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Poweshiek County

Norris Family

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Samuel Tuttle Norris was born 12 Feb 1810, in Stuben, New York. He was descended from the Norreys family, of Lancashire, England, which can be traced back to the 11th Century. Samuel was a farmer, and also learned the trade of plasterer and brick layer. He Married Miss Margaret Harris, of Virginia, on 28 Jul 1833, and they had 8 children: John N, Martha E, Nora E, B Corwin, Frances L, James W, Catherine A and Sarah E.  The family moved to Poweshiek County in 1857, when eldest son John Nathaniel Norris was 20.

Samuel Tuttle Norris 1810-1899

John Nathaniel Norris was born in Holmes County, Ohio on March 24, 1837. He was the first of eight children born to Samuel and Margaret Harris Norris. Samuel Norris was one of the early settlers in Brooklyn, Iowa, settling there in the mid 1650's. John's Great Grandfather Shadrach Norris fought in the Revolutionary War.

John N. Norris was first married to Jane "Jennie" Pershing on June 17, 1859. John and Jennie had two children: Edward Charles Norris and Clara Bell Norris.


John Nathaniel Norris 1837-1907

son of Samuel and Margaret

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This is a three-screw Colt model 1860 Army Revolver, used in the American Civil War, by Pvt John Nathaniel Norris, 4th Iowa Cavlalry. It was sold recently for $2950. Thanks to The Horse Soldier for permission to use this photo. Click for a much larger image.

~ See 'The Horse Soldier' for more information about the revolver.

On September, 23, 1861, in Grinnell, Iowa, John enlisted in Company E. 4th Regimental Iowa Cavalry. He was in the following engagements: Fourteen Mile Creek, Mississippi; Siege of Jackson, Mississippi; and Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was mustered out on Dec 3, 1863, in Mississippi and 11 days later mustered in as a Veteran Volunteer on Dec 14, 1863, in Vicksburg. He served another two years as a "Wagoner" and was mustered out in Atlanta, Georgia on August 8, 1865.

When he returned to Iowa his wife divorced him on December, 11, 1866. On December 27, 1866, he married Alsinda Mae Keysor. John and Alsinda had twelve children, all born in Poweshiek County, Iowa (except Samuel who was born in Missouri): Jacob, Martha, Samuel, Grace, Elzy, Elver, Elizabeth, Silby, Flora, Anna, Ora, and Lethe.

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John died on July 16, 1907, and Alsinda died on July 24, 1928. Both died in Montezuma, Iowa and are buried in the Brooklyn Memorial Cemetery in Brooklyn, Iowa.

John spent his entire married life in Poweshiek County except for five years in Newton County, Missouri and Labette County, Kansas. He returned from the Civil War with really poor eyesight. There are a couple of family stories about his eyesight. One was that he put tobacco juice in his eyes in order to stay awake while on sentry duty. The other was that a cannon ball landed near him and blew sand in his eyes. He received a blind pension of $5.00 a month from 1878 until his death. His widow then received a pension after his death She had to produce several witnesses to prove she was the widow of John N. Norris.

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John and Alsinda Norris

In his later years John delivered the mail between Malcom, Iowa and Ewart, Iowa. Alsinda drove the buggy and read the mail addresses.

~ Contributed by Gary Norris, June 24, 2014

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