Norton Township was named for proprietor and principal landowner Birdsey Norton, a wealthy merchant from Goshen, Connecticut. However, he never set foot in Norton—he died six years before the township was organized in 1818. Early settlers, the first of whom were James Robinson and John Cahow, carved their way through the wilderness to build on this fertile land. In its early form, Norton included seven small hamlets: Loyal Oak, Western Star, Sherman, Johnson’s Corners, Norton Center, Hametown, and New Portage. Each hamlet had its own unique shops, taverns, blacksmiths, and mills. These communities were home to familiar local names like Seiberling, VanHyning, Harris, Miller, Oplinger, and Breitenstine. By 1961, Norton had become recognized as a village, and by 1968 its growth warranted the designation of city. Early businesses, local schools and churches, aerial views, accidents, and intrigue can all be found within the pages of Images of America: Norton.
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