David Norton Jr.
David Norton Jr. Timeline
Norton Jr. & Elizabeth Benefield
David is described as a small, blond, quiet and kind man. Elizabeth, his wife, is mentioned as large, brunette, and ambitious.Family
Father - David Norton Jr.b. 29 Oct 1796 Pendleton, KY d.2 Jun 1860 Lehi, Ut
Mother - Elizabeth Benefield b.9 Aug 1801 Montgomery, KY d.1867 Lehi, UT
John Wesley Norton b. 6 Nov 1820 New Lisbon, Wayne, IN d.20 Oct 1901 Panguitch, UT
James Wiley Norton b.6 Aug 1822 Hamilton, OH d.7 Feb 1897 Iona, Bingham, ID
Melissa Isabell Norton b.23 Dec 1824 Hamilton, OH d.26 Jul 1892 Lehi, UT.
Henry Elliot Norton b.23 Oct 1826 New Lisbon, Henry, IN d.17 Aug 1913 Glenbar, Graham, AZ
Hyram Fletcher Norton b.8 Jul 1829 New Lisbon, Henry, IN.d.13 Apr 1907 Central, Graham, AZ
Isabella Norton b.14 Aug 1836 New Lisbon, Henry, IN d. 22 Dec 1922 Grantsville, Tooele, UT.
David is the son of David Norton Sr. ,a veteran of the Revolutionaly War and a son of Christopher Norton. After the War David Sr. settled for a time in Washington county Virgnia where he probably met his wife Sophia Fancher as the Fanchers moved toward their eventual destination in Pigeon Forge, TN. We don't know a lot about David's mother, Sophia Fancher. It appears she is related to the Fanchers that settled Pigeon Forge, TN. There is a lot of new research along with a DNA strudy for the Fancher family that is ongoing so I'll fill in more of her history as it is better known.
David Sr and Sophia stayed in Pigeon Forge probably on Norton's Branch of the Sevier River where the Fanchers owned land for about 7 or 8 years before rejoining the rest of their Norton family in Bourbon, KY.
David Sr. didn't have much when he came to Bourbon, Kentucky. The tax rolls record that he has 1 horse and 2 cattle and most years from 1791 to 1793 he is listed with no taxable assets. This changed in 1795 with the death of David Sr's father-in-law, John Fancher (Fousher) in Bourbon, KY. The new found wealth of the inheritance fueled a move 40 miles north to Falmouth, Kentucky in what was then Campbell county and which later became Pendleton county. This is where David Norton Jr. was born in 1796.
There are some records that give his birth as 1795, I've chosen 1796 because his father paid taxes in Bourbon in 1795 and David Jr. gave Pendleton as his birth place. Also his sister, Sally has a calulated birth date at 1793 based on the 1810 census and a wedding which makes the 1796 date more reasonable.
Revivals at Cane Ridge Church One of the events of David Jr's young life that should be explored is the revivals at Cane Ridge Church. A group of Kentucky's early settlers built Cane Ridge Meeting House in 1791. Nestled among Kentucky's rolling hills and gracious horse farms, Cane Ridge Meeting House is located on State Highway 537 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. It is believed to be the largest one-room log structure standing in North America. The Cane Ridge Presbyterian congregation with its pastor Barton Warren Stone were hosts for the great revival meetings that took place here in August 1801 and continued for years.
The John Norton family lived just 2 miles from this church and was the center for all the family in Kentucky. No doubt these revivals had a great influence on David Norton Jr. He was just 5 years old when the first great revival took place.
The Licking River flows North from the Norton farms in Bourbon 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. recieved a land grant there for his service in the Revolution and it corresponds with the area that the Benefiel family was living in. The Benefiel's and Norton's are very close. David Sr.'s sister Elizabeth married William Benefiel in Bourbon. David Jr and his brother John will marry Benefiel sisters from the family that settled near Cincinatti, Ohio. We don't know much of how the family fared in Ohio from 1797 to 1810. It appears that at least four more chldren were born there. There's a few brief references and the birth of David Jr's brother Hiram Norton 1803. David Jr. was about 2 when the family went to Ohio and 14 when they came back to Pendleton, Kentucky.
