Biography of William J. Norton
Bristol County, MA Biographies

Norton, William Jouvet, was born in Newport, R. I., June 9, 1816, son of Benjamin and Mary (Jouvet) Norton. His father died before he reached the age of ten, and he was thus early obliged to shift for himself, being but eleven years old when he was employed in a wood schooner, which freighted wood down the Connecticut River. A few years later he showed his adventurous spirit by coming to New Bedford to look for employment. His father had been a cooper, and soon after his arrival he found a chance to learn this trade and decided to embrace it, with the result that he began and completed an apprenticeship of five years and four months, and then shipped as a cooper in the whale ship "Huntress," and in her circumnavigated the globe three time, being finally made second mate. He then made a long voyage as a cooper in the whale ship "America," and after its completion engaged as a cooper with Isaac Bly of New Bedford, continuing in the employ of Mr. Bly until 1851, and then, in association with James Cannon and Joseph Peck, established a cooperage business on Fish Island. At the end of the first year Mr. Cannon retired, and Mr. Peck retired at the end of the second year. Mr. Norton continued the business alone till 1876 when he retired, realizing that the steady decline of the whaling industry must in time be fatal to his business. Mr. Norton is one of the best known of the older business men of New Bedford, and has served in the city government both as alderman and councilman. He married, first, Hannah M. Sisson, and of their ten children three survive: George E., Charles F. and Nancy A., wife of Charles G. Taber, of New Bedford. For his second wife he married, in 1865, Mrs. Eliza Dow. and of four children one survives, Lewis A.

Our county and its people
A descriptive and biographical history of
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Prepaired and published under the auspices of
The Fall River News and The Taunton Gasette
With assistance of Hon. Alanson Borden
The Boston History Company, Publishers, 1899.

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