Charles L. Norton, justice of the peace at Cherokee and one of the well known and old-time citizens of Crawford county, was born in Allegany county, New York, August 16, 1839. During his lifetime of sixty-five years he has had a varied yet successful career, having been a farmer, soldier and public official, and having shown himself worthy of the esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens in whatever relation of life he has been placed.
He was the son of Leonard Norton, also a native of New York state and a descendant of ancestors who, in the early history of the country, crossed the Atlantic and became pioneer settlers on Martha's Vineyard. The mother, Margaret (Carr) Norton, was the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier, who was captured at the historic Wyoming Massacre and held captive by the Indians for seven years. Leonard Norton died at the age of eighty-two, and his wife at the age of seventy-three. They were farmers, and people of the highest integrity and honor.
Mr. Norton, being reared in New York to the age of eighteen, early learned the trade of plasterer and mason, and was also a first-class general mechanic, and he followed his trade for years. The family came out to Knox county, Missouri, in 1858, and he was there at the time the Civil war broke out. He enlisted at Edina, in Knox county, in Company D, Twenty-first Missouri Infantry, under Captain Nick Murrow and Colonel Dave Moore. Going into camp at Athens, Missouri, they were then sent to Hannibal, and thence to Pittsburg Landing and took part in the battle of Shiloh and were under Grant at Corinth; also at Columbus, Kentucky, at Memphis, on the Meridian raid under Sherman, and thence back to Memphis. In 1863 he went home on a furlough as a veteran and then went back to the front again. He was in numerous operations, being at Tupelo, Holly Springs, and Oxford, Mississippi; was then sent to Memphis, to Cairo, and on to St. Louis; fought Generals Price and Marmaduke in Missouri and Arkansas; was at Harrisonville, Pleasant Hill and Lexington, Missouri, and at numerous other campaigning points throughout the Mississippi valley, it is estimated that the regiment, in marches, boat and railroad travel, made fourteen thousand miles during its active service, as it was almost constantly on the move and the endurance of its hardened veterans was tested to the utmost. Mr. Norton was promoted first to orderly sergeant and then to first lieutenant of his company, and came out of the war with a gallant and enviable record in all departments of his service. After the war he was a resident of McDonough county, Illinois, until 1880, since which year he has been a resident of Crawford county. He is a stanch Republican. He has served as justice of the peace for some years, and his judicial rulings have been made with utmost impartiality and on the firmest basis of equity, so that he has dignified his office and made it as worthy of honor and consideration as the higher courts. He is frank and genial as a business man and citizen, and has gained a large acquaintance in the county and has many warm friends.
Mr. Norton was first married in Missouri, to Miss C. Fowler, a daughter of R. T. Fowler of Ohio. She died in Missouri, leaving two children, Gertie Lessenbee, of Cherokee, and Alzena, of California. In 1882 Mr. Norton married Rachel Clugstat, a native of McDonough county, Illinois, and a daughter of Robert and Isabel Clugstat, of that state. They are the parents of two children, Jessie Davis, of Cherokee, and Ada, at home.Pages 589-591 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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