Tuesday, May 17, 2005

James Joseph Norton I (1892-1961)

James Joseph Norton I (1892-1961) aka Jack Norton; Jewelry Salesman, Security Guard, Elevator Operator and World War I Veteran (b. November 18, 1892, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, USA - d. January 02, 1961, 2600 Hudson Boulevard, Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, USA) Military Service Number 4108718.

James is the son of Patrick Norton (1858-1905) of County Galway in Ireland and Sarah Jane Carr (c1866-1950) of Hollygrove in Killeroran parish on the County Roscommon/Galway border in Ireland.

James was baptised on November 27, 1892, at Saint Bridget's Parish in Jersey City and his godparents are James Carr (c1870-c1948) and Katherine Carr (1865-1951) aka Kitty Carr.

James Norton had four other siblings and two lived to adulthood: Thomas Patrick Norton I (1891-1968) who married Mary Margaret Burke (1890-1949) aka May Burke, and after her death he married Josephine Veronica Burke (1907-1995) aka May Norton; Katherine Norton (1894-1942) aka Kate Norton, who married James Patrick Langan I (1889-1975); Sarah Francis Norton (1896) who died as an infant; and Mary Norton (1898) who died as an infant.

Jersey City, New Jersey:
In the year 1900 James was living at 101 Bright Avenue in Jersey City with his parents, his two siblings and his father's brother, John Norton (1861-1905).

Death of Uncle then Father:
On June 06, 1905 his uncle John died of tuberculosis and just four months later, on October 09, 1905, James' father died of "pyonephritic septicemia".

Brother Supported Family:
James' brother, Thomas, went to work at the Delaware, Lackawana & Western (DL&W) Railroad Company to support the family.

In 1910 James was working as a switchman at the same railroad.

World War I:
On September 05, 1918 James enlisted and served in the Army as a Corporal during WWI.

Best Man:
He was the best man at his brother's wedding to Mary Burke on September 27, 1919 and in 1920 he was still working at the railroad and was living with his mother and sister at 31 Liberty Avenue in Jersey City.

Marcus Jewelry:
Around the time of the Depression he either worked at, or owned Marcus Jewelry in Jersey City. This was the jewelry store that had the contract for cleaning and repairing the railroad watches that conductors and engineers carried.

In 1930 he married Helen Marie Maher (1895-1974) aka Eenie Maher, who was a schoolteacher. They were introduced by his brother's wife, who also was a schoolteacher. Helen was petite and James was more heavyset and smoked cigars, he also loved to drink beer.

Clendenny Avenue:
They lived at 61 Clendenny Avenue, in Jersey City in one of the two, two-family houses owned by his mother.

Mutual Chemical:
After WWII James was working as a security guard at Mutual Chemical. During the period between Mutual Chemical and his death he worked a series of odd jobs, never staying long at any single company.

Death of Mother:
His mother died on January 28, 1950.

He died in 1961 of a heart attack and was working as an elevator operator and living at 43 Emery Street in Jersey City.

His obituary appeared in the Jersey Journal on Thursday, January 05, 1961 and reads as follows: "Norton - Suddenly on Monday, January 2, 1961, James J. Norton, of 43 Emory Street; beloved husband of Helen Maher Norton; loving brother of Thomas and the late Katherine Langan. Relatives and friends, also Albert Quinn Post American Legion, are invited to attend funeral on Saturday, January 7th, at 8 a.m. from the Funeral Home of Richmond F. Routh 206 Old Bergen Road. Solemn mass of requiem at St. Patrick's Church at 9 a.m. Interment Holy Name Cemetery."

"Norton, Summons - James. Officers and members of Albert L. Quinn Post No. 52 American Legion, will meet at Richmond F. Routh Funeral Home, 206 Old Bergen Road, on Thursday, January 5th at 8 p.m. to pay our last respect to our departed comrade James Norton. Frank B. Riccardi, Commander; Joseph Weber, Adj."

James is buried with both his parents and his wife at Holy Name Cemetery in Jersey City.

No known picture of James is extant, he didn't have any children to pass his photographs to, and none were found in the collection of his brother or sister.

Memories of James Norton:
Kathryn Ann Langan (1937- ) says: "I remember Helen Maher her nickname was "Eenie". He husband was my favorite uncle, James Joseph Norton. He came to our wedding. He never seemed to have a job. I think he worked in a jewelry store at one point. He always smoked cigars. He may have held odd jobs, but he had a disability income from the War. He may have had frosbite on his toes while he was in the Army. He lived with Sara Jane Carr on Clendenny Avenue in one of the two houses she owned there."

James Patrick Langan II (1931- ) says: "He owned a jewelry store in Jersey City and lost it during the depression, after that he worked a series of odd jobs and was a security guard. I never remember him really working, just taking odd jobs for short periods."

Thomas Patrick Norton (1920- ) says: "He smelled of beer, smoked cigars and had a big belly. I would go to the bar with a bucket to fetch him beer. He had a very attractive wife (Helen Maher). My dad (his brother) got him a job as a detective for the railroad. He was a guard at Mutual Chemical and I found him working there when I got back from the war. When I was a kid I would visit Sarah Carr's house with my mother (Mary Margaret Burke). One time I went into Jack's room (with someone else) and found his gun and started playing with it. When Mary Margaret Burke walked in she was furious. Sarah Carr yelled at James Joseph when he got home, for keeping a loaded gun out in the open. She may even have slapped him on the head. He also worked at Marcus Jewelry in Jersey City. Marcus would certify the railroad watches."

James Joseph Norton I (1892-1961) was the granduncle of Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ).