John Thomas Norton
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

JOHN THOMAS NORTON—As a successful lawyer and an able and efficient public official, John Thomas Norton has made a name and a place for himself among the notably able members of his profession. For more than three decades he has been engaged in legal practice in the city of Troy, and there are few citizens of the community who are better known or more highly esteemed than is he.

Thomas Norton, father of John Thomas Norton, was born in Ireland and came to this country when he was a young man. He finally settled in Troy, New York, where for many years he was superintendent of the Clinton Iron Works, and where he was one of the leaders in Democratic political affairs. For many years he served as a member of the Board of Aldermen, and his discernment and sagacity were much depended upon by his colleagues in the Democratic party as well as by his business associates. His death occurred August 24, 1888, and that of his wife, Rose (Shattuck) Norton, January 20, 1898.

John Thomas Norton was born in Troy, New York, February 4, 1865, and received his early education in the public schools of his native city. When his high school course was completed he matriculated in Williams College, from which he was graduated in 1886, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He then began the study of law in Troy, but later went to Buffalo, New York, where he completed his studies and was admitted to the bar in October, 1888. The following year he returned to Troy and entered into partnership with M. H. Myers, under the firm name of Myers & Norton, which connection he continued until the death of Mr. Myers in 1893. Since that time he has continued to practice alone. Early in his professional career he was appointed corporation counsel for the village of Greenbush, Rensselaer County, New York, and in 1894 he was elected to represent his district in the State Assembly of New York, carrying the election by a majority of 750, the quality of his service as an assemblyman being best evidenced by the fact that the following year, in 1895, he was reelected, this time carrying the election by a majority of 2,147. In 1902 he was appointed corporation counsel for the city of Troy, and in 1911 he was made deputy attorney-general of the State of New York, in charge of the Conservation Bureau of the attorney general's office. The duties of that responsible official position he continued to efficiently fill until 1914. During the incumbencies of Governor Glynn Mr. Norton acted as counsel to the governor. As a public official he has made an enviable reputation for ability, faithfulness and close adherence to the highest ideals of public service. Though he has held many important public offices, his political career has not been entirely made up of successes. He was the candidate of the Democratic party for district attorney, for Secretary of State, and for judge of the Court of Appeals, in each of which campaigns he was defeated. His service, however, in the various public positions which he has held has been of so high a degree of efficiency that his reputation is well established and he is recognized as one of the progressive and conscientious political men of his party. He has won the esteem of his professional associates in a high degree, and though his successes, both professionally and in public service, have been many, he is one of those who always remain a student. He keeps constantly in touch with the larger aspects of the profession through membership in the Rensselaer County Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association, and steadily continues to serve the community in which he lives by giving his support to all those matters which are planned for the advancement of the welfare of the city. He is a member of the Williams College Club, of New York City; of the Troy Club; the Van Schaick Island Golf Club; and of the Old Guard; and he is also a member of the Troy Citizens' Corps. He is president of the Rockwood Manufacturing Company, of Fulton county, and of the Forbes Manor Realty Company, of Rensselaer. His religious affiliation is with the Catholic church.

John Thomas Norton married, on January i6, 1891, at Buffalo, New York, Margaret Hammond, who was born in Troy, New York, but was a resident of Buffalo, New York. She died February 11, 1922, leaving four children: 1. Josephine Hammond, who received her early education in the public schools of Troy and then became a student in Notre Dame University, of Maryland, from which she was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. 2. Margaret H., who also received her early education in the public schools of Troy and continued her studies in the Notre Dame University, but did not graduate from that institution. 3. Thomas John, who received his early education in the public schools of Troy, and then prepared for college in Troy Academy. Upon the completion of his preparatory course he matriculated in Williams College, where he continued his studies until the entrance of the United States into the World War, at which time he enlisted and was sent to France with the Hoosick Falls Company, of the 105th Troy Regiment. 4. Helen Rose, who after receiving her early education in the public schools of Troy, became a student in the Emma Willard School, of Troy. She married Allen Archiland Roff, of Cohoes, New York.

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