Reference Entry

Norris, Isaac

in American National Biography Online


Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697

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Quaker politician, provincial Pennsylvania officeholder, and merchant, was born in Southwark, London, England, the son of Thomas Norris, a Quaker carpenter, and Mary Moore. About 1678 his family immigrated to Port Royal, Jamaica. The extent of his formal education is unknown, but in adulthood he was well read in both classical Latin authors and the best of contemporary English literature. He first visited Philadelphia on a trading voyage in 1692; during his absence his father was killed in the earthquake that destroyed Port Royal on 7 June 1692, and his brother and sister died shortly thereafter. Norris settled permanently in Philadelphia about 1693. He gained important political and commercial connections through his marriage in 1694 to Mary Lloyd, a daughter of Thomas Lloyd, a former deputy governor of the province. The couple had fourteen children, including Isaac Norris (1701–1766).

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