The search for the first Norton of this line to emigrate to Colonial America has been actively going on for 150 years. It was thought that his name was John Norton and that he might have lived near Alexandria, Virginia as well as Fluvanna, Virginia. In the course of researching, we have from time to time identified our first Norton as Capt William Norton, brother of Fletcher Norton in England. This was wrong. Then because the only Norton in Fluvanna was Christopher Norton we tried to tie into a sailor named Christopher Norton who was was tied up at Norfolk, Virginia in 1760. This was very promising, but he died at sea and was buried in Halifax. Along the way we found references to John Norton in Orange county Virginia and while we haven't definititively identified these, they appear to belong to the John Hatley Norton family of York county.
the hundreds of relatives and researchers who have peered at musty
old records and passed down family storys to give us clues to our heritage.
While I am writing this history, many, many people have contributed.
That is a story by itself that you can read here. Norton
In the end our Norton DNA research gave us the clue to the identity of our first Norton. Or perhaps Norden. It seems that the only family in the world that matches our Norton family DNA are the decendants of Robert Norden. (explaination ofDNA research)
In 1714, a small group of early Baptists in Virignia petitioned the Baptist Convention in England for a minister. Robert Norden was chosen as the first Baptist minister in Virginia or any other colony for that matter with the exception of a small group in Massachusetts. He traveled to Virginia in 1714 with the Matthew Marks family and lived on the Marks plantation in the county of Ille of Wight, Virginia roughly near Richmond and there established a small congregation at a place called Burliegh which was probably near the Marks plantation.
The Church of England was the official church of Virginia. This meant that all Virginians were taxed to support the ministers and everyone was expected to attend.
In 1691 this little group of Baptists were called before a magistrate to expain why they wern't at church.
Official permission was required to follow a different religion and eventually they got permission to have a preacher. But Robert Norden was required to appear in court and swear allegience to the King of England.
The church was established at Burleigh, Ille of Wight county, Virginia. Map The location is on the Mill Swamp road and closest town was Smithfild There is still a Baptist church on this sight.
Robert Norden was born about 1662 in England and married 10 December, 1687 at Waldron, Sussex, England. At the time he was called to Virginia he was residing at Warbleton, Sussex England. As has been said, he went to Virginia in 1714 and stayed on the plantation of Matthew Marks. When Marks died in 1719, he willed the use of his plantation to Norden until his death. Robert Norden lead his congregation from 1714 to 1725 when he died in Virginia. The congregation continued until about 1750 under different leadership.
We haven't been able to research Robert Norden in England, but evidently he brought at least one son with him to Virginia. These decendants emigrated to the area of present day Harnett county, North Carolina, south of Raleigh. Over the years, Norden became Nordan, Nordin and in our case Norton. All of this is recent research as of July 2006 so we haven't had time to fill in all the blanks. We are missing the generation of Robert Noden's sons which we will probably find in England.
It was probably
one of Robert Norden's sons that gave us Christopher Norden who
appears to be the first of line in America.
We have collected four historys that have been passed down about our Norton family.
The first we call the Texas history and it comes from Nimrod Norton born 1831, a great grandson of Christopher Norden through his son John. Nimrod also indirectly produced a second history. Nimrod's history is retold in a book called, "Elias B. Poston and his Ancestors" by Elias Olan James & Glenna James copyright 1942. nimrod had a colorful career and ended up in Texas. We'll have to look at Nimrod's career in detail later, but before he died in 1903 he dictated what he knew of our family's history to his nephew Dr. Charles Norton. This history sat in Charles desk until he died in 1941 just at the Poston history was being researched. Here's what he said as retold by the Poston researchers.
Our second source we call the Illinois history and is from a decendant of Margaret Norton who was Christopher's granddaughter also through his son John. She married John Darneille in 1814 and moved to Sangamon County, Illinois. The decendant who wrote the history leved in Springfield, Illinois. This history also came to the Poston researchers within weeks of finding the Texas history. Although the families had been separated since 1814, the storys matched with few exceptions.
