Lake County Ohio GenWeb
As published in the Alumni Record, Painesville High School, Painesville, Ohio
Compiled and Published by the Painesville High School Alumni Association in 1925
Transcribed by Linda Jeffery, November 2004.
Addie Nye Norton, who bears the unique distinction of being the first woman in the State of Ohio to be elected to the important office of Probate Judge, is a member of the Class of 1901. The dreaming Class Prophet doubtless caught a vision in the misty future of the figure of Addie Nye occupying the proud position of teacher in a public school, because of her natural sympathetic interest in children and the fact that she was numbered among the honor scholarship group of that brilliant class, with an average grade of 97 per cent. In September following graduation, she was enrolled in the Painesville City Normal School, receiving her second diploma at the close of that year, equipped with a certificate to teach school. She was not destined to make use of this, however, for in the following year, 1903, the newly elected Probate Judge, Clark H. Nye, selected her for his assistant. She has been associated with this office ever since, covering a period of nearly twenty-two years.
On June 27, 1917, she became the wife of Nelson D. Norton, of Perry, and withdrew from the Probate Office for a short time, only to be called back to assist in the duties there.
In 1920, Judge Clark H. Nye decided to retire from the office he had long so ably filled, and Mrs. Norton became his successor and is now serving her second term in that office. It may be remembered that in the year of 1920, the elective franchise was given to women, but not until after the party primaries. A Painesville attorney had been nominated on the Republican ticket for Probate Judge. Then, before the November election, the nineteenth amendment became effective. A group of citizens, composed of both men and women, recognizing the unusual qualifications of Mrs. Norton, because of natural executive ability, long experience and familiarity with the duties of this office and her proven efficiency, by petition placed her in nomination on an Independent ticket. The candidacy of a woman for office was something unheard of, but so great was the popularity of Mrs. Norton, that when the vote was announced in November, she had carried all but two precincts in the County.
The election attracted attention all over Ohio, for Judge Norton not only was the first woman to hold this office in the State, but she held this distinction until three years later when a woman in one of the Southern Counties was appointed to fill a vacancy. At present, women preside over the Probate Court in four of the eighty-eight counties.
The office of Probate Judge has rapidly expended its functions in recent years, four assistants being kept busy where not many years ago but one was necessary. Judge Norton has made an enviable record in administering the office, not only in the duties that naturally adhere to it, such as the probating of wills, settlement of estates, appointment of guardians and the like, but in the enforcement of law, for this Court has criminal jurisdiction. Many bootleggers and other law violators know this to their sorrow. She has a keen sense of justice and adds to this the necessary courage. She knows, too, how to temper justice with mercy, when there is occasion for it. Her sympathetic interest in the welfare of homeless and unfortunate children has resulted in many finding good homes instead of being confined in reform schools.
Judge Norton is, as always, enthusiastic for her alma mater, P.H.S.
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Last updated 11 Nov 2004
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