A. The family in England.
The Norman family has been in the area of Ashwick, co.Somerset from at least the 17th century. This area represents one of the three major valleys of the Somerset coal fields, the Nettlebridge Valley, and members of the family have been miners there from the time of the earliest records. The first identifiable direct ancestor of the Norman family of Tioga Co., Pa. was James Norman of Ashwick. On 16 May 1785, James married Ann Chapman of Ashwick, and they had three children baptized there: John, 19 Apr. 1789; William, 22 Oct. 1797; and Isaac, 27 Apr 1800. (James was probably the one bur. 7 Feb. 1821, aged 62.) William is the only child of whom we have any additional information, he being the ancestor of our family.
William Norman married, about 1816, Rebecca Emery, born in Sussex, but possibly of a local family, (see below) and they had: Mary bap. 14 Jun. 1818; Ann, bap. 26 Nov. 1820; Martha born 22 Jan, bap. 29 Feb 1824; Jane b. 18 Jun., bap. 18 Jul. 1826; James b. 29 Aug, bap. 21 Sep. 1828; William E. b. 20 Jun., bap. 17 Jul. 1831; Frederick b. 10 Jan., bap. 8 Feb. 1835; Alfred b. 29 Mar., bap. 10 Apr. 1838; and Henry bap. 29 Aug 1841 (an Ann, b. 1846 and listed as a daughter in 1851 census, is clearly a granddaughter, the illegitimate daughter of Mary Norman of Barlake, bap. 20 Apr. 1845 at Stratton-on-the-Fosse.) William had lived in Ashwick (perhaps within that portion of Oakhill located within this parish), where all of his children were baptized, until about 1840, when the family moved to the neighboring parish of Stratton-on-the-Fosse, to the town of Pitcott. In 1841, he was an Engineer there, aged 43; with wife Rebecca, 43; Mary, 23; Ann, 20; Jane, 15; James, 12; William, 10; Frederick, 7; and Alfred, 3. His daughter Martha, was a family servant with Richard Strachey of Ashwick. Ten years later, in 1852, he was 55 and still in Stratton with his family; Rebecca, 54; Mary, 34; William, 20; Frederick, 14; Alfred, 12; Henry, 10; and Ann, 5. William is again listed as an engineer, as he had been at the baptisms of each of his children except one, when he is listed as a collier (he was an engineer at a colliery, as he appears in 1871). William, Frederick, and Alfred are listed as miners. Henry died in 1855, and was buried at Stratton-on-the-Fosse 21 Jan., aged 13. In the 1861 census, William, aged 64, and Rebecca, aged 65, are living in Pitcott, and they were in Nettlebridge (in the parish of Ashwick) in 1871, both aged 75. William died and was buried at Ashwick, 14 Oct. 1876, aged 80.
James, the oldest son, married, about 1847, Anne Stock, daughter of John and Betty Stock, born 25 Aug., bap. 15 Sep. 1822. (She was sister of Philip Stock of Ashwick, then Blaenavon, co. Monmouth, and Arnot, Pa.) They were living in Pitcott when a son, William Henry, was baptized at Stratton, 19 Nov 1848, and at neighboring Barlake when daughter Martha was baptized at Stratton, 16 Feb 1850. James is recorded as a coal miner in these baptismal records. By 1851, James and his family had moved to the parish of Llanfoist, within the town of Bleanavon, co.Monmouth, Wales, in the South Welsh coal fields, where James, aged 22, was an ironstone miner, with wife Ann; 28 and children William H., 2; and Martha, 2 mos. There a son George S. was born 17 Apr. 1853, and following his death 28 Nov. 1854, another son of the same name was born 28 Jul. 1855, a son Frederick on 17 Oct. 1857, and Alfred on 22 May 1860. In 1861, James appears, aged 32; with wife Anne, 37; William, 12; George, 5; Frederick, 3; and Alfred, 10 mos. (daughter Martha presumably having died), along with brothers Frederick, 26; and Alfred 23.
William E. had moved to neighboring Holcombe, co.Somerset, where he married on 10 Jul. 1851, (his sister Martha serving as witness) Sarah Badman, bap.15 Mar. 1829, daughter of James and Mary (Walter) Badman. His first child, Mary, who died young, was bap. there in 1852. By 1854, he had joined his brother James in Blaenavon, and had a son Charles James born there in April of that year, but they returned to Holcombe by Dec. to have him baptized. He was still in Holcombe in 1856, having son Henry Walter. In 1858, son Arthur was born in Stratton-on-the-Fosse (but baptized at Holcombe), as was Mary Louisa in 1860. (Their home was listed as Pitcott when she was baptized 19 Aug 1860 in Stratton.) In 1861, the family appears in Stratton-on-the-Fosse: William, 30; Sarah, 33; Charles, 7; Henry W., 5; Arthur, 3; Mary, 9 mos. William is recorded as an Engineman at Nettlebridge, the coal works. They had a son James B. born in 1862 at Stratton, (baptized at Holcombe) and were from Pitcott when son William Alfred was baptized at Stratton 8 Oct. 1865. Daughter Sarah was born in "Kroom, co.Somerset," probably Frome, in 1869. They had moved to Tredegar, co. Monmouth, Wales by 1872, when their youngest child, Frank was born, and in 1881 Sarah was living at Bedwelty, co. Monmouth along with the families of their two eldest sons, her husband having emigrated.
