Jack Wilcox - Ancestors, Family & Descendants

Jack & Bet (1950c)

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Norton History 1795 to 1910


NORTON HISTORY for Betty Wilcox's ancestors


James Norton I (27 July 1795 – 31 August 1862) was a solicitor and public figure in early colonial New South Wales. Admitted to practice in England, he arrived in Sydney in September 1818. First wife Jane Mackenzie.

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 2, (MUP), 1967

James Norton (1795-1862), solicitor, was born on 27 July 1795, the third son of John Norton, of Hastings, England, and his wife Mary, née Bradford. He received a legal education and was admitted to practise as an attorney. He decided to try his fortune as a lawyer in New South Wales and sailed as captain's clerk in the Maria, which arrived at Sydney in September 1818. He brought with him £800. Only four other solicitors were then practising in the colony. His father, a brother and three sisters followed him to Sydney and the family received a large grant of land in the Mulgoa district with a six-mile (9.6 km) frontage to the Nepean River where James Norton also was granted 950 acres (384 ha), which he farmed. The legal practice flourished and in 1826 he took William Barker into partnership. Norton was counsel for the Crown in many big cases.

In his first year in Sydney he became an active member of a committee to form a savings bank. In May 1825 he became first registrar of the archdeaconry of Sydney, and served in it for thirty years. In 1834 he bought Elswick, a 100-acre (40 ha) property on the Parramatta Road. There he had an old-world garden with groups of roses, bamboos and gardenias, peacocks, a pond rich in eels, and an orchard. A row of cottages stood behind the house for the convict servants. He won several prizes for his flowers and plants at the Australian Floral and Horticultural Society Exhibition in 1841.

Norton was a shareholder in the Australian Agricultural Co. and a director of the Bank of Australia from April 1826 until its collapse in 1843. He was also director of the Bank of New South Wales from February 1823 until May 1826, when he resigned. He was nominated to the first Legislative Council under responsible government on 16 September 1856 and framed many bills of a legal character. He took little part after 1859 because of ill health and his term of five years lapsed on 13 May 1861. Among his many pamphlets he published Essays and Reflections in Australia (Sydney, 1852) and Australian Essays on Subjects Political, Moral, and Religious (London, 1857). He declared himself undeluded 'by the clap-trap of free trade', and wrote Facts for the Protectionists (Sydney, 1857) in refutation of John Dunmore Lang's article of the same name. In support of the Protectionists he also published Free Trade and Protection (Sydney, 1857) and The Condition of the Colony of New South Wales (Sydney, 1860).

On 10 January 1824 he married Jane, daughter of Alexander McKenzie, cashier of the Bank of New South Wales. They had eight sons and two daughters. His wife died on 23 March 1840 at Elswick and on 1 February 1843 he married Marian, only daughter of John Backhouse, of Ipswich, England, by whom he had three sons and two daughters. Norton died on 31 August 1862 at Elswick, and a few months later his widow sailed for England where she settled.

Norton had a rough manner and was very outspoken but was kind and conscientious and regarded with affection by those in close contact with him.


James Norton II (1824-1906), solicitor, was born on 5 December 1824 in Sydney, eldest son of James Norton and his first wife Jane, née Mackenzie.

On 1 June 1854 at Longford, Tasmania, he married Harriet Mary (d.1860), daughter of deputy commissary general Thomas Walker, and in 1859 bought Ecclesbourne, Double Bay. On 31 December 1862 he married Isabella, sister of Professor W. J. Stephens.

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

James Norton (1824-1906), solicitor, was born on 5 December 1824 in Sydney, eldest son of James Norton and his first wife Jane, née Mackenzie. He was educated at W.and W. T. Cape's schools, Sydney College in 1835-39, by Rev. J. F. Walpole as tutor in 1840 and under Rev. Robert Forrest at Campbelltown in 1841. In 1842 he was articled to his father, admitted a solicitor on 2 July 1848 and joined his father as Norton & Son, later Norton, Son & Barker. On 1 June 1854 at Longford, Tasmania, he married Harriet Mary (d.1860), daughter of deputy commissary general Thomas Walker, and in 1859 bought Ecclesbourne, Double Bay. On 31 December 1862 he married Isabella, sister of Professor W. J. Stephens. A notary public from 1860, Norton became senior partner of his firm, Norton, Smith & Co., and solicitor to the University of Sydney from 1886. His clients included Sir Edward Macarthur.

Norton was also a director of the Australian Gaslight Co., the North Shore Gas Co. and the Australian Joint Stock Bank, a fellow of St Paul's College in the University of Sydney from 1869, an alderman of Double Bay from 1873, an elected trustee of the Australian Museum in 1874-1906, and a trustee of Hyde, Phillip and Cook Parks from 1878 and chairman in 1894-1904. A trustee of the Free Public Library from 1878, he was its chairman in 1890-1906 and as D. S. Mitchell's legal adviser was greatly interested in the building of the Mitchell Library. In 1879 he became a trustee of the Zoological Station, Watson's Bay, and was president of the royal commission on the working of the Real Property Acts and on 7 October was nominated to the Legislative Council. A strong critic of the purity of Sydney's water supply, he advocated its filtering. On 2 May 1884 he became postmaster-general in Alexander Stuart's ministry, but Governor Loftus reported that although Norton was highly 'esteemed his appointment has not been favourably received by public opinion'. When the ministry fell in October 1885 he was criticized by the Daily Telegraph as a 'respectable incapable'.

A member of the Royal Society of New South Wales from 1873, Norton became a founder of the Linnean Society of New South Wales in 1875 and served on its council in 1878-79 and 1881-1906, as treasurer in 1882-97 and president in 1899 and 1900. An 'observer rather than a writer', he studied the indigenous flora and was an ardent horticulturist and vice-president of the Horticultural Society of New South Wales in the 1870s. He met informally with Stephens, R. D. FitzGerald and Edwin Daintree to compare their botanical collections. Norton was very proud of the 'trees and shrubs, especially those of indigenous species, which he cultivated in his fine old garden'. Each spring when his South African bulbs flowered at Ecclesbourne he had a garden party and delighted in his country estate at Springwood where he safeguarded the native plants and compiled a census of its flora. In June 1890 he read a paper on Australian Birds. Useful and Noxious to the conference of fruit-growers and vine-growers, which was published in its report. Earlier that year St Andrews University awarded him an honorary doctorate of laws. In 1891 he was elected a member of the Royal Geographical Society of Australia. He had a fine collection of Australian books and was a committee member of the Union Club.

Norton died at Ecclesbourne on 18 July 1906 and was buried in the Anglican section of Rookwood cemetery. He was survived by a son and two daughters of his first wife, and by his second wife and their son and daughter. His estate was sworn for probate at £43,000. FitzGerald named a rare Blue Mountain orchid Adenochilus nortoni after him.


Edward Norton m. Alice Wilkenson (who was left with a Wilkenson family in Sydney. Her parents (name not known) disappeared en route to India.

The 12 Children of Edward and Alice -

1. Arthur m. Edith Priddle (a cousin)

2. Hubert did not marry

3. Edward m. Ellsie Herbert

4. Cecil m. Ellena Kent-Hughes

5. Ernest (Billy) m. Helena Hague-Smith (Betty's parents)

6. Walter m. Ester Taylor

7. Alfred m. Sybil Wright (no children, had a 2nd marriage ?)

8. Oswald m. May Ogilve (4 children)

9. ? Died young?

10. Ethel m. George Waller?

11. Gertrude m. Robert Gill

12.Murial m. Jack Gill

Edward Norton owned “Tiara” Walcha, NSW which had been purchased in the 1820's


Ernest (Billy) Norton b. 1862 d. 1944 m. 1902 Helena Hague-Smith b. 1872 d. 1971

The 4 children of Ernest & Helena

1. Edward died age 35 in an accident

2. Alice (Girl) m. Dudley Strelitz

3. Helen m. Tom Cordingly

4. Edith (Betty) m. Jack Wilcox