CHARLES J. NORBURY, one of the old and best known men of Cass county, was born in Philadelphia, May 22, 1812. His father, Joseph B., was a native of Northumberland, Pennsylvania, grew up and obtained his education in Philadelphia, became an attorney, and was so engaged until his death at sixty years of age. He was a well known citizen of that city. His mother, Rebecca Frick, was born in Northumberland county, coming of German parents, and died a consistent member of the Dutch Reformed Church.
Mr. Norbury, after obtaining his early education, became a clerk in a wholesale house in Philadelphia. In the spring of 1836 he came to Beardstown via Pittsburg, the Ohio, Mississippi and Illinois rivers. He has since been a resident of this place. He first began as a clerk for William Bassett, who was a dealer in flour and dry goods and agent for the steamboats on the rivers. After this Mr. Norbury was associated with several gentlemen, and later entered into business relations with George Plahn, which continued until 1884, when Mr. Norbury retired from active business. In these years he had become one of the best known men of the county, respected for his honesty and as one who was a friend in need. He never accumulated a large fortune, but possesses a modest competence.
He was married in Beardstown, in 1839, to Elizabeth Spence of Tennessee, born October 16, 1822. She was the daughter of Rev. Thomas Spence, a prominent Methodist minister of Tennessee, who came to Illinois in the early thirties, having been a pioneer minister in the early history of the State. Mr. and Mrs. Norbury are working members of the Congregational Church. He is not an office seeker, but has always been a Whig and a Republican, voting first for William H. Harrison and last for his grandson. Having always lived a temperate life, notwithstanding his age, he has a clear eye and sound faculties. He and his wife are the parents of thirteen children, nine of whom are living. Those living are: Rebecca, widow of D. H. Flickwin and living in Beardstown; Jennie, now wife of Judge S. P. Dale, Canon City, Colorado; William remains at home; Paralee, the wife of O. K. Ruechler, lives in Jacksonville, Illinois; Arthur also lives at Jacksonville; Elizabeth resides in Denver; Anna, wife of William D. Epler, resides in Beardstown; Frank is a physician in charge of the male annex of the insane asylum at Jacksonville; Mamie is the wife of G. B. Hegardt, assistant United States Engineer at Fort Stephens, Oregon. He built the Government jetties at the mouth of the Columbia river.