Born on May 13, 1821 in Richmond, Virginia, Frederick Norton was the son of Thomas and Mary Mower Norton. Unfortunately for young Frederick, his father died in 1823. His family moved to Pennsylvania. His family faced many hardships after the death of his father. At the tender age of 9 years old, Frederick began working in a nail factory. He stayed there until he was fifteen.
At the age of fifteen, Frederick began his first of many moves. He first moved to Pittsburg. He stayed there until 1842. Then, he moved to Rapid Forge, Ohio to run a nail mill. He learned the nail mill business during his travels. He eventually became one of the founders of the Belmont Mill.
On November 11, 1845, he married Nancy Williamson at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Together the couple had four children. Two died in infancy. The two surviving sons were named Jesse R. and Howard.
In 1863, Norton bought the Star Nail Mill at Ironton with Col. E. M. Norton, Capt. George W. Norton, and twelve others. They changed the name of the business to Belfonte Iron Works. Frederick became the manager of the mill and moved to Ironton.
Frederick, also, bought the “Means Farm” at Hanging Rock. He lived there for two years. At that time, he resigned his position at the mill and moved to Wheeling, West Virginia.
In 1867, Norton returned to Ironton to build and manage the Belfonte Furnace. He remained the manager of the furnace until 1872.
It was in 1872 that Frederick became the President of Belfont Iron Works Co. He remained at this job until 1885 when he retired.
Norton was well known for his political power as well. He was a delegate to the 1860 convention that nominated a man named Abraham Lincoln. Before the civil war, he resided in Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) and was given credit for keeping his part of the state from entering the war on the side of the confederacy.
Norton is also well recognized in the area for his home. Often called the Tower House, the Norton House features a four story tower from which people could and still can see the Ohio River.
In 1891, Frederick Norton became sick with Grip or influenza. His illness lasted for two weeks before he succumbed on December 15, 1891. His wife, Nancy, was struck by the same illness at the time of his death.
Nancy did survive her bout of influenza. Much to her dismay, she not only outlived her husband, but all of her children as well. Her son Jesse did on June 26, 1900. Her other son, Howard, died on December 15, 1903, exactly twelve years after his father. Nancy died on July 25, 1904. She was laid to rest beside her husband in Woodland Cemetery in Section 7.