Nimrod Lindsey Norton
b.1831 Nicholas, KY-
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NORTON, NIMROD LINDSAY (1830-1903). Nimrod Lindsay Norton, government official, was born near Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky, on April 18, 1830, the son of Hiram and Nancy (Spencer) Norton. He was educated at Fredonia Military Academy in New York and Kentucky Military Institute. On October 27, 1853, he was married to Mary C. Hall in Nicholas County; they had eight children. The family moved to Missouri, where he farmed. At the beginning of the Civil Warqv Norton organized one of the first companies north of the Missouri River for the defense against federal troops. In May 1864 he was chosen as one of the Missouri representatives in the Confederate States Congress. After the war he returned to Missouri. In 1867 he and his family moved to DeWitt County, Texas, then to Salado, in Bell County, where in 1873 Norton was a charter member of the Grange,qv an agrarian order that powerfully influenced the Constitutional Convention of 1875.qv
A section of the Constitution of 1876qv provided for the designation, survey, and sale of 3,050,000 acres of public land in the High Plains to pay for the construction of a new Capitol.qv Governor Oran Milo Robertsqv selected Norton as commissioner to supervise the survey of that land for the state in July 1879. With surveyors and a ranger escort, Norton made the necessary land surveys, which opened the Llano Estacadoqv to settlement. In his diary (from August to December 1879) and in his letters to Governor Roberts, Norton described the country, the daily camp life, and the flora and fauna that the survey party encountered. In 1880 he was appointed a member of the three-man Capitol building commission, which considered eleven designs submitted for the Capitol, made a survey of various quarries in the Austin area, and studied qualities of various building materials. On February 1, 1882, Norton and another Capitol building commissioner, Joseph Lee,qv shoveled the first spade of dirt for the beginning of construction. Norton with his two business partners, W. H. Westfall and G. W. Lacy, ended the limestone-granite controversy by donating all the red granite needed for construction from Granite Mountain in Burnet County.
Although Norton had purchased land in the Montopolis area in 1872 and journeyed to Austin to supervise the annual Travis County fairs, he continued to live in Salado. He and his family were living in Austin later, however, and in 1893 he built a large home north of the site of the present Travis County Courthouse. He died on September 28, 1903, in Austin and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery there.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Anthony Garland Adair and E. H. Perry, Sr., Austin and Commodore Perry (Austin: Texas Heritage Foundation, 1956). John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). S. W. Geiser, "Men of Science in Texas, 1820-1880," Field and Laboratory 26-27 (July, October 1958, October 1959). Frederick W. Rathjen, "The Texas State House," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 60 (April 1957).
Lucie C. Price
Prior to his ownership of the Norton-Orgain House, Nimrod Lindsay Norton had an illustrious history in Kentucky and Missouri. Norton was born in 1830 near Carlisle, Nicholas County, Kentucky. His parents were also children of American pioneers who contributed to the American Revolution. After education at Fredonia Military Academy in western New York and at the Kentucky Military Institute, Norton moved to Missouri and began farming. The Civil War saw Norton organize a company of troops and rise to the rank of Colonel as a Field Staff Officer to General Sterling Price. In May of 1864, Norton was elected to serve as a Missouri representative in the Second Confederate States Congress.
After the war, Norton was pardoned and moved to south Texas and later to Bell County. He soon became well known in the Central Texas area. In 1873, Norton became a charter member of the Texas Grange No. 1 and later acted as General Manager of the Central Texas Fair from 1873 to 1875. In 1879, Governor Oran M. Roberts selected Norton to survey lands designated by the State to be sold to finance a new State Capitol building. Norton surveyed all or parts of Dallam, Hartley, Deaf Smith, Palmer, Castro, Bailey, Lamb and Hockley Counties. His diary and letters to Governor Roberts described the country, camp life, and flora and fauna of the Llano Estacado (staked Plains). Norton's surveys and descriptions were important in opening the High Plains to settlement.
