Bio: Norway, Alanson C. (Commemorative Bio - 1895)

Poster: Crystal Wendt


Alanson C. Norway

Alanson C. Norway, who is now living on a small arm of forty acres within the corporation limits of Merrill, Lincoln County, is one of the honored pioneers of that section, having arrived in that place in 1851, when the city was called Jenny, and had not more than one hundred white inhabitants, though there were a great many Indians still living in the neighborhood. Wild fame was to be had in abundance, and furnished many a meal for the early settlers.

The State of New York has furnished many worthy citizens to Lincoln County, not least among whom is numbered Mr. Norway, who was born in the town of Lisbon, St. Lawrence Co., N. Y., June 11, 1824, and is a son of Charles Norway, a native of New Jersey. The grandfather, who bored the name of Charles, came of this country from Scotland when a young man, locating New Jersey, where he carried on farming. Later he removed to New York, where both he and his wife died. In their family where six children-five sons: William, John, James, Gregor and Charles, and one daughter whose name is not known.

The father of our subject was reared to manhood on the home farm, after which he married Esther Sheldon, a daughter of Nehemiah and Sarah Sheldon, and to them were born nine children; Alanson C., William and Jeremiah, who are still living; and Jerod, Sheldon, Geddin, Elizabeth, Clarissa and Sarah, who have passed away. William and Geddin were soldiers during the Civil War, fighting Indians in Minnesota in 1862. The father followed agricultural pursuits most of his life, though at an early day he ran a flatboat between Ogdensburg, N. Y., and Montreal. He was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal Church, and a man of high moral principles, while politically he was an abolitionist. His death occurred in New York in 1872. His wife, a woman of firm, decided character, died in 1883, greatly beloved by all who knew her.

Alanson C. Norway, the subject of this sketch, was the second in his father’s family, and upon the home farm he remained, assisting in the labors of the field until he had attained his majority. He was allowed to attend school only about two months during the year, and his literary education was completed at the age of eighteen. He worked some for others while sill in New York, and at one time went with a raft of square lumber to Quebec. In the winter on 1849 Mr. Norway came west, stopping at Saginaw, Mich., where he was employed in the woods until the following spring, when he continued his journey to Walworth County, Wis. In that county he engaged in farm labor during the summer, but in the fall returned to new York, where he remained all winter, and then again came to Wisconsin, spending another summer in Walworth County. At the end of that time, in the fall of 1851, he came to Merrill, locating here when the town had but one industry-an old sawmill owned by Andrew Warren. For one season Mr. Norway worked in the lumber woods, after which he made a contract with Jones & Goodard to cut and put in their logs. From that time on he followed lumbering for a number of years, meeting with a well-deserved success. In 1866, owing to poor health, he gave up that occupation and purchased a hotel, known then as the “Jenny House,” but later the name was changed to the “Merrill.” This he successfully conducted for sixteen years, when he built his present home on the bank of Prairie River, a beautiful spot, and his place consists of forty acres. For some time he owned an addition to West Merrill, but this he disposed of in 1880.

In Merrill, September 1, 1856, Mr. Norway wedded Martha Crown, a native of Groton, Caledonia Co., Vt., born September 13, 1838, to Alanson and Amity (Stebbins) Crown. She is one of a family of ten children: Harriet, Maria, Moses, Martha, Horace, Hannah, Cynthia, Aldin, Orin and Frank. The parents were born in Caledonia County, Vt., and removed to Wisconsin with their family in 1848, locating in Green Lake County, where the father’s death occurred in 1866. He was a farmer by occupation. The mother, who died in 1880, was a daughter of Horace Stebbins, a blacksmith, of Vermont, in which State he married Hannah Eaton, and to them were born a family of four sons and four daughters. The paternal great-grandfather of Mrs. Norway was a native of Scotland, and came when a small boy with his parents to America, locating in Vermont. Crown Point, that State, was named in honor of his father. Ebins Crowns, Mrs. Norway’s grandfather was captured by the Indians when a boy about nine years of age, and held by them until he was sixteen, when he was assisted to escape by a young squaw, who never dared to return to her tribe. He was afterward employed at Crown Point as an interpreter by the traders. Alanson Crown and his wife were earnest Christian people, holding membership for many years with the Methodist Episcopal Church.

To Mr. and Mrs. Norway were born six children, only two of whom survive-the eldest and youngest-Charles A., and Myron. Those deceased are: Homer, who died while young; Clarissa, who died at the age of three; and Burton, who died in infancy. In politics, Mr. Norway is a steadfast adherent to the principles formulated by the Republican Party, although not a seeker after official positions. For six years he served as county judge of Lincoln County; had been chairman of the town of and city boards; and was also assessor in which offices he has served with credit for himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned. In religious views he is liberal, believing that everyone has a right to his own opinion, and being endowed with many virtues and a genial, hospitable manner, he receives the respect and confidence of the entire community.

---Source: Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin Counties of Waupaca, Portage, Wood, Marathon, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Langlade and Shawano. publ. 1895 by J. H. Beers & Co., Chicago 1110 pages, illustrated; Page 102-103


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