Posts Tagged ‘Robert G. Norton’

Robert G. Norton, the Sheriff of Beaufort District

June 22, 2019

We’ve talked about Robert G. Norton before. He married Sarah Mosse, whose sister Martha married Alexander James Lawton. I’ve written about A. J. and Martha a fair bit. As nearly as I can reconstruct, he was born in 1788 and died in 1868.

Now that I’m going through the old newspapers, I find that Robert G. Norton was the sheriff of Beaufort District. This was back in the day before it was called Beaufort County.


To Coosawatchie Gaol on the 1st inst. a Negro Man about 20 or 25 years of age, 5 feet 1 inch high, who says his name is DANIEL, and that he was sold in April last by Mr. Reuben Roberts, to Mr. Minor Wooler, of the up country. Daniel has on a brown woolie jacket, Vest and Pantaloons, and professes to be a Shoe Maker. The owner is requested to come forward, prove his property, pay charges and take him away.

Robert G. Norton.

Sept 4


Sheriff Beaufort District.


In 1849, this document was presented regarding the renewal of the charter of the Blackswamp Academy. A body of men signed, including Robert G. Norton. His brother-in-law Alexander James Lawton signed; they were brothers-in-law because they married Mosse sisters. William John Lawton signed; he was the son of William Henry Lawton which made him the nephew of Alexander James Lawton. John Seth Maner’s family intermarried with the Lawtons and others. James Jehu Robert was a cousin to many of these because of his descent from John Robert, the brother of Alexander James Lawton’s mother Sarah Robert Lawton. I can probably find other family connections with the few remaining signers, but I need documentation, and I’m only using my brain power right now.

Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P2Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P1Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P3

Charleston Courier, February 22, 1853.



Charleston Courier, November 27, 1860



Public Meeting at Robertville.

Messrs, Editors:–At a large and enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of St. Peter’s Parish, and other portions of the State, held at Robertville, on Monday, the 19th of November, ROBERT G. NORTON, Esq., was called to the Chair, and EDWARD BOSTICK, Esp., appointed Secretary. The following preamble and resolution were introduced by Col. S. LARTIGUE in a few well-times and pointed remarks:

Whereas, the Federal Government, which was instituted by our fathers, for the protection and security of our citizens, having passed into the hands of a sectional majority, which, by all of its antecedents, and in its present covert or avowed purposed, is pledged to the overthrow of our institutions and the destruction of our equal rights in the Union; and, whereas, the Legislature of South Carolina having unanimously provided for the call of a Convention to disrupt our connection with that Government and establish independence out of it: Be it

Resolved, That the people of St. Peter’s Parish, and other portions of the State here assembled, send to their brothers from the mountains to the seaboard, their congratulations in the auspicious signs of the times, and pledge themselves, heart and soul, in the glorious movement which has been inaugurated, looking to the early organization of a Southern Confederacy.

Mr. A. P. Aldrich, of Barnwell, having been then introduced to the audience, made on of his best efforts in support of the resolution. His speech was at once spirited, bold, defiant, counselling resistance by the State to Abolition rule, “at every hazard, and to the last extremity.” Mr. Aldrich was listened to with wrapt attention and applauded to the echo.

Mr. DeBow, the able editor of the Review, which bears his name, being present, yielded to a very general call to address the meeting. His address was received with most marked attention. Mr. DeBow said that it had been his proud fortune to be present in Charleston when the first Palmetto banner was flung to the breeze, and was received with shouts for a “Southern Confederation,” which went up from a thousand hearts. The time has come indeed, for such a Confederation, if we were worthy of our glorious ancestry; and the eyes of the whole country were now upon South Carolina. If she faltered the day was lost. She was earliest in the field and had never struck her flag.

Had her counsels prevailed, the day of retribution would not have been delayed so long. It had been fashionable to revile South Carolina, and he, one of her sons, had felt in other quarters, what it was to be proscribed on that account; but that day was passed. The glorious services of the old Commonwealth began now to be recognized, and it was perceived that her warnings had been, as it were, an inspiration from heaven. She it was that perceived early in the day the poison that was concealed under the wings of the Federal Government, as Mr. Randolph expressed it. When South Carolina moved, her sisters at the South would which could not even frighten children. With the resources in their hands, which had made this a great nation, a Southern Confederation would, in all of the elements of wealth and power and security, be unmatched in ancient and modern times. We have the Cotton bale, which makes the treaties and determines the diplomacy of the world. Interest, and not sentiment, governed nations; and by that relation of interest we have the world bound hand and foot. The fleets and navies of Britain are ours, if we want them, for without our Cotton, it might be said of them, “Othello’s occupation’s gone.”

