The Phillip Deere Family Home Page:Information about Henry Norris
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Henry Norris (b. Abt. 1645, d. 1706)Henry Norris (son of John Norris)140 was born Abt. 1645, and died 1706.He married Abigail Stratton, daughter of John Stratton.
Notes for Henry Norris:
b. ca. 1645; d. 1706. Henry Norris lived in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, early in his life, probably initially in Southold, having met and married his wife Abigail Stratton (b. ca. 1645) there.
Court records place our Henry Norris in Easthampton in 1668, at the same time that Oliver Norris lived there as well as Robert and Peter Norris in Southampton, a few miles away, thereby giving us reason to believe that they were brothers, being the only known Norrises in the area at that time and of the same generation.
In the will of John Straton (Stratton), Sr., of Easthampton, whose wife was Sarah, dated 30 Aug 1684, we
find the record of Henry Norris and wife Abigail. John Stratton left 10 pounds to his daughter Abigail, wife of Henry Norris. The will was probated on March 16, 1686, and names sons John, Joseph, Stephen and
Cornelius Stratton, daughter Abigail, wife of Henry Norris, daughters Rebecca Busnell and Ruth White, and grandsons Joseph and Stephen Hand and Stephen Hedges. Abigail's father, John Stratton, Sr. (b. 1621; d. 1684-5) was an early settler in the town of Easthampton, Long Island, arriving there in 1649. He departed from there in 1664 and went to Hempstead, Long Island, to declare allegiance to the English crown, but was back in Easthampton at his death. John and Sarah were married before 1645. John Stratton's parents were William and Elizabeth Stratton, of Tenterden, County Kent, England. His father was John, and John's father was William Stratton (d. ca. 1603), of Shrivenham, Berkshire, England, who was called the brother-in-law of Mrs. Anne Stratton, the aunt of John Locke, the philosopher.
Henry and Abigail Norris came to Elizabeth, New Jersey, before 1670 but after their marriage, and he proved to be a valuable settler there. On October 10, 1672, John Williams of New York wrote his will, in which he left Anthony Jansen Turk "all my tools in the house of Henry Norris in New Jersey." He also left "all my land in New Jersey according to the records of Elizabethtown, and he is to pay to Henry Norris a debt of 40 shillings and the funeral charges." Henry Norris was named executor of the estate of John Williams of New York. In October of 1672 he came into possession of the allotment of "Little John Wilson", first as executor, and then as purchaser on 11 Dec 1675. In Nov of 1692 he and John Lyon were elected representatives for Elizabethtown in the New Jersey General Assembly. He had two house lots, containing 14 acres, bounded northeast and northwest by highways; southwest by William Meeker; southeast by Robert Vauquellin. He had, also, 16 acres of upland "on the east side of the plaine," adjoining Joseph Bond, Henry Lyon, and George Morris; also 24 acres of upland, bounded by George Morris, Benjamin Parkhurst, Hurr Thompson, Henry Lyon, and John Wilson; also, 50 acres of upland, adjoining Rev. Jeremiah Peck, and Joseph Bond; also 85 acres of upland "on the north of the plaine," and on the west side of the Newark Road, bounded by John Ogden, Jr. (his son-in-law), Benjamin
Parkhurst, and Joseph Meeker; also 20 acres of meadow "at Mr. Woodroffe's creek," having "Geese Creek" on the east; also 4 acres on the creek. The total was about 249 acres of land.
The fact that Henry Norris had accumulated a great deal of land (at least for those times) so early did not comewithout some cost. The territory of New Jersey was constantly in dispute over who was going to govern it, andissues of proper ownership of land became very taxing on the early settlers. In 1675 the governor decided that in order to settle the issue he would have all of the "planters", as most of the settlers were called, have their lands resurveyed and titles to land re-established. This offended the original settlers greatly, since they were at the mercy of what the governor chose to give them. But one after the other they did the surveys, although only one of the original 80 or so settlers did so within the prescribed time limits. Henry Norris and John Wilson, carpenter, received warrants for 210 acres in that survey on March 14, 1675/6. This does not reconcile with the listing above of 249 acres for Henry Norris alone. Certainly it was cause for concern.
With the death of Sir George Carteret in 1679, a new administration of the government of East Jersey became a necessity. Fruitless attempts were made for two or three years to find a purchaser, even though the whole territory with the rights of jurisdiction was offered to Lord Norreys and others for less than 6000 pounds. This Lord Norreys (Norris later) was from England and is not further identified.
Eventually the province was sold to the highest bidder in January of 1681/2, along with all delinquent rents and sums of money due to the late proprietor, Carteret. The sale was for 3,400 pounds, and the purchasers, hereafter known as The Proprietors, were an association of twelve persons from London and near there, most of them connected with the Quakers, including William Penn, Thomas Rudyard, and Samuel Groome. Shortly later the number of Proprietors was doubled to twenty-four, with six from Scotland and the remainder mostly from London. The result was that the settlers went from having one ruler of the Cavalier persuasion to twenty-four of the Quaker persuasion.