The third source we call the "Pirate Story". It was written by Eliza Trimble living at Ballard, Washington in 1906. source Eliza is a great granddaughter of Christopher Norden through his daughter Elizabeth Norton who married John Benefiel. It's significant to note that Christphers wife, Mary lived with Elizabeth until her death about 1819. Elizabeth was born in 1816 and had direct access to family storys.
Our fourth source is the Sellers History of Marion County, South Carolina. This history has also been the source of a great deal of confusion. We knew that two brothers had gone to South Carolina after the Revolution and one of their names was William. The Sellers history hooked up William Norton with five brothers who had fought int he Revolution with one brother dieing on a prison hulk in Charleston Harbor. I'll print the history and then expalin it.
This is obviously our family history. The author of this work was William Sellers. As it turns out, his daughter was the wife of the promient Congressman from Marion, James Norton. His source for the Norton history was the father of James, John W. Norton who was a celebrated vetran of the Civil War.
DNA research determined that this Norton line from Horry and Marion counties in South Carolina is not related to our family. source
So how did John W. Norton of Marion get his family history mixed up with ours? This is where Nimrod Norton comes in. Nimrod's father, Hiram Norton was one of the wealthiest men in Kentucky. Nimrod was sent to two military schools and when the Civil War broke out he was living in Missouri. There he raised the first regiment for the Confederacy. Later he was elected to the Confederate Congress in 1864 at Richmond, Virginia.
John W. Norton and his three sons were among the first to join the Confederacy and were sent to Virginia to serve with Robert E. Lee and the Army of Virgina until the war ended. In 1864 they were engaged in defending Richmond and were in close proximity with Nimrod Norton for several months. They must have met and compared family history. Both came from Virginia. both had five brothers that fought in the Revolution and both had a brother captured by the British at Charleston. The names of the brothers were even similar. William, James, John, David and Solomon. Except that in Nimrod's family the name was Thomas, not Solomon.
John W. Norton knew that William was his ancestor in South Carolina, but didn't know what happened to the other brothers. Nimrod filled in the blanks. John thought his earliest ancestor was named John, but Nimrod only knew him as the "Commodore". The result is another confirmation of our history, but a dead end when it came to the brother named William.
We glean from our historys that our first Norton might have been named John and was referred to as the "Commodore". He seems to have had a career in the Royal Navy and settled in Norfolk, Virginia before the Revolution. He had five sons named David, William, Thomas, James and John. Two sons named John and James went to Bourbon, Kentucky after the Revolution. Two sons went to South Carolina and one died on a prison hulk in South Carolina.
DNA confirms the relationship of the sons and links us with the decendants of Robert Norden.
We conjecture that Christopher Norden is father of this family. He would be a grandson of Robert Norden the Baptist minister and was born in England. He probably had a career at sea including some time in the Royal Navy. He was in Norfolk area by 1747, married Mary Emmerson near Richmond in 1754 and soon after they began using Norton rather than Norden.
The first evidence of Christopher Norden is a lawsuit filed in 1747 at James Cittie that names Charles Friend, mariner v. Christopher Norden, mariner. source This establishes him as a mariner, possibly a Captain of a merchant ship because Friend was a master of a ship.. If the "Historys" are correct, he began his career in the Royal Navy as a midshipman at the age of 12. The area of Warbleton, England where Robert Norden lived before he came to Virginia is the principal foundry for English naval cannons and is very near the major naval ports suggesting a connection with the Royal Navy. source A mystery that needs to be solved is, how does a family associated with the Baptist religion get a commission in the Royal Navy? England was still imprisoning and executing Baptists in the first half of the 1600's. It was only under the reign of William and Mary that "non-conformists" to the Church of England were given the right to exist. Perhaps a son of Robert Norden who stayed in England was not a Baptist and had connections to get his son a commission. Robert Norden died 1725 in Virginia. We think Christopher went to sea in 1737, twelve years after Robert died.
The "Pirate Story" says Christopher spent 40 years at sea. source Not all of these were necesarily with the Royal Navy. We think he was born about 1725 source and went to sea in 1737. After ten years in the Royal Navy his career had not advanced and he resigned his commission to settle near Norden relatives in Virginia. He seems to have continued as a mariner until the Revolution made commerce too dangerous in 1777. This is when we have records of him associated with land deeds in Fluvanna. There is also a reference to Richard and Robert Norden in a lawsuit filed at Richmond in 1753. These people are un-identified but are probably related to Robert Norden the Baptist minister and suggest that the Christopher Norden still had relatives near by.
Christopher Norden and Mary Emmerson married about 1753 in the county of Goochland in Virginia. source Mary Emmerson was born in 1735 and was 18 when she married. Her father, Thomas Emmerson had land just on the borders of Goochland, Fluvanna and Louisa counties along the Three Notched Road. Her father's will names Mary Norton in 1790 and leaves her 5 shillings. source Mary Norton is well established as the mother our Norton line and the wife of Christopher Norton. It appears that they began using Norton over Norden soon after their marriage. Mary Norton witnesses a deed in Albemarle near Nortonsville in 1762 source and in 1782 is recorded as the wife of Christopher Norton on a rather special land grant from Virginia giving ownership to the Nortons for the land they had been farming in Fluvanna since at least 1777. source Mary also gives permission for her daughter Milly Norton to marry in 1792. source
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.
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 the 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 perhpas at sea.
An additional link to Nortonsville is the 1775 marriage of Sarah Norton, Christopher and Mary's oldest daughter to William Farney of Orange county Virginia. John 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).
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)
Map by Jed Hotchkiss, cartographer for Stonewall Jackson circa 1862
Click on highlighted areas to enlarge
The history of Boonesville is lost. We have only echos, but Daniel Boone often came through these parts. He was captured in Charlottesville, Albemarle county by the British in 1781 as he was attending the Continental Congress. After he was released he was joined by James Norton, a son of Christopher and Mary, on his return trip to Lexington, Kentucky. James Norton and Daniel Boone were side by side at the 'Battle of Blue Licks" fought in Kentucky 1782. It's from James that we get an eye witness account of Daniel's son Israels death during the battle.
The Nortons were land-hungry and cheap land was available just over the Blue Ridge in the Shenadoah Valley. Beginning 1778 the Norton sons began buying land in Rockingham, Virginia. The route from Nortonsville to Rockingham was through Brown's Cove. Thomas Norton purchased 300 acres on a branch of the North Mill Creek commonly known as "Wolfs Place" in south-east Rockingham, VA in 1778. Thomas brother John also purchased land in the area. When Sarah Norton married William Farney they also purchased land in Rockingham. We think that Nortonsville was sold off to purchase the land in Rockingham because from this point we find references to Norton land in Fluvanna and Rockingham and not in Albemarle. We know that the land in Fluvanna was not purchased.
As fever for the Revolution grew, Sarah Norton, the oldest daughter married William Farney in November of 1775. William Farney (Farneyhough) came from a neighboring county of Orange and was a Minute Man with Sarah's older brothers. At about this same time Thomas Norton, the oldest son also married a girl named Elizabeth Hawke(?).
Thomas Norton and William Farney along with William Norton, the 2nd son probably joined with the 7th Virginia Regiment organized in Ablemarle county between February and May of 1776. Thomas Norton would have been 23 and William Norton 22. A third brother John was 17 at this time, but it appears he stayed at home to help manage the plantation.
first defended the Chesapeake Bay during 1775.
The battle forced Lord Dunsmore to withdraw from Norfolk on January 1, 1776 and the British began a naval artillery barrage of the town. Norfolk was now occupied by Virginia patriot forces. The former colonial governor was compelled to leave North America for Britain all together by the summer of 1776. Many loyalists from Norfolk and the surrounding areas left Virginia with Dunsmore.
retreat from New York
By this time, General Washington had crossed into New Jersey making his headquarters in Hackensack. He received word there of the battle for New York and watched the fight from the cliffs at Fort Lee. General Howe captured 2,818 rebel officers and men and killed 53. The British invaders lost 458 men out of a force of 8000 British and Hessian soldiers.
Now the British turned their sights upon Fort Lee and Northern New Jersey across the Hudson River. Fort Lee had been a hub of activity as nearly 3000 American troops evacuated supplies from New York. The British invaded with 8000 troops using a cleft in the Palisades and were within eight miles of Fort Lee. The American army abandoned the fort in such a hurry that cook fires were still burning. Tents, cannons and other supplies where left behind in the retreat.
was now in danger of being trapped between the Hackensack and Passaic
Rivers. At dawn, they began the march south.
burned the bridges behind them at the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers.
The troops tarried at Newark while supply depots across New Jersey were
readied. While the Continental army fled further south to New Brunswick,
British General Charles Cornwallis gave close pursuit. Within minutes
of the Americans departure from Princeton, the British force entered
the city. The Continental army fled to Trenton and then across the Delaware
into Pennsylvania. New Jersey had fallen to the British Army.
Howe settled in
for the winter and waited for the rebels to accept a pardon he had recently
On Christmas Day, 1776, Washington crossed the Delaware River and attacked a garrison of 1600 Hessian troops under the command of Colonel Johann G. Rall.
In a bold daylight attack 2400 American troops with eighteen cannons subdued the Heesians within an hour. One hundred Hessians lay dead, 900 captured and the rest fled into the New Jersey woodlands. The Americans then returned to Pennsylvania.
On December 30, 1776, with most of the army enlistments ended, Washington led 1600 volunteers, Continentals and New Jersey and Pennsylvania militia back into Trenton.
The defense of
After their victory at Brandywine the British forces under Howe maneuvered in the vicinity of Philadelphia for two weeks, virtually annihilating a rear guard force under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne at Paoli on 21 September 1777, before moving unopposed into the city on 26 September. Howe established his main encampment in nearby Germantown, stationing some 9,000 men there. Washington promptly attempted a coordinated attack against this garrison on the night of 3 - 4 October. Columns were to move into Germantown from four different directions and begin the assault at dawn Two of the columns, both made up of militia, never appeared to take part in the attack, but in the early phases of the fighting the columns under Greene and Divan achieved considerable success. However, a dense early morning fog which resulted in some American troops firing on each other while it permitted the better disciplined British to re-form for a counterattack and a shortage of, ammunition contributed to the still not fully explained retreat of the Americans, beginning about 0900. Howe pursued the Colonials a few miles as they fell back in disorder, but he did not exploit his victory. American losses were 673 killed and wounded and about 400 taken prisoner. British losses were approximately 533 killed and wounded.
The 6th Virginia regiment entered Valley Forge in the winter of 1777 with 427 assigned and only 46 fit for duty. When they left the following Spring they had 376 with 226 fit for duty.
Thomas Norton is a Corporal in the Virginia 7th regiment.
There is a strong family tradition that says that James Norton served as an orderly in George Washington's guard. James never mentioned this service in any of his War Pension applications, but I believe the family tradition is correct. James married Jean Bybee whose brother served as an "Aide de Camp" for Washington. The Bybee's had seven sons who served with Washington in important postitions.
Norton family in 1778-1779 consisted of Christopher and Mary
about 53 and 43 years old, Thomas 25, William 24, John 21, Sarah 20
(married to William Farney) James 17, David 15, Elizabeth 11 and Milly
It appears that the Norton brother's enlistment was up in the early in the Spring of 1778. In May of 1778 Thomas Norton purchased 300 acres on a branch of the North Mill Creek commonly known as "Wolf's Place" in southeast Rockingham, Virginia. Close by is William Farney who was married to Thomas' sister Sarah. This land is only 40 miles from the family farm in Fluvanna County but just over the Blue Ridge Mountains and served as a "safe" place when the British moved through Albemarle and Fluvanna in 1780. It is apparent that the Norton family located there for safety from the British from the war record of James Norton.
James Norton the
4th son served two tours of duty in the Virginia Militia during 1779.
James pension record states he served his 1st Tour from April to September
1779. He joined under Col. George Thompson, Capt William Smith, Leuftenant
Ben Smith in Fluvanna County, Virginia. (James 1st Pension app said
he started from Rockingham, but his 2nd says he was wrong and started
from Fluvanna) He marched from Fluvanna to Albermarle barracks.