Mr. DeBow continued this course of reasoning at considerable length, and closed with an eulogium upon the men of 1776, who knew how to defend their liberties, and who were not represented in 1860, thank Heaven, by descendants who would prove unworthy of them. Better this quick death, if that be needful, of the brave man, than the gradual sapping of our life-blood, which could only be the result of further adhesion to a Government which had now fallen into the hands of those who have given every evidence of vindinctive hostility to us, greater than ever before was felt by one people for another.

At the conclusion of Mr. DeBow’s remarks, it is scarcely necessary to say the resolution was unanimously adopted.

A resolution was then passed requesting the Charleston Courier, Mercury, and Beaufort Enterprise, to publish the proceedings.



Many daughters of Carolina graced the occasion with their presence, and lent inspiration not to the speakers only, but to all around them.

It appears that Robert G. Norton was a man of local and national politics. Leslie and I had not heard that he was the Sheriff of Beaufort District. At that time, Beaufort District would have covered a large territory. The Coosawhatchie jail is not near Beaufort or Robertville, so our best guess is that Robert Norton did not attend to the daily business of running the jail. Presumably a jailer did that, although I don’t have proof of that.

The people of old Robertville continue to surprise me.

The Blackswamp Academy, 1818

June 8, 2019

Robertville, South Carolina, was a bustling little village. The citizens created a school in 1818, that they called the Blackswamp Academy. Today you might see Blackswamp written as “Black Swamp”, but it is one and the same. The early gravestones mention that a person might be a member of Blackswamp Church, which is the present-day Robertville Baptist.

From the South Carolina Department of Archives and History’s Research and Genealogy webpage comes this document…

Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P1

To the Hon. the Senate & House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina the Petition of the undersigned Sheweth

That in the year one thousand eight hundred & eighteen a number of the Citizens of Blackswamp in Beaufort District of the State aforesaid erected at considerable cost a substantial & convenient building which they located in Robertville in said District, & dedicated to the purpose of education under the name of “The Blackswamp Academy”

That is said building many youths of both sexes have been educated & it is still held by your Petitioners for its original purpose.

That an Act of incorporation was granted said Academy by the Legislature in December Eighteen hundred & eighteen to continue in force for twenty one years & to the end of the next Session of the Legislature, which has not since be renewed.

That by Virtue of Said Act the “Blackswamp Academy” was entitled to hold any estates real & personal to the value of twenty thousand dollars together with other privileges usually granted to similar institutions, for a knowledge of which we respectfully refer you to the act itself in Printed Acts page 52.

That public protica has been given of the intention of the undersigned to apply for a renewal of the Act of incorporation at your present Session, as will appear by the enclosed advertisements with the certificates attached thereto.

Your Petitioners therefore respectfully request your honorable body to pass an Act during your present Session renewing the Act of incorporation of said Blackswamp Academy with the privileges granted by the Act of 1818, & that John S. Maner, Alex. J. Lawton, B. R. Bostick, J. J. Robert, R. G. Norton, I. A. E. Chovin & John R. Bostick be named as Trustees thereof.

And your Petitioners will ever pray.

Robertville, So Ca

19 November 1849

B R Bostick

Jas J Robert

Isaac A. E. Chovin

Robt G. Norton

Alexr. J. Lawon.

John S. Maner

Wm. Jno Lawton

Tho. H. Harris



Petition of the Blackswamp Academy for renewal of charter


M Peterson


Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P3

Blackswamp Academy

Publick notice is hereby given that the Subscribers, members of Blackswap Academy, intend to apply to the Legislature at its next Session for a renewal of the Act of Incorporation of Said Academy with the same or additional privileges as granted in former Act of incorporation.

Blackswamp, SC 30th June 1849

John S. Maner

Alexander J. Lawton

B. R. Bostick

John R. Bostick

Winborn A. Lawton

James Jehu Robert

Robert G. Norton

Isaac A. E. Chovin

Tristam Verstille

Thos H. Harris We the Subscribers do hereby Certify that the above Notice has been posted in a conspicuous place in the Court House passage at Gillisonville since about the

30 June 1849


of Nov 1849

Wm Youmans (illegible)

H. Goethe

(illegible – possibly says he is the sheriff of Beaufort District)