The move back to Pendleton, Kentucky in 1810. David's father had aquired 3000 acres of land from the Meriwether family on the south western border of Pendleton county Kentucky to develop and sell and the family settled in with their 10 children in 1810. This land is right on the border of todays Grant and Pendleton county and on the southern edge. For th next four years the family would build roads and sell 596 acres.
of 1812 and the Battle of the Thames
Volunteers left Kentucky Aug 31, 1813 and rode to Canada for the Battle
of the Thames where Chief Tecumseh
was killed and the British were defeated. David's group was in the thickest
part of the battle and it appears David lost his horse in the hand to
hand conflict.. Click here for an
extended account of the battle
Despite the Indians' flanking fire James Johnson broke through; the British cannon having failed to fire. Immediately the British turned and fled the field, many of them surrendering.
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. David and Henry must have
been in the thick of the fighting and David lost his horse in the battle.
and his warriors answered with a volley of musketfire 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. Tecumseh was killed in this fighting;
The main force finally made its way through the swamp and James Johnson's
troops were freed from their attack on the British. With the American
reinforcements converging and news of the death of Tecumseh spreading
quickly the Indian resistance dissolved.
On May 25, 1817 David Norton requested that he be reimbursed $50 for a horse he had lost while in this militia. David's Brother-in-law Ichabod Ashcraft also made an affidavid.
|This section begins research materials in a timeline format.|
|1831||David sought out the church. He heard about the elders in Winchester from John York or Autin Hammer and went up to hear for himself and was converted before the Elders left. These elders Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin were close to Young and Kimball and were particularly close to Joseph Smith's first plural wife Fannie Alger. Brighams brother moved down to Dublin, IN when Fannie came down and Brigham himself came down to ask her to marry him.|
|1844 June 16 - Nauvoo, IL||
David Norton indited as one of those involved with the buring of the Expositor.
Mount Pisgah Branch,
Norton in the Mount Pisgah Branch:
Oliver Snow was the father of Lorenzo and Eliza. William Snow later traveled with John W Norton to Southern Utah.
|1848, June 7 - Nortons leave for SLC||The
Nortons came with Heber C. Kimball Company (1848)
Departure: 7 June 1848
Sam Brannan begins the Gold Rush.
strode up Montgomery Street on May 10, 1848, with a quinine bottle filled
with gold dust, crying: "Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!"
"By summer of 1848, the camp had over a hundred men. Samuel Brannan, the "Spiritual Guide and director for the Mormon population of New Helvetia and other districts of California" opened a store there. For quite some time, Brannan required the miners to tithe. That is, give one tenth of their earnings, to the Mormon Church. The camp was called Mormon Island because the early miners cut a channel across one edge of the gravel bar there, forming a small island. The town quickly outgrew the small gravel bar.
|1848, Sept 24 - Nortons arrive SLC||Nortons arrive SLC Arrival in Salt Lake Valley: 24 September 1848|
1849, July - James Wiley Norton meets 49er Albert King Thurber at the Old Pioneer Fort in Salt Lake City. They talk all night and Thurber stays in SLC.
Thurber is baptised in Sept 1849 and very soon leaves for California with the Gold Missionaries.
Thurber and his
companions arrived in SLC in 1849 because Smoot was a bishop in Feb
1849. The New York Herald printed news of the discovery in August 1848.
The people in MA would not have started until Feb 1849. It took them
6 months from MA to CA. They left SLC July 31, 1849.
Wiley Norton meets 49er Albert King Thurber
Here's the excerpt: # Utah Historical Quarterly: Rhode Island 49er Albert King Thurber's Gold Rush Journey That Ended in Utah 2006
William G Hartley - firstname.lastname@example.org (801) 422-7520
also # Review of The Mormon Vanguard Brigade of 1847: Norton Jacob's Record: 2006
" Thurber" kept a detailed diary of their route along what became the Salt Lake-Los Angeles trail and about his prospecting days." This diary may have our Nortons in it! "A. K. Thurber, "Journal and Diary of Albert King Thurber," in Treasures of Pioneer History, compiled by Kate B. Carter, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1954], 3:272."
