Our great great grandfather Michael was born in Ireland in about 1811, according to the 1861 Canadian Census. The only hint of his County of origin is a newspaper article written in 1930 where he is said to have been from "near Limerick" Ireland. He met and married a french girl by the name of Julia Ann Josephine Clement who was born in Montreal Quebec in 1824. Their marriage record has so far eluded us even though we have searched intensively through all the Catholic parishes in the area. Michael and Julia settled on a 100 acre piece of land in Finch Township Ontario in 1853. Land documents reveal that he bought the land from a Mr. William Haggerty to whom it had been given as a Crown Grant for military service. The purchase price was $800.00. The property was situated close to the towns of Finch and Chesterville and Crysler. The South Nation River fed it, as it still does today.
Early school records reveal that Mike Norton (the name was changed sometime in 1853, the reason is still unknown) emigrated from Ireland to Sorel Quebec. His family was listed amongst some of the early settlers in the area who were attracted by cheap or free land and the opportunity to better living conditions. Little did the newcomers realize the hardships and privations which lay in this unbroken soil! Many family names of the early pioneers are still evident in the area today.
As was common in those days, Michael and Julia had 15 children in their household, including two sets of male twins! We are descended from John Naughtin, one of those sets of twins. A story that one still hears is the one about the well. It told of the countless hours the couple spent digging a well, then lining it, stone by stone, passed from one to the other, from the top to the deepest part. The well still exists today and so does the original log cabin they built in approximately 1853.
Our great great grandfather believed in strength and permanence.