ABRAHAM W. NORTON.
The death of the late Abraham W. Norton, of Napa, caused universal regret and sorrow throughout that community,
for he was one of the county's most highly respected citizens. As the day, with its morning of hope and promise,
its noontide of activity, its evening of completed and successful efforts, ending in the grateful rest and quiet
of the night, so was the life of this honored man. His career was a long, busy and useful one and he was to the
end a genial, kindly friend and gentleman, whom it was a pleasure to meet.
Mr. Norton was born on the 7th of May, 1827, in Herkimer county, New York, and in the schools of that locality
he secured his education. At the age of eighteen years he went to Syracuse, New York, and was there apprenticed
to the trade of a blacksmith. He continued to follow that vocation until 1852, when he started for California,
sailing from New York on the steamer Permelia for the Isthmus of Panama. Arriving in San Francisco on the 1st of
May, 1852, he came at once to Napa, where he went to work on the farm of his brother, Martin Norton. Later he engaged
in the blacksmith business in Napa, in which he continued until 1872. He then bought an interest in the firm of
B. F. Sawyer & Company, which is now known as the Sawyer Tanning Company, and later became manager of the company
here. He showed marked business ability and enjoyed the esteem of his business associates, as is evidenced by the
fact that the San Francisco branch of the firm, the Norton Tanning Company, was named in his honor.
Mr. Norton was a man of fine public spirit, and his influence and his means were freely given in the advancement
of measures for the public good. He was one of the founders of Napa College and contributed liberally to the fund
for its buildings. He served for twenty years as a trustee of the institution and was very intimately related with
its early career. Religiously Mr. Norton was a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church
and gave generously to the support of the church and its various societies. Fraternally he was a member of the
Free and Accepted Masons, while his social relations with those with whom he came in contact were always of the
most pleasant and agreeable nature. He was a friend to everyone and all who knew him were his friends. His career
was complete and rounded in its beautiful simplicity, and he did his full duty in all the relations of life. He
died beloved by those near to him and respected and esteemed by his fellow citizens.
Mr. Norton was twice married, first on October 28, 1855, to Miss Mary E. Johnson, who was born in Genesee county,
New York, May 1, 1831, and whose death occurred in Napa, California, February 6, 1875. To this union five children
were born. On May 30, 1876, Mr. Norton was married to Mrs. Frances (Morton) Harrington, who was born and reared
in Owosso, Michigan, and they became the parents of a son, Burt M.
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Napa County, CA
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