Thurber and Jacob D. Burnham chosen to get gold for B. J Johnson council of Seventy.
Notes on the
Old Pioneer Fort
When more immigrants arrived in the fall, they added extensions at either end of the "Old Fort" to create a quadrangular form, common in western posts, that was 3,135 feet long by 660 feet wide.
The fort had two serious problems: roofs and mice.
Believing it seldom
rained in Salt Lake, the pioneers built flat roofs, using poles that
were infested with bedbugs. Then, as O. B. Huntington recalled, they
piled "an immense quantity of dirt" on the poles "as
probable protection from the rain." When it rained, the roofs leaked
torrents of mud
People abandoned the Old Fort at the first opportunity, and by 1850 it was crumbling away. The city fathers ordered the ruin torn down for "it had become a trysting place for persons of loose morals."
Notes on A. O. Smoot
1849, Oct 11
1849, Nov 10,
1849, Nov 15
The Trip to California
William Riley Judd who later married Isabella Norton also went to California with the Nortons. They came with the Allen Taylor company that Thurbers 49'ers also traveled with.
Allen Taylor, though
probably the least known, was uniquely prepared to
William Riley Judd was driving a team for a widow who nearly drove
[him] crazy with questions as they neared the valley. I
told them that when we got to Emigration Canyon the wagon would tip
over, Judd recounted. She told me if it did, she would tell
Brigham Young. This was intended for a joke, but lo and behold, when
we got to the canyon the wagon actually tipped over and broke the bows.
. . . [I] failed to find out if she told Brigham Young. Daily, for nearly
a week beginning on 12 October, portions of the wide-ly scattered company
reached Salt Lake. Allen Taylor, Reddick Allred, and members of the
Taylor and Allred families arrived on 16 October, 1849
107 wagons in the "Sand Walking Company". At the "rim of the basin" (all water ran south) they were passed by a wagon train commanded by Capt Smith.
Mr. Erkson's statement
Hunt was the leader of the Mormon Battlion.
After being discharged from the Mormon Battalion, Hunt and his family settled in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1847. Soon thereafter, Hunt proposed traveling back to California to bring food and supplies for other recent Utah arrivals. Mormon authorities approved this proposal, and Hunt undertook this journey with Porter Rockwell, several former Mormon Battalion members, and two of his own sons. Later he guided several parties of gold prospectors from Utah to California. One of the groups he led to California became impatient at his slow progress, and many of the party members elected to abandon Hunt's group, and follow their own route to California. They became the infamous Death Valley '49ers. Those staying with Hunt made the journey without serious incident. He briefly represented Iron County in the Utah Territorial Legislature in 1851. He was not a resident of Iron County, but he happened to pass through the county as elections were held, and he was chosen by the locals
H Alexander, Erastus Bingham, Willard bingham, William Bird, Kiser Brown, Isaac Brown, Jacob Burnham, David Cade, Washington N Cook, Berrill Covington, Hyram Curtis, albert Dewey, Franklin Dewey, Bradford W. Elliot, Jacob Gates, William P Goddard, John Gould, Simpson D Huffaher, Barnum Kinion, Samuel Miles, John Murray, James C. Sly, Albert King Thurber.
Who else was
sent to California Gold Fields?
Oct 11, 1849
Bigler and Keeler joined a company of about twenty gold missionaries,8 with James M. Flake as captain. They left Salt Lake Valley [p.50] on 11 October 1849 and arrived at Colonel Williams's Ranch (near present-day Chino) on 11 December, after a difficult journey during which they temporarily became part of the "Death Valley" group that attempted to take a short cut to the California mines.9 While at Williams's Ranch, Bigler recorded a communication from apostles George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson, which reveals something of the church's attitudes concerning the availability of gold. Bigler wrote on 6 January 1850 that the two leaders wanted the group to raise $5,000 for them so that "their hands may be liberated and be able to return to the fields of labor [missions] and they will pray the Lord to lead the Brethren in some nook or corner where it lays, as for my part," Bigler added, "I shall be glad to help raise it for them and have their prayers and blessings on my head."
