Sunday, February 2, 2014

52 Ancestors: #5 Four Generations (Almost) of February Nortons

While it was hard to find January birthdays in our family tree, February is another story.  This week we have three of four generations born within a day of each other!

It all started with

William Wellington Norton

William Wellington Norton was born 16 February 1881 in Elmira, New York.  He is the paternal grandfather of my husband, Phil.  He taught in schools in New York before moving west.  I found record of him both at the University of Nebraska (1898) and thence to Minneapolis where he attended the University of Minnesota.  While there he directed a Chatutauqua Orchestra and Band that traveled throughout the midwest.  This picture is taken from a flyer, dated 1909, I found in the University of Iowa archives,  It says that he directed the University of Minnesota Glee Club for three seasons.  Praise is recorded from Kansas to South Dakota.  He certainly got around!

While in Minnesota, he must have met his wife, Jennie Belle Lewis, whom he married in 1915. I have blogged both about the wedding here and Jennie Belle here.  According to his obituary in the Phi Kappa Psi journals, he moved to Flint in 1921, teaching and conducting until his retirement in 1948.  During the summer months he taught music at the national music camp at Interlochen, Michigan.

After Jennie Belle Lewis' death in 1944, W.W. remarried and moved to California around 1948.  He died in Stockton CA on 24 October 1960.  Here is a later in life photo of Dr William Wellington Norton.

While residing in Flint, William and Jennie Belle had five children.  The youngest of these, Clinton Edward Norton, was born on his father's 42nd birthday, February 16, 1923!  Clint is my husband's father and inherited Daddo's (their nickname for William) musical talents. I love this photo of Clint.  I think he must be 8 to 10 years old.

World War II broke out while Clint was still a young man and he served in the Air Corps of the US Army (there was no Air Force at that time).  It was during his service that his mother passed and he flew a plane up to Flint to attend the funeral.  Here's another great photo of Clint. Don't you love a man in uniform?

Like his father, Clint was well educated (a Norton tradition!) choosing the University of Rochester.  I find it interesting that he returned to the New York area.  Clint's grandfather, Asahel Wellington Norton, has a degree from the University of Rochester.  Clint also used his schooling to find a wife as he met Doris Jennie Palmer at Rochester.  They married in 1951.  Clint's work as an administrator of performing arts centers took them all over, including stops in Fredonia, New York, Akron, Ohio and Austin TX.  He died in Austin on 9 February 2008, just a week shy of his 85th birthday.

The next generation of Nortons just missed having a February birthday by less than 24 hours.  Clint's youngest son, Christopher Scott Norton, was born on January 31st.  I guess my brother-in-law, Chris, just couldn't wait for the new month.  He did inherit the family musical talents and also attended the University of Rochester, studying at the Eastman School of Music. Like his father, he, too, found a bride at the university.  Chris and Leslie Boggs Norton married in 1983 and have two beautiful daughters. Chris is a professor of music and the director of percussion studies at Belmont University in Nashville TN. He has traveled even more extensively than his grandfather, W.W., both performing and directing. See if you spot the family resemblance.

After (barely) skipping a generation, another February Norton appeared.  Phillip Robert Norton, my son and William's great-grandson, was born on February 19 - a
three days after William's and Clint's birthdays (Thanks, Phillip, for correcting me). Though he does not get paid for his musical talents, we enjoy his spontaneous lyrics and his skill on Rock Band!  Phil graduated from National Louis University with a degree in information systems. He works as a systems analyst and is the best big brother that four younger sisters could want.  I think the Norton look continues with him.

Happy Birthday to all these amazing Norton Men!


  1. The musical talent tradition is very interesting! Grandpa Clint also attended Interlochen, but did he ever teach there as well?

  2. I believe 19-16 = 3

    The non-musical, math oriented Norton