The following is an excerpt from the book "The Descendants of Mercer (Messer) Norton 1750?-1800? and His Wife Martha" compiled by Erma Dell Melton Smith and Mildred Dulaney, 1983
The Brown family of Nottingham, Chester County, Pennsylvania (later Cecil County, Maryland) were intertwined in the early 1700's with Edward and his sister, Mary, Norton. To understand this, a short record of the Brown family must be included with their Quaker beginnings.
William Brown married (2nd) 1684 Ann Mercer. (See the Brown genealogy by clicking on the Genealogy Link on the main Brown page, or by clicking here. The Mercer name that runs throughout the Norton-Brown families is probably derived from Ann Mercer, the grandmother of Elizabeth Brown Norton and mother-in-law of Mary Norton Brown. William Brown, Sr. and his brother James moved in 1701 from the New Castle area to a land area in Chester County, Pennsylvania, said to have been personally selected for them by William Penn himself. The land was right on the present state line between Pennsylvania and Maryland and after the Mason-Dixon Line was surveyed in the 1760's, it was found to be almost wholly in Cecil County, Maryland. Thus although the Nortons lived in West Nottingham, Chester Co., Pa., this area is now in Cecil Co., Md. Tax lists of West Nottingham in 1722 do not show either Norton but do list Samuel Kirk, Richard Brown, and William Brown, Jr.
By the early 1740's the families of Edward Norton and Mary Norton Brown were living in Fairfax County, Virginia and they were attending the closest Friends meeting at Hopewell Monthly Meeting, Frederick County, Virginia. In 1744, the Fairfax Monthly Meeting was formed from Hopewell at or near Waterford, Fairfax Co., Va. (Loudon County after 1757). During this time, Richard Brown (husband of Mary Norton Brown, sister of Edward Norton) was a representative from Hopewell to the Chester Quarterly Meeting several times, the earliest being June 1741. Edward Norton was the representative from Hopewell to the Chester Quarterly Meeting in June 1743. Elizabeth Norton was a representative along with Jacob Janney from Fairfax to the Chester Quarterly Meeting in February 1748, with the added recommendation that she be made a minister.
Richard Brown died in Fairfax County, Virginia on 10 February 1745. His Will was probated on 21 May 1745, leaving his wife as heir and naming Edward Norton as a witness to the Will.
Mary Norton Brown was a widow for two years, then she married a second time to William Kirk, the son of Samuel Kirk of West Nottingham in February 1747, in FairfaxCounty, Virginia. William Kirk had previously been married to Margaret Davis Brown, 06 March 1730 at Nottingham Monthly Meeting, the widow of William Brown, Jr., and the step-mother of Elizabeth Brown Norton.
William and Mary Kirk lived in Fairfax County, later Loudon County. William died 29 march 1774 in Loudon County and had a Will filed 13 June 1774, which did not list his wife, so it is assumed that Mary Kirk had died before 1774. The children of Richard and Mary Norton Brown were Richard (1734-38), Joseph (1736-51), and Mercer Brown (7 July 1740-1802). Mercer was the only one to have a family. Quaker records for Fairfax noted in January 1763, Mercer Brown had become engaged to a local woman, Sarah, not a member of his church. He was cautioned against this by his elders, and then he left on a trip to the Carolinas. Sarah met him on the way, and they were married by a priest. For this, Mercer was disowned in March 1764, but he was later reinstated.
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