The group left Williams's Ranch on 12 January and finally made their way to "Slap Jack Bar" on the middle fork of the American River where they began searching for gold. Bigler's group worked all summer to build a dam across the river. They were so busy that the young diarist was unable to keep a daily account of his activities. Finally, on 23 September, he took the time to vent his frustrations:
A reading of Bigler's
journal and Cannon's recollections yields the following tentative roster:
George Bankhead, John W. Berry, Henry Bigler, John Bills, Joseph Cain,
George Q. Cannon, Darwin Chase, Joseph Dixon, William Farrer, Peter
Fife, James M. Flake, Henry Gibson, James Hawkins,
"Willard Bingham was in the goldfields of California in 1849 with his brother Erastus and Albert King Thurber." Albert Lathrop Porter Rockwell
This train of gold
missionaries traveled with the train that gave Death
1849 - Sept - Nortons start for San Bernadino, California
They leave John Wesley Norton and his family as well as the wife of James Wiley in SLC. James Wiley Norton owns land in the 15th Ward.
John Wesley stayed
in SLC becasue he was needed as a blacksmith and Wiley's wife was pregnant
and too close to delivering so she stayed with her sister. All we read
about John Wesley is that he was employed on "public works"
but he was a blacksmith. When he came to valley in 1847 he was immediately
story about David's youngest daughter. On the way to Sacramento the wagon
was attacked by Indians. David's youngest daughter held a Book of Mormon in
front of her chest for protection and a bullet pierced the book in her
hands. Their family still has the book.
1850 - US Census
El Dorado California
Notes on Leffingwell
(neighbor of David Norton in 1850 California Cencus)
His fifty (also known as the Parley P. Pratt company) were part of the Daniel Spencer Company. The Sessions company consisted of 75 wagons and 1885 people. The captains of tens were: Elijah F. Sheets, Jon Van Cott, Elijah K. Fuller, WILLIAM LEFFINGWELL, and Asa Barton....
[Included in the
fourth ten led by William Leffingwell were: Alfred C. Beach...Adam Leffingwell,
Caroline M. Leffingwell, CYNTHIA Leffingwell, Eunice Leffingwell [his
wife], JOSEPH Lyman Leffingwell, Mary J.
1) Leffingwell came
to Utah with Daniel Spencer/Perrigrine Sessions Company (1847)
This is a daughters history, "she set out to cross the plains in 1849. That winter was passed in Utah, and in the following spring they resumed their journey and finally reached Sacramento."
2) Reference for
William Leffingwell at Pilot Hill goldfields.
3) Early LDS Records
showing William Leffingwell at Nauvoo.
Elder Willard Richards was still sick in bed with a bad cough. At 1 p.m., members of the Twelve and Bishop Miller met as a Council in Elder Richards tent. They voted to purchase three hundred bushels of corn from William Leffingwell and one yoke of oxen from William Hawkes.
In the evening, there was a disturbance by individuals refusing to comply with the rules of the commissary, murmuring, and trying to spread dissension. But the majority of the people hissed them down and they went away in shame.
