William was born about 1735, maybe Virginia? He moved to SW Pennsylvania.


Real permanent settlements didn't begin in SW Pennsylvania until after 1764.

Around 1770 settlers started moving into southwestern Pennsylvania from Virginia (Frederick Co) Crumrine's History of Westmoreland County Pennsylvania[1] mentions a 1774 settler named William NORRIS. A fort was built on his property in Chartiers Twp.


NORRIS' FORT -

"Col. James Allison, of Cecil county, Maryland, came in the spring of 1774 to what is now Washington county, and settled on Chartiers. He and his family were of the twenty families who came to this section in that year, among whom were the Scotts, McDowells, Parks, Morrisons, Stuthers, Norris and others. For the first year after these families arrived in the valley they were accustomed to rendezvous in time of danger from the Indians at a fort that was built on the land of William Norris, in the rear of the old quail place, Chartiers Township." [Hist. Washington Co. PA, p707. Crumrine.][2]


Descendant Dave Norris says there was a old family story saying that Joseph Norris and his son William lived in western Pennsylvania.


Washington County was created in 1781 with Strabane being one of the original twps.
In 1785, a trader by the name of Thomas Plant, traveling through the 864 square miles in Washington County on Pennsylvania's southwestern border, remarked, "Never has there been a place so bountiful in Nature's rewards...". The Monongahela River winds south along the eastern side. The county has a storied past including the infamous Whiskey Rebellion led by David Bradford in 1792.


William lived in North Strabane Twp., Washington Co., PA (southwest corner of Pennsylvania, about 35 miles straight east of Wheeling, WV)

See maps at:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/maps/pa/county/washin/usgs/

http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/maps/pa/county/washin/washing2.jpg

http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/maps/pa/county/washin/usgs/nstraban.jpg

http://www.fedstats.gov/qf/maps/pennsylvania_map.html



Land grants in North Strabane:
Norris, William - "William's Fancy"
206 3/4 acres Strict 
Surveyed 15 Oct 1786 on Virginia Certificate [which may mean that he was from Virginia]
Patented 17 Mar 1787 to William Norris on Warrant to accept dated 12 Mar 1787 "Neglect" p 10-46


Land grants in South Strabane:

Cathrine Norris

106 acres 50 perches & allowances

Warranted 14 Aug 1786

Surveyed 21 June 1788

Patented 2 Apr 1792 to James Ross

p18-402


Early Landowners of PA: Land Tracts Transferred from Va to Pa 1779-1780:

1774 came William Norris to Westmoreland Co. Settlers came for safety to a fort built by William Norris. Mar 8, 1878, William Norris (had, bought or patented) 400 acres on Chirtee Creek.


The 1790 Washington Co., PA census lists William and Matthew NORRIS in consecutive dwellings, without slaves. A Robert NORRIS is listed not far away as a slave owner.
William was also in Washington Co, PS in 1800.[3]


One of his descendants says he was a wheelwright and had a wagon shop.


Though William Norris died in Montgomery Co, Ky. in 1806 he was NOT on the census there in 1800. His son Jacob was, so perhaps he went before and brought his father later.
His will mentions sons William and Jacob and other unnamed children, and it refers to land in Washington Co, PA.



SOURCES:

  1. 1. Boyd Crumrine, "History of Washington County, Pennsylvania with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men" (Philadelphia: L. H. Leverts & Co., 1882).

  2. 2. http://www.chartiers.com/crumrine/twp-chartiers.html

  3. 3. 1790, 1800 Washington Co, PA census