlisle and the younger at North Middletown. As with all these old records, it was there all along, but we simply couldn’t see it.
John Norton Sr. had at least three sons, John Jr b.1759, James b.1761 and David b. 1763 in Fluvanna, VA There are a couple of histories about this family from this time. They appear to have originated from Nimrod Norton, a son of Hiram Norton, who is a grandson of this John Norton. So Nimrod is 3 generations from this John Norton. During the Civil War he was a state representative from Missouri to the Confederate Congress in Richmond. It’s there he appears to have connected with a John Norton from Marion County, South Carolina and the two decided they shared the same history. Both recorded their version after the Civil War.
Here’s Nimrod’s version.
Colonel N. L. Norton of Austin, was born near Carlisle, Nicholas county, KY, April 18, 1830, son of Hiram Norton, a successful business man, whose brother, Capt James Norton, fell at the battle of Tippecanoe, while serving under General Harrison. His (Hiram’s) grandfather was John Norton son of a retired British Naval officer (Christopher) who had settled in Virginia before the Revolution, and gave five sons to the Continental army. One of these (unknown) died on an English prison ship in Charleston harbor; another was a sergeant in Washington's bodyguard (James) , was present at the surrender of Cornwalis, and afterward was a field officer in the Indian campaign in the Northwest.
Here’s the version from John Norton of Marion, South Carolina:
This Virginia John had five sons, all of whom were soldiers in the Revolutionary War; one of them, James, served in Washington's guard as a Sergeant; another one of them was taken prisoner and died in a prison ship, in Charleston harbor, in 1780 or 1781.
Their names were William, James, John, David and Solomon. After the Revolution, the old man and two of his Sons James and John went to Kentucky; two others of then came to South Carolina. William went to Georgetown, and the other went to Beaufort.
David Norton born 1763 Fluvanna, Virginia d.1814, Pendleton, Kentucky
David Norton’s 1794 homestead on Norton’s Branch near Pigeon Forge, TN
David Norton’s 1796 homestead in Bourbon, KY
John Norton’s (David’s brother) 1796 homestead in Bourbon, KY (home still standing)
David Nortons 1814 homestead in Kentucky.
David Norton Jr. born 1796, Pendleton, Kentucky d.1860, Lehi, Utah
Map David Norton Jr home in Indiana
Image David Norton Jr home in Indiana showing location of original home
David Norton Jr. is the pivotal character in our family history. He was born in the hill country of Northern Kentucky and traveled all the way to the California coast and back to Utah. He fought against the great Indian warrior, Tecumseh in Canada and was at the massacre at Haun’s Mill in Missouri.
The singular event in David Norton’s life was when he met the first Mormon missionaries. His conversion was such, that he endured the massacre of his neighbors and being driven from his home not once, but twice. He became the trusted confidant of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. His experience with the Mormon church took him from his home in Indiana all the way to the California gold camps and back to Lehi, Utah.
David was the 8th child and 4th son of David Norton Senior’s 12 children. He was born 29 Oct 1796 in Pendleton county, Kentucky, probably near Falmouth, Kentucky, but he grew up right on the border of Indian Territory west of Cincinnati.
The Licking River flows North from the Norton farms in Bourbon County to Falmouth in Pendleton county and continues to the Ohio River and Cincinnati. This river connected all the points that the family moved between 1795 and 1810. They only stayed in Falmouth for about 18 months before moving north into the Cincinnati area of Ohio. It appears that David Sr. received a land grant there for his service in the Revolution.
When David was 14 his family moved back to Kentucky. His father had acquired the rights to improve and sell 3000 acres from the Merriwether family. This was remote land in the hill country south and east of present day Williamstown. Here he would have helped the family literally carve out a new home, clearing the trees and building roads to connect their land to bigger towns. There were 11 children living here. The youngest was 2 and oldest was 25. The remains of this house can still be seen along the road that they built to connect Williamstown with Cynthiana. It has a stone foundation and appears to be about 30 feet long built along the lines of other Norton homes in the area.
