Category Archives: Norton

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.

Sylvester Stover & Elizabeth (MNU) York County, ME 1600s

Sylvester Stover is my 8X great grandparent and, as I wrote the other day, he married Elizabeth (MNU), daughter of Margaret (MNU) and stepdaughter of Henry Norton of York, York, Maine c1650-1652, most likely in York County, Maine where they lived.

Sylvester’s parentage and family origins are unknown. Henry Norton was form Stepney, Middlesex, England, but as he was in New England by 1634 and didn’t marry Margaret until c1640, his birthplace might have no ties at all to Sylvester and Elizabeth.

Although Sylvester and Elizabeth were the parents of nine children, they had a rocky relationship, at least in the first few years of their marriage, as they made several appearances in the York County, Maine court records.

Source: American Ancestors

Given that each was accusing others of unbecoming behavior – and it was recorded for posterity in court records – DNA test results given back in the day might have brought surprising results. However, there is no indication in the minutes that anyone but Sylvester and his wife Elizabeth were the parents of the nine children living in their household.

Sylvester was a farmer and ferryman by occupation and lived at Cape Neddick, York, Maine. He was born c1630 and died before 14 February 1689/90 in York County when his will was filed.

Source: American Ancestors

Elizabeth, born probably 1632-1637, outlived Sylvester by many years. Her will was filed on 4 September 1722 in Plymouth County, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth was most likely living with her daughter Hannah, her husband David Bryant, and their family when she wrote her will in 1714. She was already around 80 or a bit older by that time and the will wasn’t recorded for another ten years.

Elizabeth was a slave owner – how, where or when she became one, the records don’t say – but she was ahead of her time with her bequests to Phebie, Jonathan and Jerusha in her will. I’ve read a fair number of wills where the testator gives a slave his or her freedom and maybe even gives them one suit of clothes.

Elizabeth went far beyond that with her bequests. Her own children each received £23 and were to share equally in the rest of her estate. However, Phebe, Jonathan and Jerusha each received their freedom, all the clothing, the beds in which they slept along with the bedding AND £10 each. Jonathan was even to inherit Elizabeth’s gun.

I don’t know whether there was any significance to the naming of her executors – one of her children plus two non-family members – and any two of them were to handle her estate. Did she want to be sure that her wishes were followed exactly?

Keep in mind that Massachusetts didn’t abolish slavery until 1783 – 69 years after Elizabeth wrote her will:

In the name of God Amen. The Seventh day of December In the first year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord, George, by the grace of god of Great Britain France and Ireland. King, Defender of the faith Annoq Domini one thousand seven hundred and fourteen. I Elizabeth Stover of Scittuate in the County of Plymouth in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New England, Spinster, Being weak of Body but of Sound memory, Calling to mind my mortality, & the uncertainty of my Life, I do make & ordain this my Last Will and testament, In manner & form following, hereby revoking & making Null & void all former Will or Wills, by me made Either by word or writing, ratifying & confirming no other to (both?) my Last will & testament.

First & principally I give & recommend my Soul in to the hands of god ye gave it and my body to the Earth to be buried after a decent & Christian manner at the Discretion of my Executors hereafter named. — And as touching such worldly Estate as the Lord has Blessed me with, I do give & bequeath& dispose of the same in manner following.

Imprimis I Give & bequeath unto my son John Stover the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my son Dependence Stover the summer of twenty & three pounds silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my son Josiah Stover the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my son George Stover the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my Daughter Elizabeth Walford the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my Daughter Sarah Lanchaster the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my Daughter Deborah Sawyer the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my Daughter Mary Wanton the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give & bequeath unto my Daughter Hannah Bryant the Summ of twenty & three pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce.

Item I Give unto Phebie, my Negro woman Slave, her freedom at my death and ten pounds in silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce to be paid by my Executors at the End of one month after my decease. Item I Give unto my said negro woman all her wareing cloths, together with the bed Shee lyeth on, and the bead stead, & clothing (?) that belongs to it.

Item I give unto Jonathan my Negro lad, the son of Phebie my negro woman, his freedome at my Decease; Item I give unto the Sd Jonathan all his wareing cloths, the bed whereon he Lyeth and the clothing belonging to it, my Gun, and ten pounds in Silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce to be paid him by my Executors when he Shall arrive to the age of twenty and one years.

Item I Give unto Jerusha my Negro Girl the Daughter of Phebie my negro woman her freedom at my Decease; Item I give unto the sd Jerusha her wareing Cloths, & ten pounds in Silver money at Eight Shillings p ounce, to be paid unto her by my Executor whenShe Shall arrive att the age of Eighteen years;

Item My will is that after the payment of my funerall Charges & just debts the remainder of my Estate both Real & personal be Equally Divided among my nine Children viz: John, Dependence, George, Josiah, Elizabeth, Sarah, Deborah, Mary & Hannah And I do hereby Ordain, Constitute & appoint my trusty & faithful Friend MicaelWanton & Nathanael (Ellis?) and my beloved son Josiah Stover or Either two of them —- to be the Executors of this my Last will & Testament In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the day & year above written.

Elizabeth (her E mark) Stover

Signed sealed & declared in presence of us witnesses
Stephen Clay?
Timothy Symmes
Tho mark of V Thomas Vere

Children, all likely born Cape Neddick, York, Maine and all were living in December 1714 when their mother wrote her will:

  1. Elizabeth, born c1653; married (1) Richard Hunnewell, 31 March 1674, Scarborough, . He died in 1703. (2) Jeremiah Walford (3) John Downing, after December 1714, when Elizabeth’s mother wrote her will.
  2. Mary, born c1655; married Mr. (Michael?) Wanton. The Wanton family seems to have been living in the Scituate, Massachusetts area.
  3. John, born c1660;
  4. Hannah, born c1662; married (1) Richard Church, 2 February 1696/97, Scituate, Plymouth, Massachusetts. He died in 1703. (2) David Bryant
  5. Sarah, born c1665; married Mr. (William?) Lancaster
  6. George, born c1668; married Abigail Elwell, 25 January 1992/93, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts
  7. Deborah, born c1670; died 13 July 1734, Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts; married James Sayward, c1691, probably in York County, Maine
  8. Dependence, born c1675; died 25 September 1723, York York, Maine; married Mary Young, c1701, probably York county, Maine
  9. Josiah, born c1677; died 9 April 1743, Tiverton, Newport, Rhode Island; married Sarah (MNU), c1698, Tiverton, Newport, Rhode Island.

Here ends the Stover surname in my family tree.


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.