Nicholas Norton, immigrant ancestor of the Martha’s Vineyard Norton family, was born c1610, most likely in England and possibly from Somerset. Charles Banks ( Annals of Edgartown, Volume II:85-90)) discussed this family over one hundred years ago and said this about Nicholas Norton: It will probably be found upon investigation that he emigrated from Somersetshire, and perhaps came from the vicinity of Batcombe or Broadway in that county, and there is some reason for inferring that he was one of the party of colonists accompanying the Rev. John Hull in 1635 to New England. [Rev. Mr. Hull brought twenty families from the vicinity of Batcombe and Broadway, and in 1639 Nicholas Norton had some business dealings with one Standerwyck, a clothier of Broadway in the County of Somerset. In 1640 he had a suit at law with Parson Hull.]
However, in spite of these clues, I find no scholarly research documenting the English home of Nicholas Norton, so they remain clues to me. His year of birth is based on a deposition made in 1676 stating that Nicholas was about 66 years old.
Nicholas married by about 1641, possibly in Weymouth, to Elizabeth (MNU). Many state that her maiden name is Isaac, but the basis for that statement seems to be that the couple named their first child Isaac. While there are a few instances of Isaac being found as a last name early in New England, I have found no ties to Weymouth or the Nortons. No scholarly research has been found documenting her surname either, so like Somerset, it’s an area for further research.
Nicholas and Elizabeth Norton lived in Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts where the births of their first two children are recorded. By 1657, the young family had removed to Martha’s Vineyard.
The birth order and years of birth of their children are estimates, based on the year in which they were determined to already have been married.
Elizabeth Norton’s year of birth is unknown, but give that her last children were probably born c1660, she was probably 5-10 years younger than Nicholas.
- Isaac, born 3 May 1641, Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; died in 1723, when his estate inventory was taken, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Ruth Bayes, c1663.
- Jacob, born 1 March or 1 April 1643, Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; no evidence that he ever married. No further record, as he is not named in his father’s will dated 17 April 1690.
- Elizabeth, born c1645; died after 17 April 1690; married James Pease, by 1664.
- Priscilla, born c1649; died after 17 April 1690; married John Butler, c1671
- Joseph, born cMarch 1651; died before 19 October 1742, when his will was proved, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Mary Bayes, c1673
- Benjamin, born c1653; died by January 1734, Dukes, Massachusetts, when his estate administration began; married Hannah (MNU) by 1685
- Ruth, born c1655; died after 1717; married Moses Cleveland, 4 October 1676, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
- Sarah?, born c1657; married John? Stanbridge, by 1673. She is called Daughter Stanbridge in her father’s will. The surname is unusual and one John and Sarah Stanbridge had children born to them from 1673 onward. John Stanbridge settled in Newport, Rhode Island.
- Esther, born c1659; died by 8 April 1724, when her estate inventory was taken, Dukes, Massachusetts; married (1) Samuel Huxford, by 1683 (2) Jonathan Dunham, c1691
- Mary, born c1661; married Thomas Woollen, c1686
Although Elizabeth Norton survived her husband, Nicholas, it was only by a few months and each left a will. Nicholas Norton’s will was dated 17 April 1690. I have not been able to locate a digital image of this will. Banks cites the source as Court Records., Volume 1, 1690.
The last will and testament of me Nicolas Norton Being very weak in body but of perfect understanding and Souend memory After my death and desent Christian burial: I give and bequest my worry good as foloeth:-
Iprimes: I give my Son Izak Norton on half Comminig as also fouer Small Shares of medow
Secondly I give my Son Benjamin Norton all my medow at Saniacantick as also my medow at Morthals neck beach from the Crick dug into the Great pond westward as also my now dwelling hones and all my land aioyning to my Sayd houes after the deces of my wife Elizabeth Norton as also my lots at quompasha with all my devided land Elsewhere: provided my Sayd Son Beniamin deliver up his now dweling houes to my now wife Elizabeth Norton with the land aioyning to the Sayd houes: to be at my Sayd wifes sole will and pleseuer to dispose of at or before her desese, as also all that medow I have from a Creek to Izak Norton Medow
thirdly. I give Moses Cleveland the Remaynder of the Sayd medow to joyne with Weeks medow also on halfe Commonidg with all prevleges belonging there untoo
fourthly I give my Son in law Thomas Wolling on halfe Commonidg with all prevelidges belonging to it with a pese of medow from Izak Norton’s medow to the Creeke abofe named.
fifthly I give my Son Joseph Norton a tract of land lying at Saniacantacket joyning to the mill Creke which I bought of Mr Sam.
