Saturday, February 28, 2015

Joseph Norris (1729 - 1813)

Joseph Norris signed to the Oath of Fidelity and Support on  April 17, 1779 before The Worshipful Joseph Chaplin, a Magistrate for Washington County, Maryland in accordance  to the Act of Maryland Assembly of February 5, 1777.  There is a DAR Record of Service naming him a Patriot.  He is Ancestor #: A084418.  The Sons of the American Revolution also has a Patriot file for him.

Joseph married Mary Moody sometime around 1750.  Their  twelve children: Elizabeth, Eleanor, John, William, Ruha, Mary, Lydia, Sarah, Nancy Ann, Ruhannah, Jane, and Joseph all were born in Frederick County, Maryland where they lived before coming to Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.

Joseph owned a considerable amount of property as this Tax record from 1788 shows.  His name is near the bottom of this list followed by his son John who owned 200 acres.
Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801.  Name: Joseph Norris    Year:1788    Town or Ward:Hopewell   County:Huntingdon     Archive Rollname:327
390 acres   2 Negroes  2 horses  2 cows   State Tax 1   1  0

The 1790 and 1800 censuses both note the Joseph Norris owned 5 slaves, but by the 1810 census he no longer has slaves.  Ronald McCall, Ph.D,  speculates that ,  "before Joseph Sr.’s 80th birthday, he made and acted on a decision concerning his slaves.  Perhaps because slave holding in Pennsylvania was not that popular, but more likely because of faithful service given by the folks who were his property and because other “colored” in the county were freemen, Joseph gave up ownership."    I am happy that Joseph decided to give freedom to the people he had owned.

Larry Dean of Vancouver, Washington found microfilm records containing Bible inscriptions as follows: "Joseph Norris, b. 11 Jan 1729 and d. 18 Mar 1813 aged 84 y, 2 m., 6 d and Mary Moody Norris his wife b. 11 Dec 1730 and d. 17 Dec 1817 aged 87 y, 6 d.."  followed by the names and birthdates of twelve children.  According to  U.S. Army, Corps of Engineers, they moved the graves of Joseph and Mary from the Norris Family Cemetery before they filled the reservoir behind the Raystown Dam. Ron McCall says "the Norris Cemetery graves were moved to the White Church Cemetery, that is, at Jacob’s Church, about three miles from the original family plot."

Find A Grave Memorial# 89910204
Find A Grave Memorial# 34587241

Their daughter Jane married William Enyeart, whose Revolution participation story I have told.  Of the 16 children of Jane and William Enyeart  I have blogged a tale of  their daughter Rachel who married John Heffner, my 3rd great grandparents.   Rachel and John had a son named  Ben who married Ann Eliza States, whose story I have also written.   Their daughter Ella May married Rev. Howard Long and they were my great grandparents.  Their daughter Eliza  married Homer McEwen.

McCall, Ronald M.,, "The First Norris Family in Huntingdon Co.", August, 2012
McCall, Ron,, "A History of the Norris Cemetery, Shippensburg, PA, August, 2012
Smith, Cynthia, "Heffner Family: Descendants of this family settled in Hunterdon Co.",, 2009
Dutton, Dick, "William Enyeart",
Find A Grave, Joseph P. Norris,
Fisher, Debbie, “White Church Cemetery",
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission; Records of the Office of the Comptroller General, RG-4; Tax & Exoneration Lists, 1762-1794; Microfilm Roll: 327

                      Please see this list of all My Revolutionary War Ancestors.


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