Antique appraisal fair set for May 23

Published 10:02 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sunday, May 23 will be the day for our appraisal fair at the Lawrence County Historical Museum, Sixth and Adams streets.

There will be a special appraiser to tell you what each item is worth. This is always exciting and watching others is interesting. Come one, come all and bring your collectibles and antiques. It starts at 1 p.m.

There have been inquiries about the Tower House since our friend and fellow worker at the museum, Bob Price, passed away. At this time I hear it is going to be sold so I did some research for you.

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The Norton family lived at that house at 720 Fourth St.

Frederick Drake Norton was born May 13, 1831 in Richmond, Va.

He went to Pennsylvania after the death of his father. He was very young and very early on, he was thrown into his own resources. So at the age of nine, he began to work at a nail factory.

When he was 15 years old, he went to Pittsburgh where his mother was living. He worked there until he was 15. Frederick came to Ironton with his brothers, Col. F.M. and Capt.

George W. Norton and 12 other people. They bought the old Star Nail Mill, whose name was changed to Belfont Iron Works Co. Here he held his position of president until 1885.

While in Pittsburg he married Nancy Williamson on Nov. 11, 1845 and when they came to this area they bought the Means farm at Hanging Rock. They had four sons. Two died, leaving Jesse R. and Howard.

Mr. Norton was highly regarded. He was modest and possessed a native intelligence that made him an interesting man. In 1860 he was a delegate to the National Convention that nominated Lincoln for the presidency.

He died in his 71st year, leaving Mrs. Norton a widow.

While running the Star Nail Mill, Norton had an employee who lost his hearing. Mrs. Norton saw the talent this employee had and furnished him with art supplies.

He painted a portrait of her and it now hangs in the dining room at the museum. It was donated to the historical society by Roland Norton Scott of Seattle, Wash. The artist, Joseph Henry Sharp, went out west and became known for his artwork of Indians.

Mrs. Norton died in 1904 and she was buried beside her husband in Woodland Cemetery. One of their two sons became an attorney and the other a pharmacist.

The Tower House was built in 1870 and is of the Queen Anne Style. It has slate sidewalks and carriage steps.

The lawn, at the time, went out as far as the river. Nancy Norton bought the property from the Kelly Addition and they later built the house.

Bob Price was its most recent owner. He passed away before Christmas 2008.

Historical fact: 1788 — New York became the 11th state in the union. 1929 — Wall Street panics as a downturn quickly leads to a stock market crash.