Nicholas Norton & Elizabeth (MNU) of Weymouth and Martha’s Vineyard, MA, 1600s

Nicholas Norton was born c1610, probably in or very near Broadway, Somerset, England. His FAN club includes Mr. Hull, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and a purchase of cattle from Mr. Richard Standwicke in 1639/40, who lived in Broadway, Somerset, England provide two links to that shire.

Elizabeth, his wife, was born c1618, but her parents have not been identified. It is likely that she may have been living in Weymouth, where Nicholas settled by 1639, and where they would have married c1640.

Nicholas and Elizabeth Norton spent the first 18 or so years of their married life living in Weymouth. However, Nicholas is last mentioned in Weymouth records in 1657 and then appears in in Martha’s Vineyard records by August 1659.

Nicholas and Elizabeth Norton were the parents of eleven children:

1. Isaac, born 3 May 1641, Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; died before 28 March 1723, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts, when the inventory of his estate was presented in court; married Ruth Bayes, c1663, probably in Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts.

2. Jacob, born 1 March 1643, Weymouth, Norfolk, Massachusetts; died before 17 April 1690, as he is not mentioned in his father’s will; apparently unmarried.

3. Elizabeth, born c1645, probably Weymouth; died after 17 April 1690; married James Pease, c1666.

4. Hannah, born c1648, probably Weymouth; died after 17 April 1690; married (1) Augustine Williams (2) Mr. Browne, before 1703, Killingworth, Middlesex, Connecticut.

5. Joseph, born March 1651; died 20 January 1741/42, aged 89 years, 10 months, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts; married (1) Mary Bayes, c1673 (2) Ann Trapp, c1702.

6. Sarah, born c1653, probably Weymouth; died after 17 April 1690; married John Stanbridge.

7. Priscilla, born c1655, probably Weymouth; died after 17 April 1690; married John Butler.

8. Ruth, born c1657, probably Weymouth; died after 25 June 1695, probably Southold, Suffolk, New York; married Moses Cleveland, 4 October 1676, Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts. (Marriage recorded in Woburn, but probably took place in Edgartown.)

9. Benjamin, born c1659, probably Edgartown; died between November 1733 and January 1734, Edgartown; married Hannah Bolter/Butler, before 1685.

10. Esther, born c1662, probably Edgartown; died before 8 April 1724; married (1) Samuel Huxford (2) Jonathan Dunham, c1691, probably in Edgartown.

11. Mary, born c1666, probably Edgartown; died after 17 April 1690; married Thomas Woollen.

I have not been able to find an image of the wills of Nicholas and Elizabeth Norton in Dukes County. Volume 1 appears to have records dates 1698 as the earliest in the book. However, Charles E. Banks in his History of Martha’s Vineyard, Volume II Annals of Edgartown, pages 85-90, covering Nicholas Norton includes the following transcriptions of the two wills:

Will of Nicholas Norton, 17 April 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

Richard Sarson
Joseph Norton

Will of Elizabeth Norton, 8 June 1690

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 gran¬Children 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
gershom donham
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

I would love to see a modern, scholarly article on the family of Nicholas Norton, although I am quite sure that he hailed from Somerset, England before making his new home in Massachusetts.

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