View All Posts

Oct 21

Revolutionary War Patriots in Old Cemetery

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 5:25 PM by Ken Kocher

Who were Thomas Norris and William Pearman?  Both fought in the American Revolution and are buried in the Madison Historic Cemeteries, but for many, that may be all we know.  However, their journeys to, and lives here, were really quite similar to many of the first generation settlers of Madison.  On November 8, the Madison Cemetery Commission is pleased to host a Marker Dedication Ceremony, where the Henry Walton Chapter of the NSDAR will honor Norris and Pearman.  Please join us.

Thomas Norris
(DAR Patriot #A084439) was born in Maryland in 1756 to John Norris and Susannah Bradford.  The Norris family had been in Maryland for over 125 years.  Thomas and his brother, John, enlisted and served as Privates in the militia, 1st Company, Maryland Regiment.  After his service, Thomas married Sarah Ann Billingsley.  Thomas migrated to Wilkes County, Georgia, near the end of 1786.  

Thomas and Sarah had twelve children, with all but the eldest born in Georgia.  Like many Madisonians, Norris’ farm land was in Morgan County while he lived iadelaide wallace age 4n town and earned a living elsewise, both as an attorney and in manufacturing concerns.  In 1817, Norris purchased the Rogers House on original Town Lot #6 in 1817.  He died the next year leaving the house to his eldest son, Alexander. Sarah continued to live in the home until 1824, when she moved to Alabama.

Thomas Norris is buried in Old Cemetery along with his daughter, Emily Frances (Norris) Allen, and five of his great-grandchildren, descendants of Sarah Ann (Allen) & Dr. Hugh J. Ogilby. The Sons of the Revolution presented a medallion to be placed on Norris’ headstone which was dedicated by the Henry Walton Chapter of the DAR on May 18, 1930. Pictured here is Adelaide Wallace (later Ponder), age 4, daughter of Mrs. Leonard Wallace, Regent of the Henry Walton Chapter of the DAR at the time of the dedication.

William Pearman, Jr.
(DAR Patriot #A086951) was born in Virginia, before 1760 to Ann and William Pearman, Sr. (DAR Patriot #A086948).  William pearman headstoneenlisted in 1778 and served as a Sergeant Private in the 3rd Company, Virginia Regiment.  After his service, Thomas married Isabella Stewart Weakley.   William, and perhaps two of his brothers, migrated to Wilkes County in 1786,  and acquired a 237-acre tract at Beaverdam Creek.
William and Isabel had eight children, with the eldest two born in Virginia.  From 1787 until his death, William was a planter/farmer until he passed in 1817 (age 57).  His eldest son, Robert, an attorney in Madison, administered the family lands and welcomed his mother to his home.  After Isabella's death, the family property in Wilkes County was sold.

In Old Cemetery, William and Isabella are buried side by side with matching headstones and a remnant footstone.  In 1970, modern gravestones were installed, as the headstones had become nearly illegible.  An unmarked infant burial has been recently documented adjacent to the couple.

Madison Moments, a weekly blog highlighting Madison's rich history, is a creation of the Madison Historic Preservation Commission in collaboration with other City Boards and Departments. This installment was contributed by the Cemetery Stewardship Commission and drawn from biographies compiled by Jan Manos, CSC Vice Chair. Established in 2002, the CSC reflects the community's renewed interest in acknowledging and protecting its local cemeteries.


You must log in before leaving your comment