Despite the cold,
almost every night, William Pitt's Brass Band would play music and many
would dance. Around the campfires they sang songs like Home Sweet
Home, The Old Arm Chair, and Dandy Jim from
50 Saints return to SLC from California.
discovered that between September 1-5), Elder Rich and fifty
returning Saints, left September 5, 1850 headed for Salt Lake City with
Porter Rockwell as their guide. Hiram Gates met his maker sometime between
September 1 and September 5-he died either from dysentery or lead poisoning
emitting from Porter Rockwells revolver.3
|1851 Sept - Nortons return to SLC from California||
"In September 1851, we sold out our store and freighting teams. Buying an outfit of saddle horses and pack mules, we joined a party of Mormons and headed for home. Our company consisted of thirty-four men with pack outfits and three light wagons belonging to the Norton family. They were the only women and children in the outfit. We were delayed some time by the reports that the Indians were on the warpath and very bad. We finally got started and everything went along all right until one morning when we were camped on the inside of a horseshoe bend of the Humboldt River. I didn't like the place because the willows lining the opposite bank surrounded us on three sides. The others preferred it because of the good pasture and the ease with which the horses could be herded inside the bend. Having seen no sign of Indians up to that time, we were getting careless. There was one man who was very anxious to get back to his girl in Salt Lake City "Before the bishop ran off with her," he said. He always got up just before daylight, lighted the fire and put on the coffee pot. For a week we traveled only at night, lying by in the daytime to let our animals feed and rest. We could see by their signal fires along the mountain sides that the Indians, no doubt hoping for a favorable chance to attack, were watching us. But we had grown cautious. As it was late in the fall the grass was dry and scarce. Our animals got very poor and some fell out every few miles. This made traveling so slow that our grub gave out while we were still two hundred miles from the settlements. Leaving five of us boys to stay with the poorest horses and get them along as best we could, the rest took the more able animals and pushed on ahead. I thought John had outgrown his fear of Indians but the first night of this separation while he and I were getting into our bed he said, "Tommy, I thought the Indians would get me back on the Humboldt. Did I look scared?" I had no time to answer for just then an Indian dog came trotting up to the fire. We took this as a warning that the Indians were still on our trail and very close. So, leaving a large fire burning, we very quietly saddled up and traveled all night. This practice we kept up for the rest of our journey to Box Elder, the first Mormon settlement. There we left all but our saddle horses and rode on to Salt Lake City."
Norton Jr's self prepared family group sheet
David Norton JR - As a member of the Mormon church, David Norton recorded his birth and family information several times as did his children. However there are some discrepancies as to birth dates, mothers, baptism dates etc. To help clear this up I am recording the pertinent data from original sources.
The Latter-day Saints occasionally used a mountaintop as their temporary temple, and President Brigham Young dedicated Ensign Peak, a hill just north of Salt Lake City, Utah, as a "natural temple." Though Brigham Young designated a temple site in Salt Lake Valley on July 28, 1847, just four days after his arrival, the temple took forty years to build. In the meantime, the upper floor of the Council House, Salt Lake City's first public building, served 2,222 members of the Church as their Endowment house between February 21, 1851, and May 5, 1855.
David Norton Jr.
On the Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register, David's wife is spelled Elizabeth Pennifield.
This same record has David's birth as Oct 26, 1795.
There is an early church file with a baptism of David Norton in Caldwell Co, MO in June of 1836. This date does not work with the birth of Isabella and the purchase of land in IN by David Norton in 1837. I suggest that the date that David Norton wrote down himself is more accurate.
1840 Census for Pike, IL page 139
3 Nortons, William (father unknown), Henry (son of John Norton Pendleton-Grant) and David JR served together in the War of 1812.
1820, Feb 10 Married Elizabeth Benefield in Fayette Co. IN. Marriage Records Fayette Co. IN
1825, March 10 Land Patent Report for Wayne Co. IN David Norton
1837, March 20 Land patent Report for Henry Co. IN David Norton
1841? Nauvoo, Ill. they purchased a farm four miles East and two miles South of Nauvoo.
1847 David Norton was ordained a High Priest in December of 1847 by Heber C. Kimball. David remained in Winter Quarters, Iowa and then set out for Utah with his son David Norton JR in Isaac Higbees Hundred. They arrived in Salt Lake City September 20, 1848.
David stayed in Salt Lake City for a short time and then went on to California to pan for gold. He is listed as a Hotel Keeper in the census of El Dorado CA in 1850.
He then returned to Salt Lake where they purchased lots where the Denver and Rio Grande depot now stands. About 1855, they moved to Lehi and were active in building that town.
David is described as a small, blond, quiet and kind man. Elizabeth, his wife, is mentioned as large, brunette, and ambitious. Many of her family were in the South during the Civil War and she was constantly inquiring after news of the war and her family. In fact it is mentioned that the last thing she requested before she died was news of the South. Both are buried in the old Lehi Cemetery.