In 1880, Norton was selected, along with the Hon. Joseph Lee, to serve as the Capitol Building Commission. Their duties included design and materials review and oversight of construction of the new Capitol Building. During the early part of their tenure, Norton and Lee had to choose between Indiana limestone and Texas pink granite as the exterior building material for the new Capitol. To end the controversy, Norton and his business partners, W. H. Westfall and G. W. Lacey, donated the Texas pink granite from their quarry in Burnet County. Norton later resigned from the Building Commission to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest as a result of this gift. It has been stated, "To Col. Norton, more than any other person, Texas is indebted for the magnificent structure that adorns Capitol Hill." The Texas Legislature extended it's thanks by passing a Resolution of Gratitude and by offering Col. Norton the use of a free office in the Capitol Rotunda acknowledging his contribution.
Norton continued to live in Salado for some time after he sold the house in September of 1882 to John H. Orgain and his wife, Kate Alma. He subsequently moved to Austin and in 1893 built a home there. Norton died in 1903 and is buried in Austin's Oakwood Cemetery.
history was undoubtably supplied by Nimrod himself.
Colonel N. L. Norton of Austin, was born near Carlisle, Nicholas county, KY, April 18, 1830, son of Hiram Norton, a successful business man, whose brother, Capt James Norton, fell at the battle of Tippecanoe, while serving under General Harrison. His grandfather was John Norton son of a retired British Naval officer who had settled in Virginia before the Revolution, and gave five sons to the Continental army. One of these died on an English prison ship in Charleston harbor; another was a sergeant in Washington's bodyguard, was present at the surrender of Cornwalis, and afterward was a field officer in the Indian campaign in the Northwest. The mother of Colonel Norton was the daughter of a Revolutionary soldier and granddaughter of Thomas Spencer, who commanded a brigade of Scotch troops at Culloden, escaped afterward to America, and finally settled in Kentucky. With such ancestry Colonel Norton, when the issue presented itself in 1861, was predisposed enthusiastically to espouse the cause of the South in her struggle for independence. He was educated at the Fredonia academy in New York and at the Kentucky military institute, and in 1853 was married to Mary C. Hall of his native county. The young couple moved to Missouri and engaged in farming amid the inconveniences of pioneer life. When the Confederacy was formed, Colonel Norton, though having opposed the doctrine of succession, was impelled by his convictions to take up arms against the coercion of the South, and he supported the strong and influential party in Missouri which attempted to put that state in the Confederacy. He organized one of the first companies raised north of the Missouri river for the defense of the State from Federal invasion, and afterward served under Gen. Sterling Price, in various capacities and ranks, and winning the confidence and commendation of his commander. His duties in the field were mainly those of a staff officer, and he was often detailed on important and perilous duty, in which he showed as General Price said of him, an "infinite resource". In May, 1864 he was chosen almost unanimously over three competitors, as one of the representatives of Missouri in the Confederate States congress, where he services with ability, giving all the strength of his nature to the maintenance of the government. After the fall of Richmond he returned to Missouri, but not long afterward removed to Southern Texas and made his home on the Lavaca River. He gave himself there with great energy to the work of farming and the organization of farmers for the advancement of their industry, and soon became widely known and honored. After the constitution of 1876 had set aside three million acres of public land for the building of a new State house, he was appointed by Governor Roberts to take charge of the location and survey of the land. With his surveyors and an escort of rangers he went over a great area of land in the llano-estacad, or staked plains, and not only set apart the territory to be devoted to the building of the capitol, but brought to the attention of the world the promising resources of that region, previously regarded as a desert. When the building commission for the capitol was formed he was made one of its members and he rendered services of great value during the long discussion as to the quality of stone to be used, by maintaining that durable granite should be employed and eventually the firm of which he was a member owning the granite mountain property in Burney county, donated to the State all the granite used in completing the great structure which is now the pride of Texas. It has been truthfully said by a competent authority that "to Colonel Norton more than any other person, Texas is indebted for the magnificent structure that adorns Capitol Hill."
Here are web pages about Nimrod Norton's anestors.
Norton, Nimrod Lindsay (1830-1903) of Missouri. Born in Nicholas County, Ky., April 18, 1830. Colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War; Representative from Missouri in the Confederate Congress, 1864-65. Died in Austin, Travis County, Tex., September 28, 1903. Interment at Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Tex.
1900 Census, Austin,
Travis Tx - as marod Norton
1870 Census LaVaca, TX
1860 Census Round
Prairie, Callaway, Missouri
from Elias Poston
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