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BIOGRAPHIES: Surnames Beginning With "N"

From the book about Wabasha Co. Minnesota
Compiled by Dr. L. H. Bunnell
Published Chicago by H. H. Hill, Publishers, 1884
Republished Currently by Higginson Books

Nash, Edward, (page 1052), farmer, the subject of this sketch, first saw the light of day in Kilkenny county, Ireland, in September of the year 1819. His parents, John and Mary (McGragh) Nash, belonged to the small farmer class. He remained in his native land until 1850, and received a meager education; he then came to America. After spending a few months on a farm near Watertown, New York, he tried life as a lake sailor, until the close of navigation, for the winter of 1850-1. The following spring he worked in Ames & Spencer's tannery, near Milwaukee. In June, 1853, he found himself a miner in the Lake Superior mines, where he remained until 1858, when he came to Highland, and pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres on sections 7 and 18, in Highland township, and section 13, in Oakwood, and in June, 1859, took up his permanent residence in this township. In 1882 he sold his pioneer farm and purchased a smaller farm of eighty, on section 17, from A. M. Grarey. He was married August 2, 1875, to Anna Mullins, a native of Nova Scotia, born February 22, 1847. Her parents afterward removed to Wisconsin, and in the fall of 1861 she and her twin-brother, then in their fifteenth year, accompanied by two younger children, came alone from Portage City, Wisconsin, to Wabasha, driving an ox team. In politics Mr. Nash is an independent democrat; in religion, a Catholic; has been supervisor two terms and assessor one. Mr. Nash tells of how he went to bed one night in the dark of his pioneer bachelor cabin, and found a bedfellow in the slimy coils of a serpent four feet in length.

Nelson, Oliver, (page 942) came to Wabasha county in 1854, and was probably the first settler in Highland township. He was born in Norway January 27, 1835. His parents were Nels and Anna (Oliverson) Olson; Oliver, according to the custom of his native country, taking the given name of his father and appending thereto the suffix "son" for his surname. He was fifteen when he came with his parents to America. The family first settled near Madison, Wisconsin, and remained two years. In 1852 removed to Decorah, Iowa, coming from there to Wabasha county in 1854. The subject of this sketch was married to Isabella Hulgerson in 1856. She died October 28, 1868, and two years thereafter he again married, this time to Mary Ann Halverson, also a native of Norway. Mr. Nelson is the father of a numerous family; of those born to the first wife only three survive, namely, Nicholas, Mary Christina and Anton C.; of the second marriage there are living, John Henry, Albert, Otis, Joseph, Alfred and Cyrus. In 1855 Mr. Nelson pre-empted the farm on which he now resides, one hundred and sixty acres on section 32, to which he has added, by purchase, forty acres. The first year of his sojourn in Wabasha county he went to mill twice, to Decorah, Iowa, a distance of one hundred miles, and the nearest neighbors were ten or twelve miles distant. Mr. Nelson is a member of the Methodist church and votes the republican ticket.

Revolutionary War
Norton, Amzi Brainard Watts, (page 984 ~ 1st of 2 biographies), of Plainview, was born in Chenango county, New York, October 30, 1818. His father, Amzi Norton, was of Connecticut origin, and though a blacksmith by trade, was of a decidedly literary turn of mind, and established quite a local celebrity as a poet. His poetical efforts were chiefly of a religious character, and were put forth to further the Millerite cause, in which Mr. Norton was a firm believer. Our subject's mother was nee Huldah Barstow, whose lineage dates back to some of the old troopers of the revolution. The family removed to Tioga county, New York, while Amzi was yet a child, and here he spent his youth and received a common-school education. At the age of fourteen he became a clerk in John Stedman's store, at Richford. He afterward bought out Stedman and ran the store for a time alone, then sold out and accepted the management of a store at West Dryden, New York, then a year each in West Virgil and New Jersey. His next move was westward, to McHenry county, Illinois, where in 1847 he and Josiah Dwight opened a general store at Woodstock. Here he continued in business until the spring of 1857, when he came to Wabasha county and opened a store in Plainview, in conjunction with William Kimbedy. In 1859 he built the store now occupied by Cornwell & Son for a hardware store, and took his brother in as partner. He was deputy postmaster under postmaster Yale, and postmaster four years under President Johnson's administration. He went out of the mercantile business in 1870, and has since devoted the most of his attention to the collection business and the official duties of justice of the peace, which position he has filled almost continuously for the past twenty years. Mr. Norton has been thrice married, his first wife being a Miss Clara Church, of Castile, New York, by whom he had two children, namely, Clarabelle (Mrs. E. A. Pomeroy), of Plainview, and Edith. In 1864 Miss Sarah Sanchfield became his second wife, by whom he had one child, Grant, a student in the Rochester Commercial School.

