"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Norton, William residing in Tripoli, Oneida County, ia a veteran of the Civil War and has lived most of his life in Wisconsin, of which state he is a native. He was born in Milwaukee, Feb. 27, 1842, son of Stephen and Jane (PADDOCK) NORTON, the parents being natives of New York State, where they were married, and the father a millwright by trade. They came west to Milwaukee, Wis., in 1841 and there, or in that vicinity, Stephen NORTON bought government land for $1.25 an acre. When William was five years old his mother died, and his father being unable to give him proper care, he was reared by others. He received but little schooling and as soon as he was old enough had to make himself useful at farm work. Thus he acquired a practical knowledge of agriculture, a branch of industry which he has followed practically ever since. On Aug. 1, 1862, he enlisted in the Federal army to fight for the Union, becoming a member of an Illinois volunteer regiment. He saw much active service, taking part in the battles of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Pea Ridge, besides others, and in many skirmishes, but was only once wounded and that very slightly, a bullet grazing his chin with a contact just sufficient to start the blood. Finally receiving his discharge at Camp Herker, Georgia, he returned north to Chicago and took up farming in Illinois. In 1889 he returned to his native state of Wisconsin, locating at Brantwood, Price County, and taking a homestead of 160 acres. On Dec. 11, 1866 he was married to Amelia WOOD of Baraboo, who was born in New York State, Jan. 28, 1847, and had come to Baraboo with her parents when a child. After his marriage Mr. NORTON returned to Ilinois, his wife, a teacher, joining him after her school term was over. There he resumed farming, and in that state he remained for some 18 or 19 years. Then in 1889 he sold his Illinois farm and took one near Brantwood, in Price County, Wis. It was a wild location, without roads, and the only method of communication being by trails, and he had to carry provisions on his back from Prentice, 15 miles distant. He and his wife experienced all the hardships of pioneer life, but met them bravely and made the best of their lot. The latter organized and taught the first school at Brantwood. After residing in Price County for 31 years, Mr. and Mrs. NORTON came in 1919 to Lincoln County and bought a farm adjoining Tripoli village, on which he lived for four years. Mrs. NORTON passed away April 18, 1923. The fair degree of success Mr. NORTON has met with has been practically self-achieved, his wife, however, having proved a good helpmate. He has always been a Republican in politics since he cast his first vote, and in Price County rendered some public service as town supervisor, justice of the peace and school director. To him and his wife were born seven children: Alberta, now Mrs. J. P. WELLS of Rhinelander; Bernard, of Ingleside, Ill.; Oscar, deceased; Cora, wife of Michael MESKILL of Merrill, Wis.; Lewis of Tripoli; John, who is deceased, and Fred, who until his death Sept. 22, 1923, operated the Bissell Lumber Co.'s hotel in Tripoli, known as the Umzewee House. Fred NORTON married Rose RECHERT of Prentice, Wis., who was born at Mondovi, Buffalo County, Wis., and who parents, Peter and Caroline RECHERT, are now living in Brantwood. She is now conducting the hotel. Mr. and Mrs. Fred NORTON had two children: Montegomery F., born June 21, 1914, and Lyall M., born June 15, 1917. William NORTON, the subject of this sketch, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and he and his wife are earnest workers in both the church and Sunday school.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 670-671; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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