John Norton was born about 1674, probably in Edgartwon, Dukes, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Norton and Mary Bayes. John married Mary Torrey, believed to be the daughter of Jonathan and Ruth (Fry) Torrey of Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Edgartown is on the eastern edge of Martha’s Vineyard just northwest of Nantucket Island. Early families here mostly made their living at sea and often traveled the short distance between the two islands. It isn’t surprising that my Coleman and Coffin lines in Nantucket intersect with the Norton family in Martha’s Vineyard.
John and Mary were the parents of five known children:
- Mary, born c1700; died 15 January 1746, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts in her 46th year; married Christopher Beetle, 25 October 1718, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts. No death record has been found for Christopher, but he survived Mary.
- Jemima, born c1702; died 3 April 1794, Tisbury, Dukes, Massachusetts in her 92nd year; married Cornelius Dunham. He may be the Cornelius Dunahm whose death is recorded in Boston in 1766, no month or day noted.
- John, born c1704; reportedly removed to Connecticut
- Rachel, born c1706; died 16 October 1767, Nantucket, Massachusetts; married Joseph Coleman, c1729
- Jerusha, born c1708; buried 4 February 1769, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Ichabod Wiswall, 9 December 1735, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts. He resided in Dorchester at the time of his marriage. Ichabod was buried in Edgartwon on 17 June 1784, aged 78 years.
John Norton died on 6 December 1730 in Edgartown, leaving a will, written a week before his death on 30 November 1730. Mary survived him by many years, dying on 29 July 1814, also in Edgartown.
In the name of God amen. I, John Norton of Edgartown in ye County of Dukes County in ye Province of ye Massachusetts Bay in New England Gentleman Being very sick & weak of Body but of perfect sence & memory Praised be almighty God for the same and calling to mind that is is Appointed for all men once to Dye & knowing ye Uncertainty thereof Do there fore make & ordain this to be my Last Will & Testament in manner & form following. That is to say
Imprimis I Give & Recommend my soul Into the hands of Almighty God who gave it hoping through ye intersession & mediation of our Blessed Lord & only Redeemer Jesus Christ to receive a full perfect & absolute forgiveness of all my sins & transgressions by his Meritorious Death & Passion —-
Item my Body I Recommend to ye Earth to be Decently Interred after my Decease in a Christian Like manner att ye Discression of my Executor hereafter named nothing doubting but to find a Joy full Resurrection at ye Last Day: – And as for what worldly Estate it hath pleased Almighty God to bestow upon me & Bless me with all I give will devise and bequeath ye same in manner & form following viz. First it is my will & desire yt my Just Debts to be truly paid & Discharged by my Executor hereafter named & out of his Proportion of my Estate –
Item. I give will & bequeath unto my loving wife Mary Norton the one Third part of all my whole Estate both Real & Personal in Possession & Reversion for & During ye sd Mary Nortons Natural Life & it is my will yt after her Decease the same shall desend unto my Son John Norton Junr his heirs Execs Adms and assigns for ever.
Item. I give will & Bequeath unto my Daughter Jemima the wife of Cornelius Dunham one acre of land: that is one acre of the North Westerly part of my now dwelling house lott in sd Edgartown beginning from the outermost part thereof & so running in full breadth Downwards so as to contain one acre & including the Dwelling houses wherein sd Jemima now lives. To her the sd Jemima Dunahm her heirs Execrs Adms and assigns forever.
Item. I give will devise & bequeath unto my aforsd Son John Noton Jur all the Residue & whole remaining part of my Estate both Real & Personall in Possession or Revision & all and Eney the Debts & dues that shall be found Due & owing to me to him ye sd John Norton Junr his heirs Execs Adms & assignes for ever. Provided Nevertheless that iit is my will & Pleasure that he pay & discharge all such just Debts as are due from me. (Turn over) and do also pay the several Legacys unto the persons hereafter named.
Item. I give will Devise unto my Daughter Mary ye wife of Christopher Beete ye sum of fifty Pounds money Currency of New England to be paid unto her the sd Mary by my aofresd son John Norton Jur according to ye time hereafter Expressed to her sd Mary Beetle her heirs Exers Adms & assignes for ever: –
Item. I give will Devise & bequeath unto my Daughter Jemima the wife of Cornelius Dunham ye Sum of Sixty Pounds money Currency of New England to be paid unto her in same manner as the aforesd Marys is to be paid to her sd Jemima Dunham her heirs Execrs adms and assigns for ever.
Item. I give will Devise & bequeath unto my Daughter Rachel the wife of Joseph Coleman the sum of fiftey Pounds Money currency of New England to be paid unto her sd Rachel in ye same manner as the aforesd Mary Beetle & Jemima Dunhams is to be paid. To her sd Rachel Coleman her heirs Execrs Admrs and assigns for Ever.
Item. It is my will & Pleasure that ye legacys to be paid unto my aforsd daughters Mary Beetle & Jemima Dunham & Rachel Coleman be paid unto them by my aforsd son John Norton Junr his heirs Execrs or Adms within he space or at ye expriation of two nears next after my Decease That is to Say ye one halfe of sd severall Legacys to be paid to each one Respectively according to their proportion or to their respective heirs Execrs Adms or Assigns at ye expiration of one year next after my Decease & ye remaining halfe part of Each ones proportion to be paid in like manner at ye expiration of ye above term of two years next after my decease. but if yt my sd son John Norton Jur shall see cause for to sett of any part of real or personall Estate or of both for to pay sd Legacys or any part thereof That then sd Mary Beetle Jemima Dunham and Rachel Coleman shall receive their proportion of ye sd estate as he shall Nominate & Appoint according as ye same shall or may be lawfully Apperized & such part as they shall receive shall be deemed & taken to be paid in part proportionally of their aforsd Severall Legacys & ye Reason that I have allowed unto sd Mary Beetle Jemima Dunham Rachel Coleman no Larger Legacys is yt on their Marriages & Since I have paid & given them Considerable Sums of Money.