Robert Barclay, once a Presbyterian, then a Papist, and finally a Quaker, was chosen governor of the province. He was in favor not only with William Penn but also with the English crown. He selected a deputy, Thomas Rudyard, and a receiver and surveyor general, Samuel Groome, who came to America in late 1682.
Troubles developed immediately as the new government took over. Questions arose again over who owned what land, and how much of it they owned. By 1693 an act was passed defining the boundaries of
Elizabethtown, and it included all of present Union County and large parts of Somerset, Hunterdon, Morris, Warren, and Sussex Counties as well, including Morristown itself.
With the passage of time came new leadership, but still under the "Proprietors". In 1694 Governor Hamilton ruled. During the long controversy regarding the land titles of the town no regular judicial investigation of the points at issue had been undertaken and no decision was reached. But now that the proprietors had resumed their jurisdiciton and seemed to be quietly seated in the government of the province, they determined to take the matters into the courts. They were confident, since they mostly controlled the judges and juries both. If they won, the "planters" would be forced to pay the quit rents that were in arrears from 1670 or lose their plantations and all the improvements on them.
A test case was made. It involved a case of a proprietor's friend having purchased land in good faith from Governor Lawrie in 1693, which the governor had purchased from the Indians. But that same land had been earlier claimed by the Elizabethtown people under the Governor Nicolls grant. The merits of the case were presented on both sides. The events were recent, and the documentary evidence was ample and well preserved. The first Elizabethtown book was in the hands of Samuel Whitehead, the town clerk. A special verdict was agreed upon, but the jury gave a general verdict for Jones, the associate member. The court, however, pronounced judgment against Jones, who thereupon appealed the case to the King. In England the case was heard fully and the King reversed the judgement of the court.
The judicial proceedings renewed the animosity between the town and the Proprietors. By this time many of the original settlers had died and their sons were in their places, although Henry Norris was still alive. It was determined in 1695 that the town would make from the new generation an addition to the "Association", as the town group was then called. Henry Norris was included among the new list of asscociates at that time, along with Richard Clark, Sr., whose son married Henry's daughter Hannah, Nathaniel Bonnel, whose name also later appears in the Norris family, and Stephen Crane, whose son John married another of Henry's daughters, Esther.
In October of 1695 Henry Norris was one of a committee of six from the House of Deputies chosen to meet representatives of the Governor's Council to discuss a bill proposing the setting up of a Court of Oyer and Terminer.
The creation of the larger association gave the town group more weight and influence. They took their ground against the Proprietors. The people soon learned to hold the government in contempt. Revolt ensued. The leaders of the Association were imprisoned (including, presumably Henry Norris), but were quickly rescued by the people.
Governor Hamilton returned to New Jersey in 1699 after a stay in England for a few years. He returned with a new set of rules.
On 7 Jun 1699, the Governor's Council ordered that commissions as Justice of the Peace be issued to William Locker and Henry Norris. Obviously the attempt was to get within the group and split them up, by making the town members part of the "opposition".
In the following spring (1700), the opposition openly revolted. The Assembly, of which Henry Norris was a part, demanded that Hamilton present credentials from the King. Instead Hamilton dissolved the Assembly that same day. A period of strife and violence followed including the breaking up of courts, sheriffs and others not being able to serve legal documents, and mutual breaking of jails, rescuing of prisoners, and beating and abusing of officers.
A direct appeal to the King was decided upon, and a petition was prepared:
the said purchasers, and those claiming under them, still continue in the possession of the lands by
them purchased, and peaceable enjoyed the same, until about Sep 1693, being near thirty years,
and during that time, great labour and expence, built, planted, and improved the same; and they
humbly conceive they ought according to law, reason and justice, still to enjoy the same.
They then listed the troubles they had endured and their need for an impartial tribunal. They asked either to be placed under the civil government of New York (from which most had come) or to have indifferent judges appointed to whom all these matters might be referred. Henry Norris and Henry Norris, Jr. were among a very large number of signers of the petition.
This story reached its conclusion some twenty years later, after Henry's death. His son, Henry Jr., carried on the struggle in his father's stead.
Henry Norris died in May of 1706, leaving a will dated March 26, 1705, with a codicil dated 4 May 1706. It describes him as a yeoman and was probated 21 May 1706. It makes no reference to his wife, who had evidently died before him, but names children Hannah Clark, Henry, Esther Crane, Abigail Thorp, Samuel, Ruth, Sarah, and Margaret. Son Samuel and daughters Ruth and Sarah were named as executors, but only Ruth served. The codicil named Benjamin Price, Jr. and Andrew Haxton of Elizabethtown as overseers.
SOURCE; Norris Families in America (website)Steven D. Norris
Children of Henry Norris and Abigail Stratton are:
- +Hannah Norris, b. Bef. 1665, d. 1742.