When the War of 1812 broke out, volunteers were recruited to fight the British and Indians. The first volunteer companies from Kentucky were savaged in an ambush devised by Tecumseh. His plan lured 990 of the Kentucky Volunteers beyond their picket lines where they were surrounded by 2000 British and Indian forces. Not one Kentuckian survived and David's cousin living in North Middleton, Bourbon county Ky was one fo those killed.. In the fall of 1813 more volunteers were called up. David and his older brother Henry joined the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia commanded by Col. William Mountjoy August 29, 1813. David was 16 and Henry was 21.
They rode north to Canada and another of Tecumseh’s ambushes. On October 5 The British commander formed the British regulars in line of battle at Moraviantown and planned to trap the American forces under the command of William Henry Harrison "Old Tippecanoe" on the banks of the Thames, driving the Americans off the road with his cannons. Tecumseh's warriors took up positions in a swamp on the British right to catch the American's in the flank. Despite the Indians' flanking fire Kentucky Mounted volunteers under the command of James Johnson broke through; the British cannon having failed to fire. Immediately the British turned and fled the field, many of them surrendering.
Chief Tecumseh remained and kept up the fighting. Colonel Richard Johnson who commanded the Kentucky cavalry charged into Chief Tecumseh's position to draw attention away from the main American force. Tecumseh and his warriors answered with a volley of musket fire that stopped the cavalry charge in its tracks. Fifteen of the men were killed or wounded and Johnson himself was hit five times. Johnson's main force became bogged down in the mud of the swamp and the cavalry charge turned to hand to hand fighting where Tecumseh was killed. David mustered out of the Kentucky Mounted volunteers on November 5th of 1813.
Just 6 months after he returned from Canada, David’s father died of spotted fever. He was 17 years old. His three older brothers were married and his younger brothers were just 10 and 4, so David was the main provider for his mother’s household of two young boys and four girls. Over the next four years they somehow got by.
David’s older brother had married a Benefield girl in 1805 and was raising a family West of Cincinnati. As new land became available in Indiana, he joined several Benefield men and moved to Henry, Indiana near a little town called New Lisbon about 1817. David joined him on the prairie in 1819 and courted a Benefield girl named Elizabeth Benefield. They were married in February of 1820 and homesteaded close to his brother near New Lisbon. He was 24 and she was 19. Nine months later John Wesley Norton was born.
John Wesley Norton (b.1820, New Lisbon, Indiana d.1901, Panguitch, Utah)
Riley Reynolds Norton (b.1855, Salt Lake City, Utah d.1942, Panguitch, Utah)
1855, Jun 22,
Born in Salt Lake City, UT GSL 15th Ward., 3rd South and 3rd West. Riley is the 2nd child born to Martha Minerva Reynolds, 2nd wife of John Wesley Norton.
The first school Riley attended was in Lehi. The cost of the school was $3 per quarter. They studied spelling, arithmetic and third and forth grade readers.
Move to Panaca, NV
In 1864 my father moved with his family from Lehi, UT to Panaca, NEV. My brother and I drove the cattle and sheep. We left Lehi in October and we had very cold weather most of the trip. We lived in Panaca until Panguitch was settled the second time in 1871.
Soon after we settled in Panaca a man named Rogers was killed by an Indian. Rogers was a man who usually had a race horse or two. He had matched one of his horses in a race for $1,000 against a horse owned in Pahranagat Valley, Nevada and was on his way there to have the race when he was killed. Rogers was about 6 miles out of Panaca on his way to Pahranagat Valley when he met a lone Indian walking along the trail. They traveled side by side for a ways talking to each other when the Indian stopped, letting Rogers ride past him and then shot him in the back. The Indian laid Rogers on his blanket, got on Rogers horse and drug him off the trail about a mile, threw him in a deep ravine and covered him with rock 7 or 8 feet deep. The Indian was only a boy 18 years old. After he was captured he said his uncle told him he would never be a great warrior unless he killed a white man.