1840 Census Pike
county , ILL
|David's father dies Within 6 months after David was mustered out of the Kentucky Mounted Militia David's father dies. David is only 18 and most of the family is still very young. With the death of David Sr. the family must have gone in separate directions. Henry Norton only recently married was in Grant, KY. There were 5 children to take care of.|
1820- David married Elizabeth Benefield February 10, 1820 in Fayette, Indiana and their first child (John Wesley Norton) was born just 9 months later on 6th of November 1820 near New Lisbon, Henry County IN. The next 2 children (twins James Wiley and Melissa Isabell) were born in Ohio with Elizabeth Benefield's family..
1825- March 10, 1825 David Norton Jr. purchased land in the town of Dudley, Henry county IN.
This is very close to the National Road pushing west from Pennsylvania. There is a John Norton who also bough land in Dudley about a mile from David in July of 1823. Perhaps this is David's younger brother. Three children will be born to David and Elizabeth in Henry county. Henry b. 1826, Hyram Fletcher b. 1829 and Isabelle b. 1836.
David is listed in the 1830 census in Henry County, Indiana with his wife and 5 children. Also listed is John Norton, with a wife and 3 children.
1831- The Mormons In 1830 a new religion was organized in upstate New York called the Chruch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and commonly referred to as Mormons. On October 1, 1831 David Norton records that he joined this church. If so he was a very early convert indeed. The Mormon church had barely established a center at Kirtland, Ohio in the spring of 1831.
In the Church Conference of April 1831 Joseph Smith announced that the elders of the church would travel to Independence, Missouri to organized the church there. But he instructed the elders to travel to Missouri by different routes preaching and baptising as they went. Since David Norton's home was very close to the National Road which was a main conduit to the west, it's likely that the Mormon elders stopped by on thier way to Missouri and their return. It is certainly during this period that David Norton was introduced to the Mormon church. He records being baptized Oct 1, 1831 which coincided nicely with the return of the Elders from Missouri.
The Norton home on the National Road was certainly a rest stop for the Mormon travelers going between Kirtland, Ohio and Missouri.
1838- Caldwell County, Missouri
1838 also brought Governor Boggs extermination order which made it legal to kill Mormons living in Missouri. Josehp Smith, the Mormon prophet was arrested and taken to Liberty Jail.
1839- The Norton family fled the persecution in Missouri and went to Iowa (perhaps Pikes Co.) where they purchased a farm in the spring of 1839.
1841- David Norton moved the family to Nauvoo, Ill and purchased a farm four miles East and two miles South of Nauvoo in 1841. The City of Nauvoo became the largest settlement in the West and anyone who has been to Nauvoo, knows how the Mormon's built a great and prosperous city. The Norton's also participated and helped build the temple there. David, Elisabeth and John Westly recieved their endowments in the Nauvoo temple on Feburary 3, 1846 and the temple was closed four days later.
In 1844 Joseph Smith was killed and the mobs of Illinois were forcing the Mormons to move again. Few Mormons were left in Nauvoo after 1846.
John Wesley Norton was David Jrs oldest child and says he was only 16 when the family moved to Caldwell, Missouri which would have been 1838.
In the spring of 1836 Edward Partridge and William Phelps went exploring along Shoal Creek, beyond any settlements in Missouri, looking for a safe place where the Saints could gather. Ray and Clay Countys were driving the Mormons out and a new place was needed. In August of 1836, Far West, Caldwell county, Missouri was founded.
August 1838 David Jrs last child was born in Henry, IN. David bought land in Cauldwell in 1838 and John Wesley was baptized in 1838.
Quarters, Iowa 1846 and on to Salt Lake Valley.
By May of 1846 the Norton family had moved to Winter Quarters in Iowa. John Westly married Rebecca Hammer there on July 20, 1846. In the spring of 1847 it was time for the Mormons to begin the trek west. The two eldest sons of David Norton Jr. , John Westly and James Wiley, were appointed by Brigham Young to come with the original group. But when Brigham Young found that the wife of James Wiley was expecting a child he released him to stay with her. John Westly was among the first group to leave. He was amember of the 12th Company of ten and was assigned to gather wild game for the party. This 1st group entered the valley of the Great Salt Lake on July 24th, 1847. Within a few weeks of reaching Salt Lake valley, John Westly started back to Council Bluffs, Iowa for his wife and family. Because of insufficient funds he had to find work in Missouri during the Winter 1847 and Spring of 1948 to earn enough for the family to travel West. By September of 1848 he had successfully moved his father (David Jr.), mother and his family to the Great Salt Lake.
