Tag Archives: Bible

And so it begins… In Search of Robert Norris

1 Jun

In this quick, and long overdue entry, I just want to share something I found over a year ago while searching for William Norris’s father Alanson Blake (or A.B.) Norris. It’s a post to a genealogy forum by Brad Norris (grandson of Elmer Norris, Minnie Lee Rose Norris’s eldest son). In it he shares two letters that my great-great-grandmother Minnie Lee Rose Norris received from her husband’s siblings regarding their father Alanson and grandfather Robert. It’s a bit of a mystery tracking down Robert, and I’ll be sharing that quest over the next few weeks. In the meantime, enjoy these letters with much thanks to Brad for posting them. Below is the text from his post, and here’s the original link: http://genforum.genealogy.com/norris/messages/6285.html.

This is a quote from a letter written by my gg uncle, James B. Norris, in 1912 from Elmore, Alabama to my ggrandmother, Minnie Lee Rose Norris in answer to her inquiry about his family. He was 73 when this was written:

“…In regard to my Father Family I know very little about them But I will tell you all I know. I think that he had 4 Brothers their names were John Harris Andrew and Singleton I think were the names of the Boys. My Fathers name was Alanson Blake Norris my GrandFathers name was Robbert Norris. I never did see any of them and I think there were 4 sisters there names were Jane and Nancy I have seen them the other two girls names were Hildy and Kissiah I think were all. I have seen Aunt Jane She married a man by the name of Joshua Smith. Aunt Nancy married Jacob Goodwin (my mothers Brother) and one married a man by the name of Maldin and Kissiah married Jubilee Chitwood. They all lived in South Carolina. Father left his People when he was eighteen years old and never visited them But once that I know of that was in 1846 Rode a fine Horse named Ball Hornett and lost his Pocket Book with two hundred Dollars in it. Borrowed $20.00 Dollars from his Father (my Grand Father) to Pay his way coming home he was gone about six weeks. My Mothers People her Fathers name was Ephraim Goodwin his wife’s name was SuSanna Shook (She was a Dutch girl) They lived in Cherokee Cty, Ala. I have seen them several times when I was small….”

And this from a letter written by Mary Norris Spigener, James B.’s sister. Written again to Minnie Lee Rose Norris in 1917 from her home in Arizona, Louisiana (near Athens, east of Shreveport):

“…I hardly know what to say to you, as I know nothing in reference to my ancestors. My Grandfather Goodwin came from Missouri, I believe grand father Norris from N.C. Buncomb Co I think. have no family bible other than my fathers. he was born Oct 7, 1815, his name Alanson Blake. Esther Catherine Goodwin, his [wife] born April 20, 1819. Bro Dock was in the 4th Ala Regt. Col Bee commanding Hoods Div. Longsteets Cor L Company F or G. I don’t remember which. he was in the 1st battle of Manassas until he surrendered under Lee at Appomattox C H at the end of the war. Bro’s Jim and John was in the 20 Ala Regt company F or G. Capt Shapherd, Colonel Pettus under Joseph E. Johnston was captured a the fall of Vicsburg, Surrendered in Georgia I think. John was killed in Vicksburg during the siege 1st of June 1863, so you see I don’t know much about any of them….”

The reference to “Bro Dock” would be Melville Norris. I have good info on the Shook and Goodwin Families (Google Jacob Shook, Clyde NC). I know Alanson was born in SC. James B. said his grandfather was “Robbert”. Mary says he was from NC, Buncombe County. That would put him in proximity with the Shooks and the Goodwins in adjacent Haywood County (They were devout Methodists, Jacob Shook and Francis Asbury being friends. The Goodwins were missionaries to Missouri, thus the birth of Esther Catherine in Missouri. Alanson Blake Norris was also a Methodist minister). I have long been stuck on the assumption that this Norris clan originated from Abbeville or Pendleton Districts of SC.

I’ve worked recently on deciphering and confirming what’s recollected in these two amazing letters, and have attempted to track down the elusive Robert Norris. More on that shortly… I’m assuming this is enough of a gem to enjoy for the time being! 🙂 I’m still hoping to get scans of the original letters from Brad. Thanks in advance!!!! 🙂

A Pictoral Bible is Worth 1,000 Words

21 Jun
To close my Norris research for a little while, in order to spend some time tracing the remaining two branches, here (at long last) are photos of both Genevieve Paul’s Bible and William R. Norris’ Bible. Click on any of them for a better view. 

Genevieve Paul’s Bible

An Obituary for William R. Norris in the Book of Samuel in Genevieve Paul's Bible

William R. Norris & Minnie Lee Norris’ Bible

Spine of Bible

William R. Norris Writing in Inside Cover

 
Note the witnesses to the wedding: Minnie’s parents and the pastor M.B. Wharton. Wharton, incidentally, is the middle name of William and Minnie’s first son Elmer (great-grandfather Samuel “Doc” E. Norris’ brother). This was something Mom caught the second time we looked over the names.