He rode Rogers horse to the Indian camp, (there were 10 Indians in the camp) and told them what he'd done. The horse was killed and used for camp meat. They took Rogers saddle to pieces using what parts they wanted and burned the rest. His gun was taken apart and buried in the ground under their camp fire. These Indians may never have been brought to justice had it not been for Mr. Barren who lived in Panaca. Mr Allen Barren had an Indian boy working for him whom he called Jack. Jack had been off on an errand for Barran and on the return trip came upon the Indian camp. He stopped and visited with the Indians for a while and they told him what had happened to Rogers, also telling him if he told they would kill him.
Their camp was located in the hills above Panaca, where they could keep a lookout for a posse should one head their way. On Jacks arrival in Panaca, Mr. Barran noticed the boy was acting very strange and within a day had persuaded Jack to tell him the story. In Pahranagat Valley people were wondering what had become of Rogers and when a messenger arrived from Panaca telling them the news 16 armed men rode back to help capture the Indians. The white men knew if they went direct to the Indian camp, the Indians would see them coming and leave camp, so they split three ways, two men went straight for the camp working themselves among the cattle so the Indians would not become suspicious. The other two groups left town going in a different direction from the camp. The plan was to circle the camp and come up on the Indians from behind. The plan worked perfectly and the Indians were surrounded before they knew the white men were in the country. They took the Indian boy who shot Rogers and his uncle back to town, leaving the other Indians in camp.
When the posse reached town they decided that the rest of the Indians were guilty and that they should get them. Jack knew all the secret trails of the Indians and he told the posse that he could see the Indians (they had left the camp) leaving the country, headed in the direction of St. George, Utah. They gave Jack the fastest horse in Panaca and made him lead them in pursuit of the Indians because he knew their trails. The Indians would not surrender and were all killed but one, who escaped.
They took the boy who murdered Rogers, tied one end of a rope around his wast and the other end to a buggy and made him run behind the buggy as fast as he could to the spot where he had buried Rogers. When they came to the place they made him throw all the rocks off and carry the body up out of the ravine. The murder was hanged and his uncle shot for the crime committed. The reason this story has always been of interest to Mr. Norton is due to the fact that his father and uncle, John Reynolds had been in the hills hunting horses at the time of Rogers death and if these Indians had not been captured they would very likely have been arrested for the crime." Interview with Riley Norton 1938
Family moved to Panguitch, UT.
" I used to herd the milk cows of the Panguitch settlers. The herd averaged from 110 to 125 head. I herded them north along the Sevier River. The feed was so plentiful that I only had to herd them about 8 hours a day. I received 2¢ a day per head. The country was covered with grass and beautiful trees, with many clear streams running from the hills to the river.
The first train I remember seeing was one tipped over at the point of the mountain near Salt Lake City, Uta 1875. My first train ride was from Payson to the end of the line south and back. 1875.
1876, May 20
Married Rachael Olive Lee in Panguitch, UT Riley is 21 and Rachel is 18. Rachael is the daughter of John D Lee and Sarah Caroline Williams. She was born in Fort Lee, at Harmony, UT in the old Fort. There was a great rain storm that lasted 40 days an washed out one of the adobe walls of the fort that fell across the bed Rachael was sleeping on. Two of her siblings were killed and she survived.
Riley reports in an interview done in 1938 that his first home was of sawed logs and they used a coal oil lamp. They burned Pinion Pine and Cedar wood for heat. They ate fish, pork, deer, beef, milk, butter, fruits, vegetables and greens. He said they had more meat to eat in those days especially deer and beef. "The men wore denim Overalls, shirts made from cloth spun from cotton or wool. Jeans made from cloth spun from wool and suits made from deer hides. Mother carded and spun much of the wool and cotton to make cloth for our clothes. My Mother carded and spun the cloth from wool and made me my first Sunday suit. It wore for years and was a nice looking suit for those days. The women wore dresses made from Calico. Those who could afford it had dresses made from fine imported cloth from the Eastern States."
"Sugar was more expensive and a suit of clothes cost nearly twice then what it does today. They planted wheat, oats, barley and potatoes. He made their own harrow and cultivator. The first industry was farming, stock raising and sawmills."