Frederick was living with brother James in Blaenavon in 1861, as a coal miner aged 26. About 1865 (or perhaps as late as 1870), he married widow Elizabeth J. Parsons, b. 1842 in Shepton Mallet. He was in the part of Oakhill that lies within the parish of Shepton Mallet, co.Somerset in 1871, where he appears as an Engine Driver, aged 34, with wife Elizabeth J., 28; Richard C. Parsons, 7; and Ernest W., 1 Mo. He was still there in 1881, aged 45; with Elizabeth, 39; Richard, 17; Edith, 12; (who may be a step-daughter); William E., 10; and Llywellyn, aged 4.
Alfred was mining in Blaenavon with brother James in 1861, aged 23, and was of Pitcott when he married 1 Mar. 1862, at Stratton-on-the-Fosse, Elizabeth, daughter of John and Eliza (Emery) Small. (Family tradition recalls this couple as first cousins, but while Eliza Emery, mother of Elizabeth, was born in either Oakhill or Ashwick, Rebecca Emery, mother of Alfred was born in co.Sussex (or Essex). Eliza, who was 55 in 1861, was probably daughter of William and Betty Emery, born 10 Jul., bap. 7 Sep., 1806 at Ashwick. This couple was not married in Ashwick, and they first appear in the area at the baptism of a child in 1798, two years after the birth of Rebecca in 1796 (she was 55 in 1851), so they could have moved from Sussex between these dates. Finally, William E., son of William and Rebecca (Emery) Norman was probably named for William Emery) Alfred was from Ashwick when their first two children, Alice and Lucy Anne, were baptized there in 1863 and 1865, respectively. In 1867, their son Albert was born in Upper Vobster, near Mells, at which time Alfred was a miner. Daughter Minnie was born there in 1869, and they were still living there in 1871, when Alfred appears in the census as a coal miner, aged 38, with Elizabeth, 30, Alice, 7, Lucy Ann, 6, Albert, 3, and Minnie, age 1. Daughter Martha was born in the area in 1872.
B. The coming to America.
One family tradition tells of the family coming to the country in several waves, with James coming first, and Alfred and William coming at a later date, with an additional brother following, but never arriving in the area. He is presumed to have returned to England or gone instead to Australia. The majority of this story is consistent with available records. The family can be divided into two groups, with the families of James and Alfred coming before William E. William Henry, son of James, was the first to come to America. He arrived in New York on 1 April 1869, aboard the S.S.City of New York from Liverpool, recording himself as a collier. Next came his father James in March 1870, presumably accompanied by both the wives and children of James and William Henry, and Alfred's brother-in-law Charles Small, who arrived the same month. James, William and their families first settled in Danville, but by 1871, James was in Arnot, appearing in the tax list for Bloss Twp. in 1872, and William Henry in appears there in 1873. Alfred arrived at New York from Bristol on the S.S.Arragon on 24 May 1872, with his wife and five children. He appears in the tax list of 1873. (Philip Stock, brother-in-law of James, came with his family in Aug. 1873, while Robert Small, brother of Charles, came alone in 1879.)
The third brother, William E, left his family in Wales to come to America in March 1881, arriving at New York. He was followed on 3 Oct. 1881 by his wife, children and grandchildren, who arrived at Philadelphia from Liverpool on the S.S.Ohio. William E died about 1885.
If a fourth brother came to the country but returned or went elsewhere, it must have been Frederick. Still at Oakhill in 1881, he was no longer there a decade later in 1891, and has not been found elsewhere.
C. The family in America.
In this country, as in England and Wales, the family worked in the coal mines. They came to Arnot, in Bloss Twp., which was an active mining area at the time. In 1880, all of the members of the family in the area were miners. However, this did not continue to be the case. Over the next twenty years following the arrival of William E's family, some of the family turned to farming. It is likely that when George, son of James, disappears from the tax records of Bloss in 1887, it represents his move to Liberty Twp, and his purchase of a farm there that he continued to work until his death, while still mining in the winters. His older brother, William Henry probably did the same in 1895, and Albert, son of Alfred left in 1896. These three appear as farmers in Liberty Twp. in 1900. Frederick, son of James, who had been in Charleston Twp. since 1884, appears as a tanner. The sons of these families continued to work in the mines.
The impetus behind the move to farming was, in part, the decline of the mines in the area, a force which continued to work on the family. While Henry and William A, sons of William E, remained in Bloss, by 1884, Alfred, son of James, had left for Ohio and in 1886 was in the coalfields of southeastern Kansas. Two of his sons, James E and Alfred, later returned via Missouri to Springfield, Illinois. James B, son of William E, left the area in 1891, followed by his brother Charles, in 1904, for the mines of Clearfield Co. There the decline of the mines forced James, and Charles, son of Charles, into farming. Later, Frank, son of William E, went to the factories of Elmira, NY. In 1921, Harry, son of Henry, son of William E followed uncles James B and Charles to Clearfield, and went on to Portage, Cambria Co., while four years later, his brother Frank followed his namesake uncle to Elmira.
Within 50 years of arriving in the country, the family had diverged into farming and other pursuits, and had spread from Arnot to Blossburg, Liberty, and Charleston Twp., Tioga Co., Clearfield Co., Cambria Co., Pa.; Elmira and Buffalo, NY; Crawford Co., Kansas; Burton Co., Missouri; and elsewhere. They are now living throughout the eastern United States, and beyond.