Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

L.A. Norton


L.A. Norton, the fifth child of a family of nine, was born in Chautauqua, Franklin County, New York in 1819. His parents being poor, he set off to ear his own living at the age of eleven. He worked at various jobs and then, at age seventeen ended up in Canada where he joined the Patriot forces revolting against the British government in 1937. He was wounded and taken prisoner.

Norton ended up, after his war experience, in Chicago, at time when the city purportedly had no more than 1,500 inhabitants. He enlisted in Twenty-second Illinois Volunteers during the war with Mexico. He served through the Mexican War.

He ends up, by some fashion, in the study of law in the office of W.D. Barry, at St. Charles, Illinois. He was then admitted to the bar, and shortly thereafter set out for California. He reached Placerville in September, 1852 where he took up mining, allegedly with some success, and then went on to San Francisco where he bought a law library. He began the practice of law at Placerville, in 1853.

In the summer of 1855, Orson Hyde, a Mormon elder residing in a part of Utah territory that would become a part of Nevada, arrived in Placerville and pursuaded Norton to accept the office of district attorney in the new Utah territory settlement.

In the fall of 1857, he settled at Heraldsburg in Sonoma county, where he spent the remainder of his life.

"Colonel Norton loved poetry and wrote some verse."

Colonel Horton died at Healdsburg on the 16th of August, 1891. He was survived by three children, Mary Elizabeth Nevin, Edward M., a lawyer, and Lewis A.

[Source: Oscar, History of the Bency and Bar of California 595-614 (Los Angeles: Comerical Printing House, 1901)][The quote is at p. 614]


practiced law.