Norton, A. B. W., (page 1279 ~ 2nd of 2 biographies), known in Plainview and country around as Squire Norton, from his protracted service as justice of the peace, was born October 30, 1818, in the town of Guilford, Chenango county, of Connecticut parents, being descended from grandparents of old revolutionary fame. He enjoyed the privileges of a common school education, and started in business at the age of fourteen years. At Richford, Tioga county, New York, in the county clerks's office, he commenced assisting his former teacher in transcribing the records. Following this he experienced a series of changes for ten years, and then went to Brooklyn, New York, as clerk in the employ of Freeman & Co., and from there, after a short term, to Sussex county, New Jersey, at the solicitation of his uncle, to spend Christmas. In 1846 he was for a time in Pleasant Valley, in the same state, and then through the instrumentality of his friend Fisher, a New York bookkeeper, when clerking in that city. In 1847 he, with his brother, settled in Woodstock, McHenry county, Illinois, and continued here in business for ten years. On July 4, 1857, he came, in company with Wm. Kimberly, to Plainview, Wabasha county, Minnesota, and settled on a quarter-section (160) acres of land, in what is known as section 6. His two children, daughters by his wife whom he lost in Woodstock, followed him about a year after, and one is now keeping house for her father, and the other, married to E. A. Pomeroy, resides opposite on property presented to her by the judge. In 1860 Mr. Norton was elected as town clerk against William Stone, and he immediately set about straightening the records. In 1859 he built the first substantial building in the village, that now occupied as a hardware store by C. C. Corner & Son, who purchased from one Hunt on the corner of Broadway and Washington street. In 1868, by appointment of the board of supervisors, he again served as town clerk and as justice of the peace, was elected next year, which office he has held with credit to the present time. During Lincoln's administration, by Postmaster-General Blair, he was appointed postmaster of Plainview, Minnesota, April 18, 1864, and continued to hold the position until 1868. Prior to this he was for some time deputy-postmaster. The squire is a man much liked for his impartial administration of justice and general square dealing.

Revolutionary War
War of Rebellion (Civil War)
Norton, John Bacon, (page 1335), is one of the few persons who can go through a life of many reverses without becoming soured in disposition, and he deservedly enjoys the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. He is the grandson of a Revolutionary soldier, and both his parents - Shirley and Nancy (Parmley) Norton - were natives of Vermont. He was born in the town of Waybridge, Addison county, that State, May 20, 1821. When he was but nine years old his people removed to New York, and he grew up there on a farm. The common school furnished his only education, save only such as contact with the world supplies. When nearly grown to maturity he began to appreciate the need of education, and spent several winters in applying himself to study, at the same time earning his board by doing chores for farmers. He graduated from a frame school house in Western New York and went to New York city at twenty. Here he shipped before the mast on a sailing vessel at ten dollars a month. When he retired after ten years of ocean life, he was commander of a ship at $100 a month. He made voyages to the West Indies, to several ports of Europe, and South America. In 1851 he went to California by way of Cape Horn, and returned the same way next year, satisfied to give up mining. In 1852 he went to Appleton, Wis., and took up land which he tilled seven years. Here died in 1858, the partner of his joys and sorrows - Sarah, nee McKnight - to whom he was wedded in 1846, in Brooklyn, New York. Mrs. Norton left six children, of whom all save the eldest, Sarah J., and still living, as follows: Emeline Ada (Mrs. John Snow), in Dakota; Martin S., Lodi, California; Maria Louise (Mrs. W. P. Thayer), Lyon, Minnesota; John B., Wesleyan Methodist clergyman, Dow City, Iowa; Electa E. (Mrs. Robert Butchers), Hart, Winona county. Capt. Norton became a resident of Minnesota in 1859, and after spending a year in Hart township, bought a farm in Warren, Winona county. Thence he removed to Viola, in Olmsted county, in 1876, and in the spring of 1883 to Elgin, where he purchased a house and lot. In March, 1884, he went into the Eureka Hotel, Elgin, where he is now caring for the comfort of a houseful of guests. Capt. Norton has filled many positions of trust and responsibility. He is now town clerk and justice of the peace for Elgin, and has served in similar capacities, and as town supervisor many terms elsewhere. In the fall of 1873 he was elected from Winona county as a member of the XVII Legislature, and served at the session of the following winter. He has always been active in fostering schools, and has served almost continuously as a school officer. He is a conservative Democrat, and his religious tenets are those of the Baptist Church. On the 27th of February, 1864, he enlisted as a recruit in the Seventh Minnesota regiment, Company B, and served till August 17, 1865. He participated in the battles of Tupalo, Nashville, and the Spanish Forts, at Mobile, and in several hard marches. In 1861 Capt. Norton married Sarah Inez Gray, who bore him four children. Of these only the eldest and youngest survive. Inez Augusta is the wife of Judson Hutchinson and resides at Sparta, Wis. Evan Oscar is at home. William Bradford and Edith Viola died of small-pox in Warren.

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