Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Thomas Norris

Natives of the Emerald isle have ever been known for their thrift and industry, and Mr. Norris is no exception to the rule. His parents, Thomas and Mary (Nash) Norris, were born in County Cork, Ireland, and immigrated to the United States in 1853, locating in South Reading, Massachusetts. In those days there were no five day trips, as are now made by our modern ocean greyhounds, and they spent three months en route in an old sailing vessel. The father resided in South Reading until 1862 and then removed to Delaware county, Iowa, accompanied by all his family with the exception of his son Thomas.

There he lived for two years and then removed to Spring Grove township, Linn county, locating near Troy Mills, but later going to Paris in the same county. He followed the occupation of farming all his life. In religion he was an adherent of the Methodist church and politically was a republican.

To Mr. and Mrs. Norris were born six children, as follows: Lucy, the wife of A. Dwindle, of Delaware county, Iowa; Benjamin, living in Central City, Linn county; James, who died in 1892; Thomas, the subject of this sketch; William, who resides in Manchester, Delaware county; and the sixth, who died in infancy.

Thomas Norris, Jr., was born in County Cork, Ireland, April 2, 1851. His early education was acquired in the public schools of Ireland, and when fifteen years old, in 1866, being impressed with the better opportunities in the United States, of which he had heard, he decided to come to this country and embarked on the steamer City of Manchester. Upon his arrival he started at once for Linn county, Iowa, and located at Spring Grove, where he spent two years with his father, later coming to Crawford county. One winter previous to his coming to this county he resided in Charles City, Floyd county, Iowa. Desiring to resume his education he attended school in Des Moines and later in Denison, and has made his headquarters at the latter town since 1869.

Here he resided for four years before removing to his farm. Mr. Noris made his fist land purchase in 1875-6, buying two hundred and seventy acres in Denison township, and there established his farm, which he called "Bonny View," as it commands a fine view of Denison. It is one of the most valuable pieces of property in Denison township, having all the most modem improvements. Mr. Norris makes a specialty of live stock, having some fine Poland China and Duroc Jersey hogs and shorthorn cattle upon his place. He also deals in horses, giving particular attention to Percherons.

The marriage of Mr. Norris took place September 21, 1878, when he was united to Miss Mary Anne Maloney, a daughter of Timothy and Nancy Maria (Smith) Maloney. She was born in Whiteside county, Illinois, and educated in the district schools of that state and the high school of Palo, Ogle county, Illinois. She taught for two years at Pleasant Hill school, near Manilla, from 1876 to 1878.

Her father was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, and came to the United States when a boy, in 1849, locating in New York state, near Springport. In 1856 he removed to Whiteside county, Illinois, residing there until 1876, when he came to Iowa, taking up his residence near Des Moines. Here he continued to engage in farming until his death, which occurred November 12, . 1890, at the age of eighty years. He and his wife were married in 1852. Mrs. Maloney was born in Seneca county, New York, September 21, 1820, and died October 20, 1899. She came of a distinguished family which can be traced back to the time of the American Revolution.

To Mr. and Mrs. Maloney six children were born, as follows: John Smith, living in Oklahoma; Andrew K., deceased; Mary Ellen, deceased; Mary Anne, the wife of our subject; Sarah Ella, deceased; Effie Elizabeth.

Mr. and Mrs. Norris are the parents of six children: James Harry, born July 7, 1879, is now a traveling salesman; Mary Effie, born February 3, 1883, is principal of the Westbrick school of Denison and resides at home; Ralph Arthur, born December 11, 1885, married Clara A. McAhron and is engaged in the shoe business in Denison; Paul Ford, born September 19, 1888, Vera Victoria, born October 30, 1896, and William John, born December 12, 1898, are all at home.

Mr. Norris has always taken an active interest in the affairs of his township and is at present one of the school directors. In politics he supports the republican party.

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.