Marriages Listed in Bible

 

Births Listed in Bible

Deaths Listed in Bible

 

 One of the other things I’d like to know about the Bible is who wrote the entries. Are they in Minnie or William’s handwriting? I hope to find some of Minnie’s handwriting to compare.

Inside Title Page

Aren’t these pages amazing, though? There are many pages just as intricately drawn as this one. Sadly, there are also places for family photos, but there aren’t any there. I’d love to see a photo of Minnie or William when they were younger; well William at any age actually.

The Family Bible

3 Jun

After spending several nights (one per week to maintain my sanity) trying to confirm the name of William R. Norris’ father, I finally got my mom to dig out “The Bible.”

 The Bible? Why had I never seen this Bible before. She gave such a mysterious and all-knowing persona to it. Every time I told mom about what I had or hadn’t found she would say, “I’ll have to dig out the Bible.” She never did. After my last post about so very many William Norris’ with none matching up quite right, I needed to see this Bible.

It had at some point been passed down to my great-grandfather Doc, and then to my Grandpa. Apparently Mom had never seen it before stumbling across it a few years ago, though. It was my understanding that within its pages there was a family tree of some sort. Apparently old bibles had these. I, for one, had no idea. I was so nervous to see “The Bible” and find out who William R. Norris’ father really was. There had been a sort of thrill to the hunt, and now the moment of truth…

My first impression was, “How intricate!” The cover is fantastic. The marriage page for William and Minnie is even more fantastic. The information is written in beautiful calligraphy on an illuminated manuscript style page. These are the facts about their wedding that I summarized from the page.

William R. Norris married Minnie Lee Rose in Montgomery, AL on Dec. 1, 1886 in the presence of S.L. Rose and S. Elizabeth Rose.

The next several pages listed births, deaths, and marriages. William and Minnie were there, along with my great-grandfather and his brothers Elmer and William Jr. and another brother who died as a baby. Here are a few dates, that I noted to begin with.

  • Samuel Leslie Rose (S.L.) died May 3, 1904 (Minnie’s father)
  • S. Elizabeth Rose died May 16, 1890 (Minnie’s mother)
  • Minnie Lee Rose born Oct. 23, 1868 in Benton, AL
  • William R. Norris born August 13, 1859 in Marion, AL
  • Elmer Wharton Norris born Dec. 23, 1887 in Montgomery, AL
  • William Robert Norris Jr. born April 3, 1890 in Montgomery, AL
  • Leslie Alanson Norris born Oct. 3, 1892 and died Nov. 15, 1892

There were additional dates that I didn’t include here, because I already knew them. There are many wedding dates too, which I’ll save for later.

You’ll see pictures of the Bible in my next post. I’m afraid I didn’t have a camera that day, and the pages are too frail to scan

In addition to these amazing pages, the Norris family Bible also contained an envelope full of obituaries from various family members. Here, I found one for Minnie Lee Norris that stated that they’d moved to Colorado in 1904. That was definitely one of the questions in my mind. I knew they were in Alabama in 1900 and in Colorado in 1908 (the year William died), but I wasn’t sure when they’d moved.

One of the other questions my aunt and mom had about Minnie was why she stayed here after William died. To our knowledge, they’d moved to Colorado (like so many) in hopes of curing William’s tuberculosis. They were here for four years before he passed away, which must’ve been long enough for the Norris’ to set down new roots. One of the things that we learned from the Bible entries was that both of Minnie’s parents died before she moved to Colorado with William and her boys. This could be one reason why she didn’t feel like returning to Alabama…or maybe she just liked it here.

Overall though, the facts in the Bible were a little disappointing at first. Amazing as it was, it didn’t have the one piece of information I was looking for. Who was William’s father? He wasn’t mentioned anywhere… Or was he?

In looking back over all of the entries, Mom and I noticed that the baby Norris who died within a year of being born had a very interesting name. Leslie…Alanson…Norris. The middle name Alanson couldn’t be a coincidence. It looks to me as if the baby was named after both Minnie and William’s fathers (Leslie being Minnie Lee’s father’s middle name, and Alanson being William’s father). This was a HUGE indicator that Alanson was indeed the father of the “right” William.

The next big  clue was that, according to the Bible, William was born in Marion, AL. Since I’d found the Alanson Norris family in the 1860 census (under A.B. Norris),  in which that William was one year old, I guessed that the Norris’ would still live in the town where William had been born. If the town from that census record was Marion, AL, then I felt confident that Alanson/A.B. Norris was, in fact, my great-great-great grandfather.

As you can see (if you click on it to make it larger)…

…there it is on the top of the page; Marion, AL.

At the bottom of this page, you’ll see A.B. Norris, his wife, and several children listed.

At the top of the next page, you’ll see William, age 1.

One mystery solved. Many, many more to go. Oh, and something VERY exciting (in addition to the Bible pictures) in my next post!

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