Sixtly I give that whole Commonidg which was Arys to my aforeSayd Son Beniamin Norton
Seventhly I give to Elizabeth Norton my wife all my Catle Coues oxen Steeres & Sheepe also all my hors kind & furder I give my Sayd wife Elizabeth Norton all my houeshold goods Beding pewter bras Iron tin wood wood as Chests trunks tables Chayers and all other things not named, also all plowes Carts Chayns yoks and all other utensells with all lumber: furder I leve my Sayd wife to give my dafter pese and my dafter wil (Wollong or Williams) and my dafter Stanbridg & my dafter Butler Something to Every one of them as much as shee sese cause: as also my dafter huxford to her my wife knows my mind
Eithly, my medow at the neck Caueled the Manado I leve to my wife Elizabeth Norton
Ninthly I doe apoynt my Sayd wife Elizabeth Norton to be my Sole Execitor and to performe my will as abof whritin.
The mark of N Nicklis Norton
Elizabeth’s will, dated 8 June 1690 and proved 8 October 1690, is found in the same volume of court records:
The Last will and testament of me Elizabeth Norton widow I doe give to my fouer dafters named in my husbons will, five Shillins to Each of them.
I give that houes & land to Ester huxford that my Son Benjamin Norton lives in and to be delevered before his Entering into mine I dwell in acording to my Said husbons will & mind he left with me to performe & I give my Sd dafter Ester huxford that pese of medow laying between Izak Nortons meadow and the medow of Moses Cleveland nere Mortols Neck. Then my will is after my death Christian buryall & funeral! Rights be performed first I give that pese or parsoll of medow laying at a place Caueled Manadoo to my Son Joseph Norton
Secondly I give to all and Every on of my granChildren on Shillin in money to Every one of them and to be payd wthin ten days after my buriall
thirdly I give all my lands houeses medows fences Commons Cattle Sheep horses and horskind & monys with all my household goods as beding & bed furnyture with all my Chests trunks tables Chayers with all my pewter bras Iron and tin vesels with all my plews Carts Chayns yoks wedges Siths with all other things and goods that is mine to all my Sons and darters to be Equally devided amongst them to Every on alick Equall portion and skier
fourthly I doe apoynt my Son Joseph Norton to be Exe citor to this my will to pay all my depts and delever out all my legasys treuly and faythfullv acording this my mind and will.
fifthly I doe Request Richard Sarson to be overser to see this my will performed soe far as he is able: and in witnes to this my will I have put too my hand and Sele the day and yere abof whritin
Sixtly doe Request my beloved son Izak Norton to be overser with Richard Sarson to this my will
The mark of U Elizabeth Norton
Witness here untoo
The mark of X Johnnathan danham
This abof mentioned will be profed in Coart is Exepted
Court held Octobr the Eight: 1690
pr Curiam Tho Butler Clarke
Whereas by the last will and testament of Elizabeth Norton is mentioned as bequeathed to hester huxford an hous and land according to the will of Nicolas Norton left with his wife sd Elizabeth Isaac Norton
My line of descent:
1. Nicholas Norton and Elizabeth (MNU)
2. Joseph Norton and Mary Bayes
3. John Norton and Mary Torrey
4. Joseph Coleman and Rachel Norton
5. Joseph Coleman and Eunice Coffin
6. Joseph Coleman and Ruth Spurr
7. Thomas Coleman and Mary Elizabeth Astle
8. William Coleman and Sarah Moriah Crouse
9. Hartwell Thomas Coleman and Anna Elisabeth Jensen
10. Vernon Tarbox Adams and Hazel Ethel Coleman
11. George Michael Sabo and Doris Priscilla Adams
12. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – me