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NORTON, John, Sr.

John NORTON, Sr., is a retired farmer, living at Varna, and is numbered among the settlers of 1848. His father, Hiram NORTON, was a native of Connecticut, and settled in Ohio, at an early day, locating in Trumbull county, where he married. His wife dying, he was again married and removed to Holmes county, Ohio, where he made a permanent home and there spent the remainder of his life.

The subject of this sketch was born January 3, 1821, in Trumbull county, Ohio, but in early childhood removed with his father to Holmes county, where he grew to manhood. He was reared on a farm and educated in the subscription schools of the early days. In 1844 he was united in marriage with Miss Eleanor BERRY, also a native of Ohio. Four years later they came to Marshall county, and settled in Lacon, where he remained three years. He then located five miles east of that place on a partially improved farm and there remained fifteen years, when he moved to sections 31 and 32, Roberts township, where his son, John B. NORTON, now resides. On removing to the farm in Roberts township he remodeled the house, built the barn and made other excellent improvements. In 1884 he turned the farm over to his sons and removed to Varna, where he has since lived a retired life.

To John and Eleanor NORTON were born five children – Elizabeth, now the wife of P. H. PURCELL, lives in York, Nebraska; George W., who married Jennie ROBERTS, now deceased, lives in Varna, and his present wife bore the maiden name of Ella O’MARA; Samantha Jane, now deceased, was the wife of John IMHOFF; Emily E. is now the wife of McL. THOMSPON, of West, York county, Nebraska; John B., who married Clara TIDMARSH, now resides in Roberts township. Mrs. NORTON dying, May 13, 1857, our subject was again married, March 27, 1861, to Miss Mary L. BOYS, a native of Monroe county, Pennsylvania, born September 29, 1832. She died February, 4, 1873, leaving four children – William O., residing in Varna; Edwin S., who married Alma WINGET, and now resides in Varna; Leonard M., who married Mollie BROADDUS, and lives in Varna; Letitia M., who married Clifford ROBERTS, and also makes her home in Varna.

Mr. NORTON married his present wife, December 31, 1879. She was Miss Ellen B. BOYS, born February 14, 1840, in Hopewell township, Marshall county, and a daughter of William and Letitia (MORGAN) BOYS, both of whom were natives of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. They came to Marshall county in 1832, and stopped for a short time with Colonel John STRAWN, then located on section 27, Hopewell township, of which he was the first settler. At that time their nearest neighbor was tree miles away. On that farm they resided until their deaths, the father dying October 4, 1873, and the mother, January 11, 1880. They were the parents of six children – John, now deceased, married Margaret RUSSELL, and after her death married Catherine LONG, by whom he had two children; Mary was the deceased wife of our subject; Morgan, now deceased, married Annie HANCOCK, who has also passed away; Charles, who married Aurelia HALL, now resides in Washburn, Illinois; Ellen B. is now the wife of our subject; Emily, who married Stephen RAMSEY, resides in Hopewell township.

Politically, Mr. NORTON is a democrat, with which party he has been identified since attaining his majority. He has been supervisor of Roberts township, and has also held other township offices, including that of school director, which position he held for many years. When he came to Marshall county he was in very limited circumstances and for many years was required to toil early and late, but having accumulated a competency, he is now living a retired life in the village of Varna. To each of his children he has given a good education, the most of them attending higher schools of other localities.

Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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