Biography of John B. Norton
FROM: History of Livingston County, New York
By James H. Smith
Assisted by Hume H. Cole
Published By D. Mason & Co. 1881


Among the pioneers of Springwater none have left a more honored memory than he whose name appears at the head of this sketch.

Dr. John Boardman Norton was born April 21st, 1793, at Greenville, Greene county, N. Y. His father resided next at Aurelius, in Cayuga county, and John B. attended the seminary at Auburn some two years. In the war of 1812 he acted a conspicuous part as First Sergeant under Capt. Daniel Eldridge, at Sachern's Head Harbor, on Long Island Sound, in preventing the British stealing our shipping.

Afterwards, Major Umstead ordered his company to Buffalo, under General Peter B. Porter, but it arrived too late to take a part in the military proceedings of that place, Fort Erie or Lundy's Lane. At the age of twenty-two he commenced the study of medicine with Dr. Clary at Troupsyule, where he stayed one year, when he went in with Dr. Joseph T. Pitney at Auburn, where he commenced to ride and visit patients, and after a stay of two years, left the pleasant little village of Auburn, and on the i8th day of February, 1820, started for Springwater, where he arrived on the 20th.

At that time Springwater was almost wholly unknown, consisting only of a few log houses, and the embryotic M. D. was just the man for the position. Young, energetic, willing and anxious to assist in building up, and to be built up by the then active little hamlet where he had cast his lot. He first pitched his tent above the orchard on the present premises of Webster Tyler, where Hosea Grover started the first store ever kept in town. In 1821 John B. associated himself with Harvey S. Tyler. in the mercantile business, but his health being rather delicate, dissolved partnership, or rather sold out to Tyler. July 25, 1825, and then entered wholly into medicine. In the same month Dr. Arnold Gray came into town, and in August following they entered into partnership, which lasted one year. On the 8th day of June, 1823 he married Jane C. Marvin, by whom he had eight children. One daughter, Mrs. Lovinia Andrus. of Livonia Station, and four sons, viz: John and Oscar M., of Allegany county, Asher B., of Ontario county, and Wm. H., now the owner of the farm on which his father died, survived him, all of whom are successful farmers and business men.

S. G. Grover, John B. Norton and others, under the firm name of Grover, Norton & Co., bought of Timothy Ryder the land on which stands the present store of Allen & Whitlock, and built the old part of the said building in 1826. They dissolved soon afterwards, and Norton took thirtyfive acres of land where the hotel and other buildings stand as his share of the gains and losses.

At different times in life he has filled the offices of Commissioner or Inspector of Schools, Road Commissioner, and others, all of which were never sought for by him, but which were always filled in a satisfactory manner. A few years since he sold out, retired from practice, and purchased the farm on which he died.

In his old age he retained his memory remarkably well, his step was firm and elastic, and as he was a noted Nimrod in his youth, he still clung considerably to some of his boyish proclivities-fishing being a pastime in which he, during the last season of his life, spent many a pleasant day on the bosom of Hemlock Lake. He was a liberal Christian; was a firm friend to the system of popular education, in the belief that general education, by lessening crime and imparting skill to effort, is an ample return for the burdens of taxation. Abroad he was social; at home, cheerful and pleasant. He contemplated the past in general with satisfaction, and the future he awaited with a tranquil mind. Ever honorable, benevolent and kind, he won and retained the esteem of all, and passed away on the 29th of August, 1878, mourned by a large circle of friends and kindred.

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