MAJOR P. L. NORTON. As one of the most popular citizens of Susquehanna count v, the subject of this sketch, a leading resident of Lanesboro, deserves special mention in this volume. His prominence in business life gives evidence of his ability and enterprise, and many of the best buildings in his section were built under his direction and furnish lasting monuments of his skill. Perhaps the most interesting chapter in his long and active life is the story of his gallant services in the Civil war, where he rose from the rank of private to that of major, being promoted through successive grades for his courageous conduct in the field. lie was in eighteen hard-fought battles, and on two occasions was personally complimented by General Warren [&] Crawford for his brave conduct and soldierly bearing.
The Major was born June 9, 1821, at Spafford, Onondaga Co., N. Y., and comes of good Colonial ancestry in both paternal and maternal lines. Billdad Barber, his grandfather, was a soldier in the Revolutionary army, and Moses Norton, his father, served with the American forces during the war of 1812, a cannon ball picked up by him after the battle of Lundy’s Lane, being now one of the Major’s cherished possessions. Moses Norton was born and reared in Litchfield county, Conn., where he married Percy Barber, a native of the same county and daughter of Billdad Barber, who served four years in the Revolutionary war and was one of the sufferers at Valley Forge. After his return from the army our subject’s father removed to Spafford, Onondaga county, N. Y., where he bought land and cleared a farm. In 1848 he went to Jones county, Iowa, where he and his worthy wife died many years ago. They had ten children, of whom our subject was the youngest: (1) Loren, born in 1880 in Litchfield county, Conn., married Miss Lydia Bacon, of New York State, and eventually settled at Lanesboro, where he followed farming and hotel-keeping until his death. (2) Everest married a Miss Picket, and settled for a time in .New York State, but later moved to Eaton county, Mich., where he died leaving a family. (3) Harmon was born in New York State, where he married, and he and his family joined with Joseph Smith of “Mormon fame,” in Susquehanna county. Later he moved to Navoo, Ill, and from there to Salt Lake City, where he died leaving a family. (4) Philo was born in New York State. He married a Miss Cowan and removed to Jones county, Iowa, where he died leaving a family. (5) Theda, born in Yew York State, became the wife of Peter Picket, of Yew York, and moved to Michigan, where they died leaving a family. (6) Esther, born in Yew York State, married Royal Pulsifer and settled at or near Little Meadows. Tioga Co., Penn.. where she and her husband died leaving one son. Newel, now a resident of Iowa. (7) Amanda, born in New York State, married first a Mr. Newton of Tioga county, Penn., who left one son. Philo Newton, now deceased. Her second husband, a Mr. Williams, died in Little Meadows, Penn., leaving a number of sons, now scattered. (8) Erastus was born and reared in Onondaga county, N. Y., and after his marriage settled on a farm there. He died leaving several children, who still reside in that county. (9) Bird, born in New York State, married and moved to Iowa. He enlisted in the 5th la. Vol. Cav. during the Civil war and died of wounds received at Knoxville, Tennessee.
As a boy our subject attended the schools near the old homestead in Onondaga county, and he also took a course in Homer Academy, in Cortland county, N. Y., where he graduated. He became a successful teacher, spending twelve years in that work in New York State and Michigan. He learned the carpenter’s trade in early manhood. In 1844 he married a Miss Sarah Thayer, of Skaneateles, N. Y., the daughter of Sanford Thayer, and a member of an old and highly respected family of Connecticut and Onondaga Co., N. Y. For about a year they resided in Michigan, and in 1852 they removed to Lanesboro, where our subject engaged in business as a carpenter and joiner, but his work was interrupted in 1861 by his enlistment under the three-months’ call in Company K, 6th Penn. Reserves. At Camp Curtin the regiment enlisted for three years, being mustered into the United States service at Washington in May, 1861. At his first engagement, December 20, 1861, at Drainsville, Va., the enemy was defeated with heavy losses, and while there his company elected him first sergeant. In December, 1862, he was wounded in the hip at Fredericksburg and captured, and the next three months were spent in Libby prison. The hardships and privations endured there so reduced his strength that he was sent to a hospital at Annapolis after his exchange. On his return to his regiment he was promoted to the rank of commissary sergeant, as he was not able to perform the duties of post sergeant, and as such he participated in the engagement at Mine Run, Peebles Farm, Spottsylvania C. H., North Anna, and other battles. His term having expired in May, 1864, he remained with his regiment until the end of its term, but in the meantime (December, 1863), re-enlisted as a veteran, and when the Pennsylvania Reserves were mustered out in May, 1864, the veterans were consolidated into two regiments, numbered 190 and 191. He was appointed first lieutenant of Company E, 191st P. V. I., on June 6, 1864, and promoted to captain in August following. He was again wounded while on picket duty. While in hospital both the 190th and 191st were captured at Weldon R. R. On his return he took command of four companies, and at the battle of Hatcher’s Run he had command of the regiment as senior-captain. He was engaged in all the battles of the Wilderness, and around Petersburg, and in February, 1865, was engaged in the Weldon R. R. raid. His regiment was in the 5th Corps under Gen. Warren. From that time he was constantly engaged in fighting, the severest battles being at Hatcher’s Run, White Oaks Road, Gravelly Run, and Five Forks, where Gen. Warren was. relieved of his command. Here the Major earned and received brevet honors. With four men he captured a redoubt of eighteen men with their guns, marching them in as prisoners. The battle of Five Forks occurred on April 1, 1865, and resulted in the capture of 7,000 prisoners, of which the above mentioned were the first taken. In recognition of his bravery and gallant conduct in this battle he received the appointment of brevet major of United States Volunteers. On April 9, 1865, he was engaged at Appomattox, and was present at the surrender of Gen. Lee which ended the war. Politically he is an Independent, and he has held all the offices in the township, serving as justice of the peace for fifteen years.
Mrs. Norton, who has been for more than fifty years an efficient aid to her husband in his enterprises, is a lady of culture and public spirit, and her self-sacrificing devotion to the Union cause was shown in her assumption of all the responsibilities and cares of the home during the Major’s long absence at the front. Of their four children all have been educated in the schools of Susquehanna : ( 1 ) Leander, who was born in Michigan, taught school successfully for a number of terms and is now a carpenter in Susquehanna. He is not married. (2) Lenora, born in New York State, married first Jason Morse, of Jackson, who died in Lanesboro, leaving one daughter, Mabel, now the wife of Dwight Twain, of Binghamton, N. Y. Mrs. Morse later married Frank Whitmarsh, now a resident of Binghamton, and they have one daughter, Ethel. (3) Flora, twin of Lenora, married Dexter S. Carpenter, of Harford, since moved to San Francisco, where he held a lucrative position as cashier of the Pacific Coast S. S. Co. Mrs. Carpenter died in 1896, leaving one daughter, Caro. (4) Andrew, born in Susquehanna in 1854, went to California in early manhood. For some years he was principal of a school, and he is now ‘located at Monteroy as manager of a steamship company. He married a Miss Berry, now deceased.
Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.