Oscar O. Norton, whose present home is at 746 North California street in Stockton, is an old-time residnt of San Joaquin county, with whose various interests and affairs he has been closely identified since the year 1859, when he came out from the east and cast in his lot with California. Agriculture in its different phases has been the chief object of his attention and endeavors since coming here, and his unqualified success has brought him recognition as one of the foremost men of his class in San Joaquin county.
Born in Schuyler county, New York, January 1, 1832, he is a member of an old and prominent down-east family, of English extraction. His parents were Willis W. and Phebe (Gregory) Norton, his father a native of New York state and his mother of Connecticut. Medad Norton, a brother of Mr. Norton's paternal grandfather, was a soldier and a fifer in the Revolutionary war.
He was reared to man's estate in his native county of Schuyler, receiving his education in the county schools and at Starkey Academy. In his twenty-third year he went to Illinois, spending a short time in Peoria and later in Kane county, and in 1859 he started for California. He went to New York city and came by the isthmus route, sailing on the Star of the Golden Age, the journey beginning June 20 and ending at Frisco on July 15. He came in the same year to San Joaquin county, where for several years he followed, intermittently, carpentering. In 1864 he went to farming at a place about ten miles from Stockton, about a mile east of Cherokee Lane. Then settled on and for many years farmed the ranch which is now owned by his son, C. W. Norton, the present district attorney at Stockton. He located in 1881 on the fine farm which he still owns, on Cherokee lane, about ten miles north of Stockton, and that remained his homestead from 1881 to 1903. Since the latter year he has resided at his pleasant home in Stockton.
The ranch which he owns on Cherokee Lane, known as the Norton ranch, comprises at this writing one hundred and sixty acres, but its original size was two hundred and twenty-five acres. On this place twelve acres are devoted to grape culture, there is a fine almond grove of twenty acres, and fifteen acres are sown to alfalfa, the rest being in the other general crops. By his own efforts and able management this ranch has been brought to its high state of cultivation, it being regarded as one of the best in the county. Mr. Norton was a pioneer alfalfa-grower in the production of that crop with irrigation by means of windmills, proving that method a success not only to himself but to many others in the vicinity. The estate has numerous excellent buildings and all improvements necessary to class it among the most valuable of its size in this section of the state.
For several years Mr. Norton served as a trustee of the Live Oak school district. he affiliates with the Masonic order at Lodi, nd he and his wife are members of the Congregational church.
October 4, 1860, Mr. Norton married Miss Maria J. Elliott. She was born in Thornton, New Hampshire, October 8, 1836, a daughter of Edmund and Sarah S. Elliott, both natives of New Hampshire. Her father came out to California in 1858, and in the following year the other members of the family came out across the plains to join him, settling near the ranch which Mr. Norton now owns. Mrs. Norton has four surviving brothers and three sisters, all residents of California. Mr. and Mrs. Norton have three children: Charles W. is the well known district attorney residing at Stockton; Alice E. is the wife of A. S. Lasell, of San Joaquin county, now residing on the Norton homestead; and Arthur L. is employed in the government civil service department in San Francisco.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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