When John Westly and the first group left for Salt Lake Valley in 1847, David Jr. was 51. He was ordained a High Priest by Heber c. Kimball in December of 1847. He and Elisabeth remained in Winter Quarters till John Westly returned and traveled to the Great Salt Lake with John Westly and his wife.
and Elisabeth Norton went to the gold fields of California the following
year, but John Westly stayed in Salt Lake, working 2 years on Public Works.
His second child was born at this time 1850. He was a member of the 29th
Quorum of Seventies. In June 1851 he married a second wife, Martha
Reynolds. She was 22 and he was 31. Their first child was born July
1852 in Salt Lake City.
Martha had a son named Riley Reynolds Norton (pictured at left) and Rebecca had a girl named Rebecca Ann Norton.
By 1860 John Westly Norton had moved to Lehi, Utah with Nancy. Martha, his 2nd wife was probably still in Salt Lake because she had a child there February 1862. By 1864 both wives were living in Lehi, Utah. Perhaps John moved to Lehi to be near his father because David Norton died in 1860. His mother, Elisabeth died in Lehi also in 1867.
a great deal is known of the ancestors of John Wesley Norton, one of the
earley pioneers of the church. It is thought the Nortons came to Virginia,
then west into Kentucky, where the first mention of David Norton is found,
and from there migrated on to Indiana. John Wesley Norton was born 6 Nov.
1820 in New Lisbon, Wain (Wayne) county, Indiana, the son of David Norton
and Elizabeth Benfield Norton. He was the first child of a family of six
children. The family lived in Indiana until 1836, the year his father David
joined the church, then moved to Colwell County, Missouri, remaining for
two years. He passed through the Haun's Mill Massacre, and on 16 March 1838
he was baptizedd by David Ivins. Persecutions forcing the saints to leave
Missouri, in the spring of 1839 the family moved to Pike County in Illinois,
and it was on 5 Nov. 1844 that he was ordained an Elder. On 5 July 1845
he was ordained a Seventy in Nauvoo, and in this same city he received his
"washing and anointing in the House of the Lord" on 3 February
The persecutions continuing, in May 1846 John Wesley started the westward journey with the saints, reaching Council Bluffs where camp was made for the winter. At this place he married Rebecca Ann Hammer, daughter of Austin Hammer and Nancy Jane Elston Hammer, on 20 July 1846. Four children were born of this marriage: Elizabeth Ann, John David, Rebecca Ann and Nancy Ann. He remained at Council Bluffs until 1847, when he was selected to go with with the first company of saints to cross under Brigham Young and his counselors, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, George A. Smith, Orson Pratt and Woodruff A. Lyman, because of his blacksmith skills, but he also served as a foot hunter for the company since name is mentioned three times in the official journal kept by William Clayton in connection with securing meat.
Reaching the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in July 1847, John Wesley remained only until August, then started back to Council Bluffs for his family. He found a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, had been born in his absence, 9 May 1847. He spent but a few weeks with his family, then went into Missouri to work all winter for money to take his family to Utah. On 9 May 1848 he started west again with his father's and his own family, reaching the Valley on 20 September of that year. it is known that his father's family( and possibly John wesley also) followed the Gold Rush to Calif, but that this was not successful and they returned. David Norton is listed in the 1850 Census of Eldorado, Calif. under occupation of hotelkeeper. John wesley began working on Public Works in Salt Lake on 8 April 1850, remaining at this until 12 April 1852. There is recored his ordination as Assistant President of the 29th Quorum of the Seventies on 11 April 1852. In 1852-53 the family is listed in the 15th Ward in Salt Lake City.
