Biography of Paul G. Norris
Poweshiek County, IA Biographies





Paul G. Norris, who for about nine years has been engaged in the practice of law in Grinnell, his course reflecting credit and honor upon a name that has long been prominently connected with the legal profession in this city, was here born on the 5th of January, 1878, his parents being David W. and Lizzie S. (Gifford) Norris, the former a native of Maryland and the latter of Illinois.

The father came to Poweshiek county, Iowa, with his parents in 1863, the family home being established upon a farm four miles north of Chester. David Norris was then fourteen years of age. He was reared to manhood upon the farm, aiding in the arduous task of developing the land and of cultivating the fields year by year. He pursued his more specifically literary education in Iowa College at Grinnell, from which he was graduated with the class of 1872. He then took up the profession of teaching and for some years was principal of the schools of Tama City, Iowa, and also of the Marshalltown schools, but, thinking to find more congenial and profitable labor in the field of law, he began preparation for the bar in Chicago and was admitted to practice in Montezuma on the 23d of April, 1878. Following his admission he was employed for a time by C. W. H. Beyer, a mortgage banker, and later formed a partnership with J. E. Dodge, now judge of the supreme court of Wisconsin. They opened law offices in Grinnell under the firm style of Norris & Dodge, but were associated in practice for only a short time when Mr. Dodge removed to Milwaukee, after which Mr. Norris remained in the profession alone for a time. From 1885 until 1890 he was identified with A. L. Preston under the firm name of Norris & Preston. He continued alone until 1902, when he was joined by his son Paul G. Norris under the firm style of Norris & Norris, a relation that was maintained until the death of the father on the 22d of May, 1907, when he was in the fifty ninth year of his age. He had long been accounted one of the prominent attorneys of Foweshiek county and his place at the bar of this section of the state was a conspicuous and enviable one. In early life he gave his political allegiance to the democratic party but in 1896, when the republican party declared for sound money and the democratic party for a currency which regarded as unstable, he affiliated with the former and indorsed its principles until his death. He served for ten years as a member of the town council of Grinnell and for many years was identified with the board of education here, being very active in educational work. He was also a valued member of the Masonic lodge and also of the Knights of Pythias.

In early manhood David Norris was married to Miss Lizzie S. Gifford, a daughter of Edmund Gifford, who was graduated from the Harvard Law School and afterward located in Elgin, Illinois, where his active life was spent. He enlisted in the Union army at the time of the Civil war and served for four years, rising to the rank of major. His declining years were passed in Grinnell, Iowa, where he made his home with his daughter, Mrs. Lizzie Norris, with whom he continued until his demise. Mrs. Norris is still living in Grinnell, where she has an extensive circle of warm friends.

Paul G. Norris was here reared and pursued his education in Grinnell College, being graduated with the class of 1899, at which time the Bachelor of Philosophy degree was conferred upon him. The following year he entered the law department of Harvard University and was graduated with the class of 1902. He then returned home and on the 9th of October, 1902, was admitted to the bar. He became associated with his father in practice under the firm style of Norris & Norris and after his father's death was joined by Alfred Burroughs under the firm style of Norris & Burroughs, Mr. Burroughs having been associated with David Norris for over twenty years. His practice is large and of a distinctively representative character. He is faithful to his clients, fair to his adversaries and candid to the court. In many cases he has exhibited the possession of every faculty of which a lawyer may be proud skill in the presentation of his own evidence, marked ability in cross examination, persuasiveness before the jury, strong grasp of every feature of the case, ability to secure favorable rulings from the judge, unusual familiarity with human nature and untiring industry.

On the 20th of May, 1903, Mr. Norris was married to Miss Edna L. Hand, of Ottumwa, Iowa, a daughter of the Rev. Leroy S. Hand, a Congregational minister now residing in Grinnell and filling a pulpit in Vancleve. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Norris have been born three children: Paul G., Edmond H. and Elizabeth A. The Norris household is a hospitable one and the parents have a circle of friends in Grinnell almost coextensive with the circle of their acquaintance.

Mr. Norris votes with the republican party and has served for one term as city attorney but prefers to concentrate his energies upon the private practice of law. He belongs to the Commercial Club of Grinnell and is interested in all that pertains to public progress and improvement, therefore giving his support to many projects for the general good.

From:
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1911


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