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Mary Dickinson (Norris)

Birthplace: Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA
Death: July 1803 (62-63)
Wilmington New Castle County Delaware, USA
Place of Burial: Friends Meeting House Burial Ground Wilmington New Castle County Delaware, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Isaac Norris, Jr and Sarah Norris
Wife of Signer of the US Constitution, Pres. of Pennsylvania, Pres. of Delaware John Dickinson
Mother of Sam Dickenson and Maria Logan

Managed by: Alissa Ann Smith
Last Updated:

About Mary Dickinson


Find A Grave Memorial# 61337487;

Mary Norris Dickinson

  • Birth: Jul. 19, 1740 Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Death: Jul., 1803 Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, USA
  • Daughter of Isaac Norris and Sarah Logan
  • Married July 19, 1770 Maryland LDs record
  • Family links:
    • Spouse: John Dickinson (1732 - 1808)
  • Burial: Friends Meeting House Burial Ground Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, USA

Created by: P Fazzini; Record added: Nov 09, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 61337487



Mary "Polly" Norris, (17 Jul 1740 – 23 Jul 1803)

  • She was the daughter of Sarah Logan Norris and Isaac Norris II, a wealthy merchant, a powerful leader of the Quaker party and the Speaker of the Pennsylvania General Assembly for many years.
    • Sarah Logan Norris was the eldest daughter of William Penn’s secretary, James Logan a colonial statesman.
    • Sarah Norris died in 1744 after the birth of daughter, Sarah, known as Sally to the family.
  • Polly and Sally grew up under the strict and loving care of their father.
  • She was the sole surviving child of Sarah Logan and Isaac Norris II as Sally died of smallpox.
  • Husband: John Dickinson (1732-1808)—of Delaware
  • Married on 19 July 1770.
    • The two were married in secret, as Dickinson did not want to associate with the Society of Friends, a Quaker institution that the Norris family was associated with.
    • While both were raised as Quakers, they married in a civil ceremony, rather than in the Quaker Meeting, because of objections they had to certain of its tenets, including prohibitions on defending oneself if attacked.
    • This caused controversy in her extended family.
    • They set up housekeeping at Fairhill, the Norris estate near Germantown, Pennsylvania.
  • Together they had five children, three of whom died in infancy.
  • She was an accomplished reader, avid correspondent, and an astute gardener.
  • She was the most amiable and desirable heiress in the Quaker city of Philadelphia in 1769.
  • Polly was the mistress of Fair Hill, which was built by her grandfather Norris on 530 acres in the Northern Liberties.
  • Although education was not considered important for girls in those days, the sisters had the advantage of the large, well-selected Norris library begun by their scholarly grandfather.
    • They were very likely tutored in the Quaker religion, history, literature, horticulture, and possibly Latin and music by their father, who was also a scholar.
  • She was a gracious hostess and enjoyed a wide acquaintance with leaders of the colonial period, including Benjamin Franklin and John Dickinson.
  • A cousin wrote that Mary “had a very sweet and benevolent expression of countenance, a solid judgment, good sense, a most affectionate disposition, the tenderest sensibility of heart, and elevated piety.”
  • She was an early American land and estate owner and manager.
  • She is known for her ownership of one of the largest libraries in the American colonies, her participation in political thought of the time, and her presence in or near events of the Constitutional Convention, including her marriage to Founding Father John Dickinson, one of the early drafters of the Constitution and one of its signers on behalf of the colony of Delaware.
    • They bequeathed much of their combined library, then named John and Mary’s College, now Dickinson College the first college founded in the new US.
  • Polly died on July 23, 1803 in Wilmington, Delaware.
    • She is buried in Friends Meeting House Burial Ground in Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware
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Mary Dickinson's Timeline

July 19, 1740
Philadelphia Philadelphia County Pennsylvania, USA
July 1803
Age 62
Wilmington New Castle County Delaware, USA
July 1803
Age 62
Friends Meeting House Burial Ground Wilmington New Castle County Delaware, USA