Back When in Benton County

Part 10

Hopestill and Lucius Norton

by Chralotte L. Wirfs

Before leaving Missouri, the Kings agreed that Hopestill's younger brother would relieve her at driving the wagon.  Her husband, Lucius Carolus Norton, was not well and spent much of the journey bedded down.

Hopestill and Lucius were first cousins.  Both had been born in Madison County, Ohio, "Hope" on February 7, 1818, and Lucius, son of Solomon and Cynthia Knapp Norton, on December 26, 1818.  They ere married in Ohio October 7, 1839 and had two sons, Isaac, age 3, and Wiley, age 1, when they came west in 1845.

The Norton's staked their donation land claims in the center of Kings Valley between Price and Maxfield creeks and extending onto the West Bank of the Luckiamute.  The two-story house they built in the 1850's housed several generation of Nortons before it burned in 1927.  Eight of their ten children were born there.

Ashnah, their first daughter, was the first white child born in Kings Valley, February 8, 1847.  She was a teenager when the California Volunteers replaced the regular army troops at Fort Hoskins and was undoubtedly among the "Webfoots" entertained by the soldiers on special occasions.  She was about 17 when she married Private James Plunkett, 26, a gunner and part-time drummer at Fort Hoskins.  (The bass drum he used is at the Horner Museum in Corvallis).  Ashnah and Jim built a house and settled down on Plunkett Creek.

Hopestill's next children were triplets, Hanum, Sarepta, and Cynthia.  Cynthia lived only a few days.  The others grew to maturity.  Nahum, "Bub", married and lived near Blodgett.  Sarepta "Sis" married Willard Price, long-time storekeeper in Kings Valley.

Among the later children Milinda, "Lynn", married Dillard Price, brother of Willard, and son of Larkin Price, an Oregon pioneer of 1846.  Sarena was only age 19 when she died, and Cerilda died at age 1 1/2. Hpestill's youngest son, Lucius C. Norton, married Mary Ellen Patterson, a pioneer from Illinois, and lived for 30 years near Norton Station.

Father Lucius died in 1859.  Hopestill and the children still at home moved into the upper Yaquina valley.  When Oregon Pacific railroad built through the area in 1880's the station there was named Norton.  Nortons Post Office opened in 1895.  It was in this vicinity that Hopestill died November 16, 1892, aged 77.  Many of her descendants till live in Western Oregon.

Next:  Hannah King and Stephen King's Family