Historical records matching Thomas Norton
About Thomas Norton
Thomas Norton, Miller of Guilford, Connecticut, was baptized 15 Sep 1609 in Streatley, Bedfordshire, England the son of author Robert Norton (1575-1634) and his wife Anne Hare (or Heare).      
On 5 May 1631 in Shelton, Bedfordshire, England Thomas Norton married Grace Wells.       Many early attempts were made to collect and construct the pedigree of the Norton families of Salem, Ipswich and Guilford including the 1841 pedigree written by Lewis M Norton. Albert B Norton proposed that George Norton of Salem my have been the son of Thomas Norton of Guilford in 1856 link This theory led early researchers to search for the origins of a Thomas Norton of Guilford who was much older than was supported by the evidence. He was at one point misidentified as the Thomas Norton of Oakley, Surry, England. This also led to the erroneous theory that Thomas Norton of Guilford might have been born about 1595 to William Norton and his second wife Dionisia Cholmeley of Sharpenhoe. But this was later disproved. The work of R. D. Smith and Bernard C Steiner published in 1900 dismissed this notion. Virkus was the first to publish baptism records of a Thomas Norton son of Robert and Anne Hare (or Heare) bp 15 Sep 1609 in Streatly, Bedfordshire, England. This was the correct Thomas Norton of Guilford. Although Virkus erroneously suggested that George Norton of Salem was born after this date to the same family but this was inconsistent with the age of George of Salem. However, this gave genealogists clues about the English origins of Thomas Norton, Miller of Guilford. In 1897 Ellliot Stone published in NEHGR the marriage record of a Thomas Norton and Grace Wells on 5 May 1631 in Shelton, Bedfordshire, England which he found in Genealogia Bedfordiensis and posited this was the immigrant to Guilford. He also included the baptism records of his first two children from the nearby parish of Dean.  Henry Ensign Rockwell in 1873 published a manuscript written by the grandson of Thomas Norton in 1731 naming his wife as Grace Wells thus proving Stone's thesis correct. In 1938 Herbt F Seversmith published in TAG both Stone's and Rockwell's works demonstrating that two completely unrelated works indicated the origins of this family.  Taken together this evidence proves that Thomas Norton, Miller of Guilford, Connecticut, was the same man as the Thomas Norton baptized 15 Sep 1609 in Streatley, Bedfordshire, England the son of author Robert Norton (1575-1634) and his wife Anne Hare (or Heare) who married Grace Wells.
In 1978 Douglas Richardson examined the parish records which included the baptism records for three of their children: Grace, John and Thomas. In 1980 the will of his wife's grandfather, William Wells, was discovered and published by Douglas Richardson in TAG. The will was probated in Nether Dean (i.e. lower Dean), Bedfordshire, England in 1615. In it he names his wife Grace and four children: John Wells (the father of Grace Wells), Robert Wells Thomas Wells and a daughter Elizabeth Totnall. He named Robert's son Daniel. He names John Wells' children John, Prudence and Grace. He also names three young unmarried girls: Martha, Sarah, Alice and Mary Godfrey.
Children of Thomas Norton and Grace Wells, the first three were baptized at Dean, Bedfordshire, England not far from Shelton where they were married:
- GRACE, bp 13 Jan 1632/3 in Dean, Bedfordshire, England, m. William Seward of Guilford, April 2, 1651. (See REGISTER, July, 1898, vol. lii. p. 323.)
- JOHN, bp 15 FEB 1634 in Dean, Bedfordshire, England, d. March 5, 1704 in Guilford, New Haven, Connecticut, married first to Hannah Stone and second to Elizabeth Hubbard.
- THOMAS, bp 6 Aug 1637 in Dean, Bedfordshire, England, d. about 1713 in Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Elizabeth Mason.
- MARY, b. say 1639 probably in Guilford, Connecticut; m. Dea. Samuel Rockwell of Windsor, April 1658.
- ANNE b. say 1640 probably in Guilford, Connecticut, m. John Warner of Saybrook and Hartford, 1649.
- ABIGAIL, b. say 1642 probably in Guilford, Connecticut; m. Ananias Tryon of Killingworth, Aug. 6, 1667.
He left from Dean, Bedfordshire, England in 1639 intending to found Guildford.    He died on 16 May 1648 in Guilford, New Haven, Connecticut.   
Parish records cited in this biography
Shelton parish record:
- 5 May 1631 Thos. NORTON & Grace WELLS married
Dean, Bedfordshire parish records:
- 1595 Oct 1 Francis WELLES & Brigit NEALE married.
- 1607 Dec 10 Grace daughter of Robert WELLES christened.
- 1607 Dec 20 Grace daughter of Robert WELLES buried .
- 1615 Apr 18 William WELLES buried.
- 1632/3 Jan 13 Grace daughter of Thomas NORTON christened .
- 1634/5 Feb 15 John son of Thomas NORTON christened .
- 1637 Aug 6 Thomas son of Thomas & Grace NORTON christened.