"All the streams had trout in them. There were deer, rabbits, antelope and many other animals any place you looked.
1877, April 17
Birth of John Riley Norton in Panguitch, UT
The Piedes tribe of Indians in Panguitch were only in Panguitch about four to six months out of each year. They would go southeast into the Wahweep country for the winter. In the summer time about all they had for shelter was brush piled around a tree with an opening so that they could get in between the brush and tree. some of them had tents. The squaw did all the work as moving the camp, cooking, gathering the pine nuts, taking care of the children and made all the clothes from hides. The Indian buck did nothing but hunt and prowl around.
The Navajos did not live in Panguitch. They lived east across the Colorado River. A number of Indian Bucks (usually some where between five and ten) came to Panguitch each fall for the purpose of trading blankets for horses. They inspected our horses very thoroughly then piled out what blankets they would give in exchange. If you were satisfied the trade was made. If not they would pile on another blanket or say, "No trade". I remember one trade I made with them. I owned a two year mare which I led up to their camp. I did not expect much for her because she was small but she pleased one of the Indians very much. He gave me 3 large blankets, 4 saddle blankets, enough cloth to make two pair of jeans and two plugs of chewing tobacco size 2x4x12 inches for her.
They used to camp in the back part of James Henrie's lot. They called him "Uncle Jim". We used to go up there and contest with them in foot racing , jumping and wrestling. We could give them tough competition in the jumping and wrestling, but at foot racing they were too fast. They were good sports and whenever they lost a bet paid it willingly. The Navajos were a very industrious tribe while the Piedes were a more shiftless tribe. The Navajos taught their boys to run as soon as they were old enough to walk. One method they used was to line up about 15 boys in a row putting one boy behind them with a strap. They had to run a certain distance and if the boy behind got close enough to any of the fifteen boys he had the privilege of strapping them. On the other hand if he did not strap all of the 15 boys, he was put in the line and another boy was given a chance to strap him. In this way many of the boys developed into great runners. The Navajos still bring their blankets to Panguitch each fall and exchange for a horse as their ancestors did in the early days of Panguitch.
M Ronald Norton, a grandson of Riley remembers the Navajos coming to Panguitch when he was about 10. One of them took a liking to his horse and made an offer of blankets. His father kept refusing the trade but the blankets finally piled up too high. His Dad said, "Sorry Ron, the horse has to go." The Indian got his horse and his mother got the blankets.
1879, March 12
Birth of Caroline Minerva Norton in Panguitch, UT
1880, Oct 15
Riley and Rachael are sealed in the St George Temple. Also they are sealed to their parents.
1881 (about April)
"In 1881 I moved with my family to Smithville, Arizona. At that time there were only thirteen cabins in Smithville. A short time before I moved from Panguitch to Smithville I met a man by the name of Markham. He camped in Panguitch Valley for two nights with 175 head of horses. He was taking them to Tombstone, Arizona to sell. After moving to Smithville I came in contact with Markham again. He was living in Smithville and he told me that rustlers stole his herd of horses before he got to Tombstone. All he had left was a large span of mules and to keep them safe he had built a sold stable of sawed logs. At nights he would tie them in the stable with log chains. The chains were fastened to the mangers with padlocks and were made secure to the mules necks in the same fashion.
