Thomas Norris was born about 1608 in Congham, County Norfolk, England. He ran away from home as a boy of eleven years of age and went to sea. In those days, he probably started out as a cabin boy. As he grew older, Thomas became a sailor. He followed the sea for many years. He landed in Nansemond County, Virginia colony, about 1630 or 1631 and chose to remain in America. Descended from an old family of County Norfolk, England. He was the first member of the family to settle in the American colonies. He emigrated to St. Mary's County, Maryland colony, about 1634. He was associated with the trading adventurer, William Claiborne. In 1637, Thomas married Ann Hynson, the daughter of Thomas Hynson, Esquire, of Nansemond County, Virginia colony, and Kent County, Maryland colony.
After their marriage, Thomas became a planter and was associated with his brother-in-law, Daniel Glover, who had married Ann's sister. Thomas and Daniel were transported to Talbot County, Maryland colony, by John Morgan. In 1665, the two planters bought four hundred acres of land in Talbot County. Thomas Norris had a land grant of two hundred acres called "Norrisderry" on the Chester River. He died just prior to November, 1675, in the midst of another property transaction. It was completed by his son, Thomas, Jr.
The following information is quoted from the original manuscript of Harry Alexander Davis, 1875-?, entitled "The Norris Family of Maryland and Virginia, Washington, DC, 1941, 4 v. port. 29x23 cm, Microfilm 88/5447 (cs), Call no. CS71.N858 1941, Subject: Norris family (Thomas Norris, d 1676), Library of Congress :
" The first of the name in the Province of Virginia was born in Congham, County Norfolk, England circa 1608. He ran way from home when a lad of about eleven years and went to sea which he followed until the time of his arrival in the Province of Virginia in 1630-31.
From his associates he evidently settled in Nansemond County, and being of an adventurous and roving nature he became a follower of William Claiborne in his trading adventures.
It is historically well known that the earliest settlers in what later became the Province of Maryland were the mebers of the trading posts established by Captain William Claiborne on what was called 'Kent Island', practically most of the upper Eastern SHore, in 1627. By 1633 this was quite a sizable colony, all being Church of England followers and from the Province of Virginia.
In 1634 Lord Baltimore settled in St. Mary's, Maryland and there ensued quite a controversy between Claiborne and Baltimore which can be found in other sources and need not be recapitulated here.
Kent Island for all intents and purposes was considered as a part of St. Mary's county with no definite separate records until October 1640. (Md. Arch. i, 39,55,87,361;iii, 62, 105.)
It is known that many of Claiborne's followers actually moved to St. Mary's county during the time of the Claiborne-Baltimore controversy while some of them returned to Virginia.
There is record evidence that Thomas Norris was actually in St. Mary's County, Maryland during the year 1637, i.e.:
1. Thomas was married during the year 1637 to Ann, daughter of Thomas Hynson, of Nansemond County, Virginia and Kent Island, Maryland and transported her to St. Mary's County, Maryland in that year (Records Annapolis 1637)
2. One Michael Lums died in St. Mary's Co., Maryland some time during the year 1638, his will was probated 4 Jan. 1639, and his estate was administered 7 May 1640 when the Provincial Court ordered the payment of his debts and among those to whom he was indebted was 'THOS. NORRIS.' (Prov. Ct. Rec. Annapolis, also Md. Arch. iv, 59-60,89,90)
There are no deed records in St. Mary's county, Maryland prior to 1831, those prior to that date having been destroyed by fire. There are a few ABSTRACTS taken from Annapolis records but they do not cover the early period. There is also a lapse in the Land Records of Annapolis from 1634 to 1658 hence the name of Thomas and his associates do not show.
It appears that after his marriage Thomas settled down and became a planter and was associated with his brother-in-law, Daniel Glover, in St. Mary's county and was possibly associated with his father-in-law in Nansemond County, Virginia.
In 1643 Thomas Norris made a trip to Nansemond County, Virginia to the home of his father-in-law, he was reported by one John Carter who secured head rights. In 1647 he made another trip to 'Nansemum' county, Virginia and was reported by one L. Peeters, who also secured head rights. It can be learned by following up many of these cases that some of the supposed immigrants in both Virginia and Maryland are really persons engaged in business and whoever transported them from colony to colony claimed land for bringing them into the Province.
Thomas Norris and Daniel Glover, his brother-in-law, whose wife was sister to Ann Hynson Norris, were 'Transported' to Talbot County, Maryland in 1663 at which time they assigned their rights for land to one John Morgan, of Talbot Co.; Morgan did not make use of these rights until the year 1665. (Land records Lib. 9, fol. 313) We investigated the actions of this John Morgan and the records disclose he specialized in 'Transporting' persons to and from Virginia to St. Mary's county, Maryland, and from St. Mary's Co., to Talbot Co., Maryland, thus securing head rights to land which he disposed of for a 'consideration.'
There does not appear any definite and distinct record of the date when Talbot was lined off from Kent as a separate jurisdiction. It is first mentioned in the Council in 1660-1661, and no original boundaries defined clearly. It, however, appears that from 1661 to 1665 Talbot embraced all territory from Kent Narrows and south of Kent Island to the Delaware line and Choptank river. In 1665 definite boundary was established between Kent and Talbot.
The first Court of Talbot County was held at the house of William Coursey 25 Apr. 1662. Seven Justices are named and among them is THOMAS HYNSON. At a Court held at the house of William Coursey November 1663 Edward Lloyd takes his seat as a Justice. It appears that Thomas Hynson had resigned or failed of reappointment as we find him foreman of a jury of inquest and among the jury we find the following names of interest: Thomas Hynson, Jr.; John Hynson; Daniel Glover; and THOMAS NORRIS, sons and sons-in-law of said Thomas Hynson, Senior. (Ct. Rec. Talbot Co., also Hist. of Talbot Co., Tilghman, pp 203-205)
In 1665 Thomas Norris and Daniel Glover bought 400 acres of land jointly from Cornelius Comegys. Thomas Norris deeded his share of this land to William Lads on 26 July 1668, his wife does not appear in this deed. (Deeds Lib. 1, fol. 43)
In a Power of Attorney dated 20 June 1670 from Ann Hynson, wife of Thomas Hynson, Junior, to Thomas Norris, she empowers said Norris to represent her in the sale of a parcel of land called 'Grayson's Rectified', granted to Thomas Hynson, Senior, descd. (Deed Lib. 1, fo. 110) The sale of this land is recorded on 20 June 1670, Thomas Hynson, Jr. to John Hynson, land on east fork of Wickliffe being one half of 800 acres formerly owned by Thomas Hynson, decsd., father of said Thomas and John, etc. (Deeds Lib. 1, fol. 109)
In 1673 Thomas Norris, of Talbot County, Maryland had a grant of 200 acres of land called 'Norrisderry', on Chester river. (Lib. 17, fol. 315)
On 6 Nov. 1675 Thomas Norris, of Talbot County, Maryland, bricklayer, (son of Thomas Norris, Senior) deeded to John Power 200 acres of land on Chester river for 13,000 pounds of tobacco. In this deed the land is called "Marklinborough' and it appears identical with the description of land granted above in 1673.
From the above record Thomas Norris, Senior, died just prior to Nov. 1675 and intestate. He was evidently negotiating the sale of the 200 acres of land at the time of his demise and it was concluded by Thomas Norris, Junior, eldest son and heir at law.
Ann Norris, his wife, was evidently deceased prior to July 1668 as she does not appear in the deed of that date as waiving dower, etc."
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