Pages 213-214, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




JOSEPH CLARENCE NORTON, Allen County's practical and theoretical Agriculturist, and a farmer whose fame extends beyond the confines of his own State, came into the county in 1872. His father, Joseph G. Norton, came out to Kansas in 1871, as a representative of a colony of Ohio emigrants and purchased for them a tract of land in Anderson County, of John W. Scott, agent of the L. L. and G. Railway Company. The colony came out and settled their new purchase and called their station on the line of the Santa Fe road "Colony." The town which this name was given to was called by the old trailers, to and from Lawrence "Divide." Colony was applied to this high point about 1872 when these Ohio soldiers took possession of their lands. Mr. Norton was not pleased with this location and the same year went into Marmaton township, Allen County, and purchased a tract. In company with Mr. Norton were other Ohio settlers. Mr. Schlimmer, Mr. Whitney and Fred Wagoner who also located in Allen County. The first postoffice was Johnstown which in a few years gave way to the Fairlawn postoffice, established in the house of Mr. Fehlison who looked after its affairs and the mail matter of the neighborhood till Moran was founded, when it was discontinued. Mail was delivered by pony carrier twice a week and the settlers felt themselves fortunate in receiving such favors at the hands of the government.

J. Clarence Norton was born at Montville, Waldo County, Maine, December 28, 1857. His father was born at Castine, Maine, April 21, 1824, and his environments in youth were entirely rural. His father, David Norton, had charge of the County Poor Farm for many years and was a local official for a long period. He was born in Maine and died in Des Moines, Iowa, and was a son of Joseph Norton, an old whaling-ship master. The latter had made several trips around the world before the Revolutionary war and sailed into the harbor of San Francisco and shot buffalo where the Presideo now is located and used water from the spring at the Golden Gate. The original Nortons were aboard the Mayflower and are buried at Plymouth, the site of their settlement.

Joseph G. Norton married Jane Cram, who died in Allen County in 1886. Their children were: Ida; deceased wife of John Carter of Iola; Ada, wife of George S. Davis, of Iola; Joseph Clarence; Etta, wife of George Mausy, of Rushville, Indiana.

Joseph G. Norton passed his early life as a boot and shoemaker. He left Maine in 1862 and located in Covington, Kentucky, but worked in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before reaching Cincinnati he lived in Quincy and Braintree, Massachusetts, and spent some time in Columbus, Ohio, upon his arrival in the State.

Clarence was a lad of fourteen years when he came to Allen County. He had had ample opportunities for education and graduated from the Covington high school, the youngest in his class. He early developed a talent for newspaper work and got his first experience on the Iola Register. Its editor, Mr. Perkins, retained him as a paid correspondent, the first of the kind in the county. The subject of farming attracted him and he has


done much of it in an experimental way. His discoveries he has made known from time to time in his letters to the Kansas Farmer and The Rural New Yorker to which publications he contributes as a pay correspondent and at good pay. He was the first to bale corn fodder and to invent a machine for baling, a description of which operation was published in Coburn's "Forage and Fodder" and he was the first to discover a method of preserving and keeping Irish potatoes two years. His articles have attracted a wide interest among professional and experimental farmers and he has addressed the State Board of Agriculture of Kansas, as the invited guest of the Secretary on different occasions when officers of Agricultural societies of other states were in his audience. Mr. Norton is also a student of farm stock and all his property of this description is registered.

Mr. Norton has kept weather records for thirty years and for the last six years has kept the United States official records for this county, being a regular weather bureau observer and supplied with government instruments. There are instances where his records have been called to settle damage suits with railways. He wrote a book on Weather Talks that was published in the Register in the winter of 1895-6. Also another book published in the Kansas Farmer on Potato Growing, and he has for two years been at work on the Kansas Farmer's Handy Guide which is now running in the Kansas Farmer and will be out in book form early in 1902. It is a reprint of a collection of thirty years from all the leading farm papers in the world.

Mr. Norton has been quite a sportsman and has hunted all over the northwest. In 1883 he brought from the Cascade Mountains a captured bear cub and that a year later he gave to the St. Louis Zoo, the largest bear they ever had. He also gave to the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, D. C., the only specimen the world ever heard of in its life—a Maltese skunk—a hybred cross between a white skunk and a mink and its value is beyond estimate. This animal was captured on his farm in Allen County, Kansas.

Mr. Norton has for several years been an introducer of worthy farm machinery through the Kansas Farmer and he has a valuable collection. He introduced the Early Kansas potato that was originated by William Hankins of Iola, and it is favorably known all over the United States, being one of the best yielders at the Rural New Yorker's testing trials, among one hundred other varieties. Also the Kansas Snowball, a new seedling from the Common No. 1 potato.

Mr. Norton was married to Frances Coe, of Ashtabula, Ohio. She died in 1892 leaving a son, Louis Norton. Mr. Norton then married (in 1893) Elba Ashcraft. Their children are: Everett and Annie P.

In politics the Nortons have all along been Republicans. The St. Louis platform did not conform to the ideas of our subject on the finance question, in 1896, and he supported the candidate of the Democratic party. The question of expansion being of more personal concern and of greater national importance he supported Mr. McKinley in 1900 on that issue. Outside of questions of citizenship he takes no special interest in local affairs.

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