Elizabeth (Norton?), Wife of Sylvester Stover and Henry Norton of York, ME

I’ve said it before and I have to repeat myself. It is ALWAYS good to go back and look at old research through new eyes. I also have to promote AmericanAncestors as a “must” resource for everyone who has early colonial American ancestry.

I have been focusing my new eyes on my 8X great grandparents, Sylvester Stover and his wife, Elizabeth, who has been called Elizabeth Norton at least since the mid 1800s in the genealogy world. Because I only carry the Stover surname in my tree for a generation – their daughter, Deborah, married James Sayward and the Stover name leaves my family tree with that generation, I have not looked at this family for a very long time.

Since the time I actually worked on it, The Great Migration Study Project, led by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, and sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, got up and running and published its initial multi-volume set about the earliest settlers in New England.

One of those men, Henry Norton, features in the project because he can be documented living in Boston by 1634/35 and in York, York, Maine by 1642.

Henry Norton was a respected man in his community and details of his residence and community offices held are included in his life sketch. He was baptized on 2 December 1618 in St. Dunstan, Stepney, Middlesex, England and administration on his estate began on 14 August 1659. Henry married Margaret (MNU), c1639, given the birth of George, noted next.

The two most interesting items, though, to me are (1) that he is only attributed with ONE child, his son George, born c1640. Given that Henry was baptized (and born, from other commentary in his sketch) in 1618, he would have been 22 when his son was born in 1640.

HOWEVER, and this is a big however, Elizabeth “Norton” was married to Sylvester Stover by 1653. If Henry was 22 when George was born, and Elizabeth married Sylvester by 1653 and maybe a bit earlier, there is a timeline problem here.

If Elizabeth was just 16 years old when she married, which would be extremely unusual in New England in the mid 17th century, she would have been born no later than 1637 if married in 1653. If she was 21 at the time of marriage, she would have been born c1632.

Instead, it is suggested and maybe probable that Henry’s wife, Margaret, was a widow when she married him.

That conclusion makes perfect sense to me! I suspect that other Stover descendants, like me, might not have looked at more recent research done on this family.

That means that Henry Norton needs to take a new place on my family tree, as the second husband of Margaret (MNU) and Elizabeth will drop the Norton surname. Instead, I will add this information into my notes to explain her relationship to Henry.

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