Then to Richmond and Petersburg. From there to Portsmouth and Norfolk.
From Norfolk he returned to Albermarle County til his tour of 6 months
was fulfilled. James 2nd Tour was for 3 months starting in Sept 1779
in Albermarle County under Col. Hamilton and Capt Lamb. He marched to
barracks in Winchester and conveyed prisoners there. He then returned
to Albemarle county till his 3 month tour was up in December 1779.
Thomas and William
Thomas Norton was a corporal in the Virginia line. Our family history that Thomas Norton was captured and died on a British prison hulk in Charleston Harbor. This comes from the Sellers History which is the least accurate. Records indicate that Thomas was captured, but was part of a prisoner exchange maybe as a result of injuries. Evidently he died soon after as a result of his treatment in Prison.
We have very little evidence for William Norton. However, we find that he picked up his pay after the war about the same time as Thomas' wife gets his pay indicating he may have been with the captured group.
Sarah Norton's husband
William Farney is probably also either captured or killed at Charelston
because court records show Sarah's family are left fatherless from that
The British invade
British forces led by turncoat Benedict Arnold and Lord Cornwallis entered the Virginia interior in January of 1781 and Virginia was powerless to defend itself. Many of their ablest fighters had been sent elsewhere in the service of George Washington. Only a disorganized and inexperienced force remained to fight for the home cause. Thus, the British arrived unchecked at Richmond, and considerable damage was done to the area.
In June 1781 the "British Legion" commanded by Banastre Tarelton called "The Butcher" for his actions at Charleston was at the very door of the Norton plantation in Fluvanna. In a forced march, Tarelton came right through the Norton plantation in Fluvanna to suprise Charlottesville, almost capturing Thomas Jefferson at Montecello. Jefferson was warned of the attack just in time just in time, and was able to disperse family and visitors to various shelters. He himself fled to safety just as the approaching British arrived within sight.
During this time there are indications that the Norton family had moved to Thomas Norton's land in Rockingham county in the Shenendoah Valley safely away from the British. With two of his sons captured, the remaining three Norton sons join the the Virginia Militia for the final battle at Yorktown.
From James Norton's pension record we learn some of the details.
We know from brother-in-law, John Black's war pension records that John Norton was also at Yorktown, but we have no details.
Sadly the end of 1781 brought the business of taking care of the families and estates of Thomas Norton and William Farney who died as a result of injuries on a British prison hulk in Charleston Harbor. Thomas' brother John Norton was appointed executor of William Farneys estate posting a bond for 30,000 pounds. He was also appointed guardian of their only son, John Farney.
The children of Thomas Norton are also bound out to wards of the court.
James City County, Mariner, Charles Friend v. Christopher Norden Judgment
Israel Friend had
many family members who followed him to the Potomac area, including
two siblings. Charles Friend (1699-1751) lived in the area that is now
Williamsport, Washington Co., Md.(24) Mary Friend had
Douglas Register of marriages
in Goochland- Fluvanna, VA.
Albemarle Deed Book 3, p. 211
5 Christopher Norton received a Land Office Treasury Warrant from Patrick Henry, the Gov. of the Commonwealth on September 10, 1782. He and his wife "Mary" sold that land to a man named John Furbush in September 1788. This grant was unusual for not being assiciated with land bountys granted Revolutionary War vetrans. It seems to be a special grant giving the Nortons ownership of land that they had been farming since at least 1777 when Christopher Norton land is mentioned on deeds bordering it. Several other parcels bordering this land in Fluvanna changed hands at the end of the Revolution suggesting that a Loyalist previously owned the land. Most were purchased in pounds sterling. "Real" money was scarce after the Revolution and paying in pounds sterling was unusual.
6 Christopher Nordens birth may be as early at 1710 and as late as 1725. He married Mary Emmerson in 1754 when she was 19. If he was born in 1725 he would be 29. This age difference is not unusual for a man with a career in the Royal Navy. However if he was born in 1715 and was 39, it begs our imagination to allow it. Also his last child was born in 1774. He was 49 if he was born in 1725 and 59 if he was born in 1715.
Another way of measuring his age is from his naval references. The "Pirate Story" says he was 12 when he went to sea and spent 40 years at sea. 12 years old is the common age for a commission as a midshipman in the Royal Navy. If we count back 40 years from 1777 when we have references for Norton land in Fluvanna and add 12 more we get 1725. It could be that Christopher served the Revolution as a mariner and that could add a few more years to his birth date.
Cast of characters associated with the deed Mary Norton witnessed.
It's just below Free Union, VA. This deed is right on the road south of Free Union at the joining of Moremans and Mechams creeks. You can see it on the map. It's 7.5 miles from Nortonsville south on the main road.
2) (witness) There is a John Thomson one property east (1759). I have 7 other Thomson properties without a locator to plot them. Any of these could be next to the witness property. William Thomson has land on Moremans creek and close to Woods gap.
3) (location) Rich Meadow west of deed.
4) (location) Joseph Martins land adjoins (barely) north. 1745
5) (location) Henry Bunch adjoins southish. William Bunch has land 1/2 mile from Nortonsville 1739.
6) (seller) Henry Tilley has several properties on the survey I am using but none real close to this property. The records are far from complete.
7) I didn't find
any Emmersons in Albemarle, but I misspelled it "Jemmerson"
and hit the jackpot.
Adjoing the deed or very near by are 1000 acres owned by the 3 oldest brothers of Mary Emmerson Norton.
Samuel Jemmerson and John Jemmerson (several spellings) have 1000 acres going up the north side of Moreman's creek. This is within 1/4 mile of the witnessed property. The deed dates are 1741-1751. I think Jemmerson is a problem transcribing "J. Emmerson" or combining "Je" for a Capital E. At least they were consistant. I find no Jemmersons on other counties.
There is also a
Henry Emmerson in the area but more towards Fluvanna border and of course
Thomas Emmerson (deed 1773) within 1/4 mile of Christopher Norton. Thomas
Emmerson also has land further down the 3 notched road 1763.
9) Adjoining Thomas Emmersons property in Christopher/Fluvanna is John Thurmond, Glasby, Joseph Walker, Samuel Davis,Francis Baker, Jno Stranges, John Bybe.
10) Thomas Emmersons other Fluvanna Property dates from 1747. 1/4 mile away is David Walker 1739, John Walker Jun. 1739 and Joseph Walker 1750. Thomas Walker also witnessed a deed 1728.
11) Goochland. It
turns out that Thomas Emmersons land in Goochland (240 acres) adjoins
his land in Fluvanna. The Goochland deed dates from 1763. Next door
is John Walkers land (400 acres) dating from 1735. Joseph Walker
this land transaction is close to Boonesville and is the location of
Gentry church. In 1785, James Gentry, from Louisa County, purchased
400 acres of land in northern Albemarle County near the county line
with Orange County. The land was purchased from Thomson and Sarah Walton
for 40 pounds of current Virginia money. In 1810, James Gentry purchased
400 acres of land from John Huckstep and his wife, Aggy, just across
the Albemarle County line into Orange County. The 400 acres was located
on the Lyne (Lynch) River and is now located in Greene County (see map,
Hening states that the 111th Act of the Grand Assembly of 1661-62 declared that, 'Whereas, Many schismatical persons, out of their averseness to the orthodox established religion, or out of the new-fangled conceits of their own heretical inventions, refuse to have their children baptized; Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, that all persons that in contempt of the divine sacrament of baptism, shall refuse when they may carry their child to a lawful minister in that county, to have them baptized, shall be amersed two thousand pounds of tobacco; half to the informer, half to the public.' [Statutes at large, ii, pp. 165-166]
This was a blow dealt at the Quakers, as there seem to have been no Baptists in the colony at that time. Several Acts of the Assembly in 1659, 1662 and 1693 made it a crime for parents to refuse the baptism of their children. Jefferson writes: 'If no execution took place here, as in New England, it was not owing to the moderation of the Church or the spirit of the Legislature, as may be inferred from the law itself, but to historical circumstances which have not been handed down to us.'