I left my family at Smithville and went to Sulphur Springs Valley where I was occupied hauling lumber from the saw mill there to Tombstone. There were eight of us who freighted together. Altogether we had 28 head of good horses. Very few days passed that we did not see rustlers. Some times they would stop and admire our horses, telling us that they were going to steal them some night. They wore bandannas around their necks and would pull them up over their faces when they talked to us. There was practically no law in Tombstone at that time and the rustlers did about as they pleased. (Shoot out at the O.K. Corral, on October 26, 1881)
We always tried to hide our camp at night. Some time we would travel miles in the dark to throw off our tracks. Soldier Spring was about half way between Tombstone and Sulphur Springs Valley. We usually camped near the spring, both on our trip to Tombstone and on the our trip back to the saw mill. One trip when we were leaving the saw mill with our loads, a friend told us that the rustlers were planning to steal our horses the night we camped at soldier spring. We came to the spring after dark, watered our horses, filled our barrels and moved on 8 miles before making camp for the night. This same night a Mexican freighter stopped at the spring (after we had left) and made camp for the night. He had a large outfit, some where in the neighborhood of 200 oxen. The rustlers came during the night and stole all of his oxen. The next morning the Mexican was out at day break and soon discovered that the oxen were missing. He hurried to a small knoll and soon discovered their trail dust about 6 miles off, headed for the Mexican border. He hurried to Tombstone and reported the loss to the sheriff, figuring he would organize a posse and catch the rustlers before they reached the border. Here he was disappointed because the sheriff refused to go after the oxen unless the Mexican agreed to give him what oxen he succeeded in getting back. The Mexican was the loser either way. His wagons were still at the spring the last time I was there. Part of the men in our party quit that trip and part of them made another trip, but finally had to give up their job or lose their horses and probably be killed themselves.
When I moved to Smithville in the Spring of 1881, I bought some land from Markham that had just been planted to corn. I was gone 6 weeks freighting lumber and when I returned the corn was ready to harvest.
1881, Nov, 12
Birth of Olive May Norton at House Rock, Coconino, Arizona.
1882, Oct 5
Birth of Charles Lee Norton at Pima, AZ Charles died the same day.
1884, April, 6
Birth of Robert William Norton at Pima, AZ
In 1885 a company of migrants traveled north toward Fort Thomas, Arizona. The road they were traveling was out through a thick patch of Mesquite from one to two miles long and higher than a mans head. A boy about twelve years old was driving the loose horses. He was a short distance ahead of the company, but was unable to see them and they were unable to see him due to the height of the Mesquite. for this reason he did not see the Indians who were waiting in ambush for him. They made him stay on his horse and drove it with the loose horses up a side draw. They traveled this way for a mile, pulled the boy from his horse and mashed his head to a pulp with rocks.
When the emigrants came to the end of the Mesquite, the boy and the horses were not in sight. They became alarmed at once and hurried on to Fort Thomas where they learned the boy had not been seen. They went and found where the Indians had turned the horses up the side draw and soon found the murdered boy. The soldiers of Fort Thomas tried in vain to locate the stolen horses and the Indians who had murdered the boy.
Graham, Arizona was a hiding place for many of the outlaws in the early days of Arizona. I lived in Smithville (now Pima) from 1881 to 1890. During this time one could ride the trails over Graham Mt. and see many tassels of rope hanging from large limbs, sure proof that many a rustler was hanged where he was caught. Tombstone was considered most notorious of the early mining camps of the Southwest. When I left Panguitch in 1881, men seldom wore guns unless they were going in the hills for some purpose. When I arrived in Smithville, Arizona the same year all men wore their six-shooters as they were called and usually had a Winchester in the pit of their arm.
1886, April 27
Birth of Helen Estella Norton in Pima, AZ
1887, June 2
Death of Helen Norton in Pima, AZ
1889, April, 14
Birth of Sarah Elenora, Norton, at Mancos, Montezuma, Colorado
1891, April 14
Birth of Merritt L Norton born in Panguitch, UT
1901, Nov 4
Birth of Mary Moselle Norton in Panguitch, UT
1924, May 15
Rachel Lee Norton dies in Salt Lake City, UT She was 66.
1938, Oct 5 Panguitch UT
Interview with David Kern Owens. At this time Riley said he had 130 decedents.
John R Norton lived in Circleville, UT.
Mrs Moselle Bickley lived at 36 So. 5 'East 3478 in Salt Lake city, UT.
Mirt L Norton lived at 2nd south 59th Provo, UT
Robert W Norton lived in Spry, UT
Mrs Maye LeFevre lived in Panguitch, UT
Mr. Cassie Lynn, lived in Panguitch, UT
1942, April 14
Riley Norton died in Panguitch, UT He was 87.
Merritt Lee Norton (b.1891, Panguitch, Utah d. 1981, Provo, Utah)
Merritt Ronald Norton