Biography - George W. Norris

GEORGE W. NORRIS. There is no line of business that requires more tact, skill or sympathy than that of undertaking, for the funeral director, even more than the physician, must discharge duties that make him most intimately associated with the families of his community, and it is requisite that he who performs the last sad rites must be a man in whom the utmost .confidence can be placed. George W. Norris, the only funeral director in the city of Anna, Illinois, has been engaged in this business here for more than twenty-two years, and has so conducted his establishment as to win the respect and esteem of all who have come into contact with him. He is a native of Scotland, having been born in 1837, and is a son of Robert and Mary (Miller) Norris.

Robert Norris was born in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was taken to Scotland as a child. There he was married to Mary Miller, and they came to the United States in 1847, settling first in Wisconsin, where they resided for eleven years, and then coming to Union county. Mr. Norris was one of the first tinners to engage in business here, and it is still said that he was the best workman in his line that the county has known. His wife, who was born January 23, 1816, attained the remarkable age of ninety-five years, her death occurring in Anna, June 5, 1911.

The education of George W. Norris was secured in the public schools of Wisconsin, and as a youth was taught the tinner's trade by his father. He followed this line of work until his enlistment, in 1862, for service during the Civil war, when he became a private in Company G, Fourteenth Regiment, Illinois Cavalry, and served three years as a member of that organization, rising to the ranks of sergeant, quartermaster sergeant and orderly sergeant. He participated in a number of bitterly fought engagements, including those during the raid through Georgia and that which culminated in Stoneman's surrender, but was fortunate enough to escape without capture or wounds. On his return from the war, Mr. Norris built a livery stable at Anna, which he successfully conducted for fifteen years, but eventually sold that enterprise and established himself in his present line. Mr. Norris has an up-to-date establishment in every respect, it being equipped with all the modern appurtenances of the business, while his equipages are elaborate and proper for every occasion. He is the owner of two farms of 125 acres in Union county, these being operated by tenants under Mr. Norris' supervision, and are devoted to berries, apples and peaches. Mr. Norris also does an extensive business in breeding Shetland ponies, having had many years' experience in this line.

In 1879 Mr. Norris was married to Miss Ellen Chandler, of Union county, there are four children, as follows: Thomas, born in 1880, who married Mary Farrands; Robert, who married Eva Crowell; and Mary and Georgia, who live at home. The family belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, and are well and favorably known to the people of its congregation. A Republican in his political views, Mr. Norris has never cared for public office, although he served on several occasions as precinct committeeman. He belongs to Lodge No. 520, A. F. & A. M., and R. A. Chapter No. 45, and for four or five years served as commander of Post No. 558, Anna Grand Army of the Republic.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 681-682.

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