Joseph Norton was born in March 1652, the son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (MNU) Norton of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Joseph led a distinguished life of public service as he was called “gentleman”, served as the first representative from the Vineyard to the General Court of Massachusetts in 1692. He also served in several other public capacities.
Joseph married twice. His married his first wife, Mary Bayes, my ancestress, about 1673 and married (2) Ann Trapp, about 1702. Ann survived Joseph, dying in the summer of 1753. He had children by both wives.
The Norton family lived in Major’s Cove on the Vineyard.
Children of Joseph and Mary (Bayes) Norton:
- John, born 1674; died 6 December 1730, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Mary Torrey, c1699
- Joseph, born c1676; predeceased his father, as his children received legacies; possibly the man who died 16 November 1722, Salisbury, Essex, Massachusetts
- Rachel, born c1681; died after her father wrote his will on 28 May 1741; married Joshua Smith, 17 July 1701
- Lydia, born c1685; died 2 March 1726/27, Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts; married Richard Arey, 6 December 1705
- Ebenezer, born 1691; died 11 April 1769, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts; married Deborah Mayhew of Chilmark, Massachussetts, 18 November 1715, Dukes County, Massachusetts.
- Bethiah, born c1693; died after her father wrote his will on 28 May 1741/42; married William Manchester, 16 November 1715, Edgartown, Dukes, Massachusetts
- Elizabeth, born c1696; predeceased her father, as her children received legacies; married Nathaniel Manchester, 14 May 1716
Children of Joseph and Ann (Trapp) Norton:
8. Sylvanus, born 22 March 1703; died April 1720
9. Ann, born 9 February 1705; died before 14 December 1738, when her husband remarried to Mary Stewart; married Joseph Pease
10. Eunice, born 26 September 1714; likely died young as she is not mentioned in her father’s will.
Joseph Norton died on 30 January 1741/42 in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, aged 89 years and 10 months. His health must have begun to decline early in 1741, as he wrote his will on 28 May 1741.
Here are the transcribed pages found in the Dukes County court records. The original digital image is quite dark and the tiny handwriting makes it somewhat difficult to read.
Will of Joseph Norton, Esquire, 28 May 1741
Dukes County, Massachusetts, 3:139-140 (Transcribed Copy)
In the Name of god amen: The Twenty Eighth Day of May anno Domini 1741 Joseph Norton of Edgartown in the County of Dukes County in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay Esqr. Being sick & weak in Body but of Perfect mind & memory Thanks be to God & calling to mind the mortality of my Body, Do make and ordain this my Last Will & Testament: That is to say Primaryly & first of all I give and Recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave itt & my Body I recomend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian Manner at the discresion of my Executor nothing Doubting but
But att the generall Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the almighty Power of God. and as touching such worldly estates wherewith itt hath pleased god to bless me in this Life. I dispose of all my Personal Estate which is yett remaining undisposed off in the following manner & forme:
Imprimis I give and Bequeath unto Ann my Dearly beloved wife the sum of forty Pounds Contained in two Bonds given to me by Samuel Trapp & Thomas Trapp both of the aforesaid Edgartown which said Bonds are Dated the ninth Day of Aprill a.D. 1740, together with the Interest Due by the said bonds & becoming due untill they be paid and also the one third part of all my other Personall Estate debts and movable Effects to be Divided & Delivered unto her in the first place before any of my Debts funerall charges be paid & also five Pounds contained in a bond I had of Simeon Butler Esqr.
Item: I give unto the children of my two daughters Lidia & Elizabeth, & to my Daughter Bethiah & to the children of my daughter Ann the two thirds of my forsaid Personall Estate, to be by my Executor Divided unto them after all my debts & funerall charges be first paid out of it and what I otherwise Dispose of in this will:
Item I give unto my Daughter Rachell but one shilling because I have already given a sufficient Portion unto her.
Item. I give unto the children of my son Joseph but one shilling because I have already given unto my said son Joseph & his children a sufficient Portion:
Item: I give unto the children of my son John but one shilling because I have already given unto my said son John & his children a sufficent Portion.
Item: I give unto my son Ebenezer my silver Tankard which I do hereby Except out of all my personall & movable Estate & effects and not to be accounted & computed as part thereof which is all I give unto him in this will because I have already given him a sufeficient (sic) portion out of what I had. whome I constitute Likewise my sold Executor of this my Last will & Testament of all my personall Estate having already disposed of all my Land & Real Estate having conveyance and I do hereby utterly revoake & Disannull all & any other former Testaments & Wills Legacys & bequests and executors by me heretofore named. and confirming this and no other to be my Last will & testament: In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the Day and year above written.
Joseph Norton (seal)
Signed Sealed Published Declared
& Pronounced by the said Joseph Norton as his Last Will & testament in the presence of us subscribers
The last Norton post will be about Joseph’s father, Nicholas Norton, who was the immigrant ancestor of this early Martha’s Vineyard family.