When William and Mary came to the throne, in 1689, their accession was signalized by that enactment of Parliament called the ACT OF TOLERATION. Even this, as Dr. Woolsey remarks, 'removed only the harshest restrictions upon Protestant religious worship, and was arbitrary, unequal and unsystematic in its provisions.' Still, it was the entering wedge to religious freedom, and while the Baptists of England gladly availed themselves of it and organized under it in London as a great Association for new work, a hundred and seventeen Churches being represented, the authorities of Virginia thought it inoperative in their colony. It was not until a score of years after the passage of this Act that the colonial Legislature gave to the colonists the meager liberties which it granted to the British subject. When, however, news of this Act reached Virginia, the few individual Baptists then scattered abroad there resolved on their full liberty as British subjects under its provisions. They entreated the London Meeting to send them ministers, an entreaty which was followed by a correspondence running through many years. In 1714 Robert Nordin and Thomas White were sent as ordained ministers to the colony, but White died upon the voyage. Up to this time there seems to have been no organized body of Baptists in Virginia, although there are traces of individuals in North Carolina as early as 1696, who had fled from Virginia to escape her intolerance. Semple finds the first Baptist Church of Virginia organized in association with the labors of Nordin at Burleigh, Isle of Wight County, in 1714, on the south side of the river and opposite Jamestown. Howell thinks that before the coming of Nordin there had been a gathering of citizens there, joined by others from Surry County for consultation, and that they had petitioned the London Baptists to send them help. Be this as it may, Nordin was soon followed by two other ministers, Messrs. Jones and Mintz, and under the labors of these men of God the first Church was formed in that year, and soon after one at Brandon, in the County of Surry. The first is now known as Mill Swamp; it is thought that the Otterdams Church is the second. These were General Baptists, but in a few years they embraced Calvinistic sentiments, and Nordin labored in that region till he died, in 1725. While this movement was in progress in the southern part of Virginia, the influence of the Welsh Baptists, in Pennsylvania and Delaware, began to be felt in Berkeley, London and Rockingham Counties, which were visited by their ministers. Semple thinks that these laborers first readied the colony through Edward Hays and Thomas Yates, members of the Saters Baptist Church, in Maryland, and that Revs. Loveall, Heaton and Gerard soon followed them. Churches were then gathered at Opecon, Mill Creek, Ketocton and other points in rapid succession, which became members of the Philadelphia Association, from which they received the counsel and aid of David Thomas, John Gano and James Miller, which accounts in part for the rapid spread of Baptist principles in North Virginia. They were soon strengthened, also, by the labors of two men of great power, formerly of other denominations, who became Baptists. Shubael Steams, a native of Boston, Mass., was converted under the preaching of George Whitefield, and united himself with the revival party of the Congregationalists, called New Lights, in 1745. He continued with them for six years, when lie became convinced, from an examination of the Scriptures, that infant baptism was a human institution and that it was his duty to confess Christ on his faith.
However, the Albemarle
Wills microfiche (#30212) of the handwritten will clearly reads "Mary
Norton": especially when you compare the handwritten "M"
in "Mary" to the "N" in "Norton."
"Although from this time orders proliferated for roads within present
Louisa County, the
The Deeds of Amherst County, Virginia 1761-1807 and Albemarle County, Virginia 1748-1763 by The Rev. Bailey Fulton David, Page 208 13 Aug 1762 DAVID THOMPSON & wife CATY to DAVID MILLS for [pound symbol] 55: 524 acres-250 acres of it pat. 16 Aug 1756; 274 acres pat 10 Aug 1759, Lynch River branches. Wit: NICHL. MERIWETHER, JNO. LEIS JR. (LEWIS) [V Note: Caty is Elizabeth Caty Ann Lewis.]
Baptist church in Albemarle near Nortonsville. 1773 Chestnut Grove Baptist church. (formerly Buck Mt. church) George Gentry a member in 1799.