Thursday, December 2, 2010

David Norton Sr.

  • Name: David Norton Sr.
  • Born: 1763 Fluvanna, Virginia
  • Died: 1814 Lexington, Kentucky
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Heber Langford

David Norton was born in 1763 in Fluvanna, VA according to his Revolutionary War record. The Norton family seems to have been living in Fluvanna since 1763. We have numerous records of their activity in this area. His parents were Christopher and Mary Norton.

From his Revolutionary War enlistment papers: David Norton aged 17 was 5 foot 4 and 1/2 inches tall. He had dark hair, blue eyes and a fair completion. He had a scar on the left side of his jaw. His occupation was given as a "planter" from Virginia, Fluvana County. He was born in Virginia, Fluvana County and was a substitute for a man in Amherst County. He entered the service on the 18th of May 1780 and served 1 Year and 6 months.

David's brothers all served in the Revolution. The older Norton brothers joined the Virginia Line from the start of the Revolution. However James and David both joined when they turned 17. It is known that James and John Norton were at the battle of Yorktown. David might have spent time as a POW on a prison ship. He had a brother and a brother-in-law who died on the prison ship.

David Norton is on the tax rolls of Washington, VA for 1782 with just himself, 5 horses and 4 cattle. (he would be 19) This land is situated at the opening of the Cumberland Gap, the only route into Kentucky. David has a lot of horses and it suggests that he was engaged in transporting emigrants into Kentucky since the trail would not allow wagons. This same year James (brother of David) is at the Battle of Blue Licks in Kentucky which indicates the Norton family was involved with Kentucky from an early time. Given James’ close relationship with Daniel Boone and that Boonseville is situated two miles from Nortonsville in Virginia, we might surmise that the Nortons were instrumental to development of Kentucky. Another brother, Thomas also had land in this area before he died and it was sold.

David Norton married Sophia Fancher in 1783. He was 21 years old. They had 12 children. After their marriage David moved with his wife’s family to Fancher, Sevier, Tennessee. Fancher was later renamed Pigeon Forge in Sevier County, Tennessee. There is a Norton Branch of the river in this valley that connects where the Fanchers lived. David's surviving brothers emigrated to Bourbon, Kentucky at this time. Later John Fancher moved to Bourbon, Kentucky with David and Sophia in 1791.

Directly after the 1790 census, David Norton moved to be with the Norton family in Kentucky. By March of 1791 he is on the tax rolls of Bourbon County and in July he signs a bond for his brother John to buy land southeast of Paris, Kentucky and this becomes the family homestead. The old home still stands, on Levy Pike, between North Middleton and the levy. It is a two-story house with weatherboarding whether it is of logs underneath we do not know; but good frame architecture was becoming common in the country around Lexington before 1800. George T. Hart, the chimney builder, built the good stone chimney. At the close of 1791 brothers John, David and James Norton are living with their mother Mary Norton just east of North Middleton in Bourbon County Kentucky.

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. He 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 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. Sons, David Jr. and 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.

 In 1810 David Norton shows up in Pendleton County, Kentucky paying taxes on 3,000 acres of land. This land is situated just southeast of present day Williamstown in Grant County. David began improving the land, pushing through a road to Paris and selling off pieces. It looks like he was developing this land with his brother John. David probably bought the land late in 1809, but he certainly was in Pendleton by February.

August 29, 1812 David Norton Jr., Henry Norton son of David Norton, and William Norton, son of John Norton, sign on in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia commanded by Col. William Mountjoy in the War of 1812. David is 16, Henry 22, William 20. They served until November 5, when they mustered out of the Mounted Volunteers. They traveled all the way to Canada and back.

David died sometime in 1814. In March of 1814 there was a spotted fever epidemic in Lexington that probably killed David's brother, John in April of 1814. Possibly the same plague killed David. There is no estate sale and no record of David's death. One ancestor suggested in the Barton papers that he is buried near Lexington, Kentucky.

Thanks to Scott Norton for doing so much research and placing this history on his webstie. His info on David Norton Sr. can be found here.

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