Looking back on the year

Published 10:16 pm Saturday, December 11, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow! It sure didn’t affect the Historical Church Walk this past Saturday evening. The weather was terrible but the crowd was good and the refreshments were especially tasty. So another walk has gone by.

As we think back to the activities of this past season we see both teas were very successful, the Historical Cemetery Walk was very crowded and everyone seemed to be very receptive. Now we are coming to the end and we are looking forward to Santa Claus coming to see us at the museum on the last day we are open, which will be Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m.

Our Christmas party, where every member and worker of the society is invited, will be Thursday at the Melina Cucina Italian Restaurant on South Second Street at 6 p.m. Each person is responsible for their dinner.

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The annual meeting will be Dec. 18, Saturday, at the museum. At that time election will be held for trustees for the coming year.

To the workers of each activity, we thank them for the work and time they have devoted to make it successful.

The museum is very pretty and it has been a pleasure to have you come in and see the different and new things we have been fortunate to obtain. In the Nannie Kelly Wright room you can find a very scarce picture of Queen Elizabeth.

In the upstairs there is the “Toy Room” begun with a doll house that was a replica of a mansion that was donated to us by Jean Kinley’s family.

Please come by and view these special things.

In the dining room of the museum is a picture of Nancy Williamson Norton. Here is some history of this family.

Historical Fact:

Frederick Drake Norton was born at Richmond, Va., in 1821 and died in his 71st year. When he was a child, he came to Pennsylvania, and on account of the death of his father, was early thrown on his own resources.

He began, when only 9 years old, to work in a nail factory in Phoenixville, Pa. He traveled and worked in Pittsburgh, Rapid Forge, Ross County where he ran a one machine nail mill with water power, thence to Norriston, Pa., Brownsville, Pa., and Wheeling, W.Va., at which latter place he became one of the founders of the Belmont mill, he managed for several years.

This was one of the largest establishments then in the country. In 1863, he came to Ironton with his brothers, Col. E.M. and Capt. George W. Norton and 12 others bought the old Star nail mill, which name they changed to Belfont Iron Works. He was manager of the mill. He bought the Means farm at Hanging Rock.

He continued to work in other furnaces and he had the position of president of the Belfont Iron Works Co., which position he held until 1885, since which time he has retired from active business.

He married Nov. 11, 1845, at Pittsburgh, to Miss Nancy Williamson. They had four children, all boys, two of whom died in infancy. The other two were Jesse R. and Howard Norton, two esteemed and popular young men whom everybody knew. Mrs. Norton survived her husband until 1904.

During their marriage they built the “Tower House” on South Fourth Street, in the Kelley Addition of Ironton. Her portrait was painted by Joseph Henry Sharp, who grew up in Ironton, became a well-known painter in the West, and was world famous for his portraits of Indians. The picture was donated by Mrs. Norton’s grandson, Roland Norton Scott, who lived in Oregon but is now deceased.

In the early days of the war, Mr. Norton lived at Wheeling and was a pronounced a union man.

In 1860, he was a delegate to the national convention that nominated Lincoln to the presidency. In Ironton, when the water works was built in 1869, he was placed on the Board of Trustees.

He was a man of tender heart, inclined to overlook the failings of others and administer to their comfort. His heart was always warm toward others and many an unfortunate one has reason to bless his memory.

(Thursday, Dec. 17, 1891, in The Ironton Registrar, this account of the “Death of F. D. Norton” can be found.)

Naomi Deer, LCHS