On June 1 1852, John Wesley had his wives Rebecca Ann Hammer and Martha Minerva Reynolds, sealed to him in the Endowment House. This date apparently is that of the marriage to Martha as well as the sealing. Nothing is known about the circumstances leading to the second marriage except the note: "Martha Reynolds was sealed to Lewis Dunbar Wilson in Nauvoo by President Young and she is now released by President Young because Wilson is not providing for her and has not seen her since Aug. 1846" Martha was born 3 Feb. 1828 in either Boonesville or Roy, Missouri, daughter of John and Phebe Ramsey Reynolds. She bore seven children: Albert Wesley, Riley Reynolds, Ephraim R., Martha Jane, William, Squire Taylor and Sarah May.
The next we learn of him, John Wesley is with his family in Lehi, Utah, which he is said to have helped settle, as in 1853 a Fort was constructed there lists as living on the north side, among others: Henry Norton, John W. Norton, J. Wiley Norton, Riley Judd and David Norton.(Lehi Centennial History, 1850-1950)
According to a partial history he wrote, John Wesley said, :At the Jan. Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, hald at Great Salt Lake City April 6, 1855 I was called on a mission to Israel, and was blessed and set apart on Sunday, April 22, 1855 [and] I recaived my patriarchal blessing." He was set apart for a mission to the Lamanites of the White Mountion by Orson Pratt and Charles C. Rich in the Seventy's Council Hall.
No details of the mission are known, except that it was honorably filled. In fact, much of the history of John wesley is unknown to us, and we long for details which were never written down for us.
The next info. we have is that in 1859 John Wesley is listed in the Fourth Municipal Election slate in Lehi, Utah, on the Field Committee for Engineers; in the 1861 Election as an Alderman, and in the same election as being on the Building Committee. In the 1863 election he was naaaaamed sexton, and in 1865 as an Inspector of Wood. The records are incomplete since on 6 Feb. 1870 a fire in the meeting house in Lehi did much damage to the interior and it is not until after 1870 that the earliest ward records begin. Two of his children are buried in Lehi.
In 1865 he received a call to assist in strengthening the settlements in Southern Utah, and the fall of that year saw the family traveling south to Panaca, Nevada, where they camped in wagons that first winter and following summer. John Wesley worked to help duild a fort as protection against the Indians. He acted as Sheriff and also postmaster for a number of years.
In 1871 he joined a company led by George W. Sevey to resettle Panguitch, Utah. He lived with the others for some time in the fort constructed there. While in Panguitch he was senior president of the 86th Quorum of the Seventy; he served as postmaster from May 27 1878 until Dec. 7 1881, and was also appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1871. His trade was blacksmithand wheelwright, and he worked at these until in later years he was afflicted with rheumatism.
John Wesley answered to an indictment in District Court for unlawful cohabitation, but was allowed to return to his home with a verdict of "Not Guilty." He lived peacefully with two wives, both of whom preceded him in death, Rebecca on 9 Feb. 1900 and Martha on 23 Feb. 1901. Merritt L. Norton, a grandson, recalls visiting the home when he was a boy about ten, and of the beautiful harmony there.
"I thought I would write you aa few lines to let you know that I was on the land and among the living, and that I was one of the 144 men that helped blaze the route from civilization across the planes in 1847 to Salt Lake Valley. I arrived in the Valley July 24, 1847. I am getting old and feeble, yet I have a disire of commemorating the day with my Brethern on the 50th year of our arrival in the Valley.
"I am 76 years old aaand crippled with rheumatics in my knee, but sound in body, and if the way will be opened I want to come to Salt Lake City and have a good time with the heroes of 1847. My means is limited, my clothing is getting quite old and worse for wear, I have no means to pay for my passage. I have two ladies that would like to visit there old pioneer home. Please correspond with me if you have the time and let me know how the public is prospering."
John Wesley Norton died 20 Oct. 1901 Panguitch, Garfield County, Utah, where he is buried. He was aged 80 years 11 months 14 days. He had had six boys and five girls and 55 grandchildren and was a most respected citizen, patient and cheerful with his physical disabilites. Funeral services were held on 22 Oct. at 10:00 a.m. Speakers were Elder M.M. Steele, Joseph Haywood and Allen Miller. John Wesley Norton was a pioneer of whom his descendants can justly be proud.