Will of William Wells
The following is a reading of the will of Thomas Norton's wife's grandfather William Wells of Nether Deane, prepared from a copy of the original on file at the Bedfordshire Record Office:
- The last will and Testament of William Wells of Nether Deane in the Countie of Bedford being in pfect memory thankes be unto god, I do commit my soule unto god in the name and mediacon of Jesus Christ my Saviour who have made by his death and sufrings a full satisfaction for all my sins, and also I doe comit my body to the erth from whence it was taken. Imprimis my will is that John Wells and Robert Wells my two sons shall joyntly together be my full executors
- Item I doe give unto my eldest sonne Thomas Wells five pounds
- Item .I doe give unto the same Thomas Wells my eldest sonne on[e] score of Wethers after sheredaye and that they be shered
- Item I do give unto the same Thomas Wells my sonne my best brass pott All which is to be payed within six monthese after the buryall of the aforesayd William Wells
- Item I doe give to Elizabeth Totnall my daughter five pounds allso to be payed within the same time aforesayd
- Item I doe give to Martha Godfry three pounds
- Item I doe give to Mary Godfry three pounds [both] to be payd within on[e] year after my burial!
- Item I doe give to Sarah Godfry twelve pounds
- Item I doe give to Alce Godfry twelve pounds to be payed to the sayd Sarah and Alce at the day of theyr marriage and if it doe please god that any of these foure sisters do depart this life be fore the time that these Legasies should be payed then it is. to remayne still unto my executors provided also that the sayd Sarah and Alce shall not match in mariage without the councell and advice of the afor sayed executors but if they will not be ruled by them in ther marching it shall be lawfull for them to detayne and hold that porcion or legasie geven to them to the proper use of the aforsayd executors
- Item I doe give to Daniell Wells sonne to Robert Wells thyrtyr pounds to be payed within three yeares after my death and if he die before he be married his father shall injoy the sayde legasie
- Item I doe give to John Wells my sonn John Wells his sonne ten pounds
- Item I doe give to the same John Wells a browne Bullocke
- Item I doe give to Prudence Wells daughter of my sonne John Wells ten pounds and my second Brase pott
- Item I doe give to Grace Wells daughter to John Wells ten pounds also I doe give unto her my second Kettle which sayed sotmns of money shall be payed to them within three yeares after my death And if it please god to take any of these thre brother or sisters awaye by death before they be maried the porsion of the diseased shall be equally devided betwixt the other two and if two of them doe die theyr porsions shall remayne to the third
- Item I doe give unto Grace Wells my wife ten pounds a yeare during her life to be payed unto her by my executors at two termes in the yeare that is to saye five pounds at Saint 11ichaell tharkangell and five pounds at the Lady daye
- Item I doe give to her alsoe that Bedd she useth to lie in and two payre of sheets and fether bed and al other things belonging ther unto and all the pewter belonging to my house
- Item I doe give unto the poore of Nether Deane twenty shillings to be devided among them with in two monthes after my death and to be payed to Robert King and ffrancis Ostler to be devided acording to theyer discresion All things which are here unbequeathed and not given awaye shall remayne unto my executors wholly
- William Wells
- Francis Ostler, Robert Kinge, Probated 24 June 1615
Thomas Norton was among 25 planters who signed a Covenant just before they set sail from Boston, Mass. to start a new colony in Connecticut:  Each of the 25 heads of households signed this document with their own hand - very remarkable for the times.
- We, whose names are hereunder written, intending by God's gracious permission, to plant ourselves in New England, and if it may be, the Southerly part, about Quinnipisae*:--
- We do faithfully promise, each to each, for ourselves and families, and those that belong to us; -- that we will, the Lord assisting us, sit down and join ourselves together in one entire plantation: -- and to be helpful each to the other in any common work, according to every man's ability, and as need shall require: -- and we promise not to desist or leave each other on the plantation but with the consent of the rest, or the greater part of the Company who have entered into this engagement.
- As for gathering together in a Church, and the choice of the officers and members to be joined together in that way, we do refer ourselves until such time as it shall pleas God to settle us in our plantation.
- In witness whereof, we subscribe our hands this first day of June, 1639.
Roots back to the Norman Conquest?
From "A gathering of the families of Ezra Rockwell, SR 1997"
- From the time of the Norman conquest to the arrival of Thomas Norton in Galford, there were fourteen generations of his ancestors in England. It is also stated that Nortons trace there ancestry back to the Lord of Norville, who came over into England from France with William the Conqueror, in the year 1260, and he was his constable.
- [From the Find A Grave page for Thomas Norton http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Norton&GSfn=Thomas&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=d&GRid=34125543&df=all&]
Q and A
- Was he born in Sharpenhoe? Luton? No , he was born in Streatley, Bedfordshire, England.
- Was he in Ockley, Surrey? No that was a different person by the same name that was conflated with him in earlier research see above.
- Where is parents William & Dionesia (Chomley) Norton? No that was a different person by the same name that was conflated with him in earlier research see above. He was the son of Robert Norton and Grace Wells.
