John H. Norton
John H. Norton, who is a son of William and Triphena Norton, was born in Milton Falls, Vt., May 20, 1861, obtaining a liberal education in the public schools of his native town, working on the farm in the meantime.
After he had passed the age of fourteen he left the farm and entered the employ of Messrs. Hannah, Lay & Co. He first became connected as a mariner on the lakes on the steamer City of Grand Rapids in 1879. He then shipped on the bark S.B. Pomeroy, and schooners Lucerne and Corsican, afterward becoming wheelsman on the steamer Don M. Dickinson, of which Captain Rose was in command. This was followed by a season on the steamer Caldwell. He then entered the employ of Capt. B. Boutell on the tug Annie Moiles, after which he went west and railroaded until 1884, when he shipped on the propeller Menominee until September, when he returned home. That fall he leased a threshing machine, which he ran until the harvests of the farmers were reduced to grain. There being a vacancy at that time in the district school Mr. Norton was chosen by the directors as teacher, a position which he filled to their satisfaction.
It was during the months passed in this literary occupation that prompted Mr. Norton to become a law student, and he commenced to study and read law at Alma, Michigan. After the usual course of study he was admitted to the Bar by Judge Henry Hart, and soon afterward entered into partnership with James L. Clark, Esq., a combination which remained in force two years, at the end of which period Mr. Norton bought out his associate's interest and conducted business alone.
In the spring of 1891 he disposed of his law practice and went to Duluth, Minn. Arriving there, he conceived the idea of becoming a marine lawyer, and in order to more perfectly school himself in that branch of legal lore he decided to more perfectly learn the duties of mariner. He therefore entered the employ of Capt. B.B. Inman, and sailed some of his tugs. That winter he opened a law office, and devoted his time and talents to the study of marine law and admiralty practice, and during the last eight years has fortified him- self in his business, and as a natural consequence has obtained a large share of the practice in and about Duluth, and is also a member of the different United States courts. He is the possessor of one of the finest law libraries in the state of Minnesota.
He is a senior member of the firm of J.H. Norton & Co., being associated in the vessel brokerage business with Capt. L.E. King. He owns a half interest in the tug Minnie Karl, belonging to the Stevens Towing Company. A thoroughly practical sailor, being a member of the American Association of Masters and Pilots of Steam Vessels, Harbor No. 44, of which he was the first treasurer and delegate to the nationa[sic] voyage to Washington in the winter of 1896-97. He holds first-class pilots papers for the entire chain of lakes, and is also a member of the Stationary Engineers Society.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.