Biography and source by Roland Henry Baker, III
- 1. ↑ 1.0 1.1 Herbert F Seversmith, "George Norton of Salem, Massachusetts Part III," in The American Genealogist: New England Weld Family, (New Haven, Conn.: D.L. Jacobus, 1939) Vol 16 p 101-115 
- 2. ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Douglas Richardson, "English Origins of Thomas and Grace Norton," The American Genealogist: New England Weld Family, (New Haven, Conn.: D.L. Jacobus, Jan 1978) Vol 54 p 179 – 180 link
- 3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Douglas Richardson, "The Ancestry of Grace (Wells) Norton of Guilford," in The American Genealogist: New England Weld Family, (New Haven, Conn.: D.L. Jacobus, 1980) Vol 56 p 170 – 172 link
- 4. ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Gary Boyd Roberts, “The Descendants of Thomas Norton of Guilford Conn.,” in Genealogies of Connecticut Families Vol II (Boston, MA: NEHGR 1983) p 664-665
- 5. ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 R. D. Smith and Bernard C Steiner, "Descendants of Thomas Norton of Guilford, Conn.," in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston, MA: NEHGS, 1900) Vol 54 p 269-76
- 6. ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Walter Whittlesey Norton, Some descendants of John Norton of Branford, 1622-1709, with notes and dates of other emigrant Nortons, etc. (Lakeville, Conn., The Journal press, 1909 p 33 link
- 7. ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Alvan Talcott and Jacquelyn Ricker, Families of Early Guilford, Connecticut, Vol 2 (Connecticut Society of Genealogists, Inc. and New Haven Colony Historical Society, 1984) p 856
- 8. ↑ Clarance Almon Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700 (Boston, Massachusetts: New England Historic Genealogical Society, April 2011) Vol 2 p 1103 link Torrey 2:1103 ("NORTON, Thomas (1609-1648) & Grace [WELLS], m/2 Francis BUSHNELL; ?5 May 1631; Guilford, CT"} TAG 15:203; NYGBR 2:102; Nash Anc. 158; Rockwell 100, 149; Bradley (1879) 12; Reg. 51:221, 54:269; Tuttle 677; Bushnell (1945) 30}
- 9. ↑ Lewis M Norton "The Norton Family," In The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston, MA: NEHGS, 1859) Vol 13 p 225 published a pedigree written by Lewis M Norton of Goshen, CT in 1841, the original in possession of Charles Eliot Norton of Cambridge, MA
- 10. ↑ W. H. Whitmore, Descendants and Ancestors of Charles Norton of Guilford, Connecticut, (Washington D.C., brochure, 1856) p 6
- 11. ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Herbert F Seversmith, "George Norton of Salem, Massachusetts," in The American Genealogist: New England Weld Family, (New Haven, Conn.: D.L. Jacobus, 1938) Vol 15 p 193-207 (see p 201-203) See also Vol 16:101-115 link
- 12. ↑ Virkus, The abridged compendium of American genealogy; first families of America; a genealogical encyclopedia of the United States, edited by Frederick A. Virkus under direction of Albert Nelson Marquis... (Chicago: A.N. Marquis & company, 1925) Vol 5 p 420 link
- 13. ↑ Elliot Stone, Queries, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston, MA: NEHGS, 1897) Vol 51 p 221
- 14. ↑ Henry Ensign Rockwell, The Rockwell Family in America (Boston, Rockwell & Churchill, 1873) p 190, 192 link
- 15. ↑ Francis Williams Rockwell, The Rockwell Family in American (Pittsfield, Mass., 1924) p 100, 149
- 16. ↑ Robert Charles Anderson. The Great Migration Directory: Immigrants to New England, 1620–1640 p 242 (Boston, Massachusetts. New England Historic and Genealogical Society. 2015)
- 17. ↑ 17.0 17.1 Bernard Christian Steiner, A history of the plantation of Menunkatuck and of the original town of Guilford, Connecticut : comprising the present towns of Guilford and Madison (Baltimore : Steiner, 1897) p 25 link
- Nash, Elizabeth Todd, Fifty Puritan Ancestors, 1628–1660 (New Haven: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1902) p 158
- The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vols. 1+ (New York: New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1870+) 2:102
- Lloyd, Abigail Parkman, Genealogy: Family of Aaron and Sarah Bradley of Guilford, Conn. (Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1879) p 12
- Tuttle, George Frederick, The Descendants of William and Elizabeth Tuttle, Who Came from Old to New England in 1635, and Settled in New Haven in 1639, with Numerous Biographical Notes and Sketches p 667
- Bushnell, George Eleazor, Bushnell Family Genealogy: Ancestry and Posterity of Francis Bushnell, 1580 to 1646, of Horsham, England and Guilford, Conn. (Nashville, Tenn., 1945) p 30
Thomas Norton's Timeline
September 15, 1609
Sharpenhoe, Bedfordshire, England
September 15, 1609
Shelton, Bedfordshire, England
September 15, 1609
Shelton, Bedfordshire, England
September 15, 1609
September 15, 1609
Shelton, Bedfordshire, England
Dean, Bedfordshire , England
June 13, 1627
Dean, Bedfordshire, England
May 7, 1630
Deans, Bedfordshire, England