James Lawson Norris Sr.


James Lawson Norris Sr.

Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Death 5 Mar 1910 (aged 64)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Plot Rock Creek, Norris Circle, Lot 595 East.
Memorial ID 43645869 View Source
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The Washington Post Sunday, March 6, 1910
James L. Norris Dead
Well known Patent Attorney Passes Away at Home
Led Life of Great Activity
Was Prominent Figure in National Democratic Affairs, Serving as Delegate to Conventions and in Other Capacities
Also Identified With Washington Business Circles
Funeral Tomorrow
Funeral services for James L. Norris, the well known patent attorney who died at his residence, 331 C Street Northwest yesterday morning will be held from the residence at 2:30 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery near Alexandria, Virginia. The Rev. P.T. Phillips, rector of St. Paul's Church, Alexandria will officiate.

Beginning as an attack of neuritis, Mr. Norris' illness developed into a complication of diseases which made his recovery impossible and his death merely a matter of time. All of his five children were at his home when he died. They are Mrs. P. Arthur Phillips of Alexandria; Mrs. Arthur P. Gorman Jr., Mrs. Erskine P. Sunderland, James Lawson Norris and Rastus Ransom Norris, all of this city. Mr. Norris lost his wife in 1897.

Was Born in Washington
Born in this city October 15, 1845, Mr. Norris was educated at Dickinson College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania afterward taking a short course at the Everett Institute in this city. While at college he was a member of the Belles Lettres Society and Zeta Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Later in life in connection with others he was instrumental in founding the Alpha Chapter of that fraternity at Columbia College in the District of Columbia.

After the completion of his course at Dickinson, Mr. Norris read law in Carlisle with Judge Graham and later in Washington with his father. He entered the patent office serving on the examining corps under Chief Examiners Albin Schoepf and William B. Taylor. Shortly afterward Mr. Norris tendered his resignation and engaged in the practice of patent law with offices at Seventh and F Streets. Later he erected an office building at Fifth and F Streets which bears his name.

In 1867 Mr. Norris married Miss Annie Virginia Robinson, daughter of Colonel Israel Robinson of Martinsburg, West Virginia. Colonel Robinson was a prominent lawyer and member of the Virginia legislature and the Confederate Congress. Mrs. Norris died in 1897. They had seven children.

Possessed Valuable Library
One of Mr. Norris' chief treasures was his library, which is of extensive scope and contains in particular practically every work printed on the life of Andrew Jackson. He also possessed a valuable collection of antique swords and firearms. Mr. Norris' father was President of the Jackson Democratic Association of the District of Columbia, the oldest political organization next to Tammany Hall in the United States. Shortly after his father's death, James L. Norris was elected to the Presidency of the organization and held that position until the time of his death.

On the election of Cleveland in 1892 Mr. Norris was made a member of the general inaugural committee and was later elected by this committee to membership in the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Fireworks Committee. During the Cleveland campaign in 1888 Mr. Norris was selected by the Democratic National Committee as its advisory committeeman for the District of Columbia. He was chosen by the joint Democratic caucus of the Senate and the House as the Representative of the District of Columbia on the Democratic Congressional Committee and he served as a member of that committee and as its Treasurer from the Fiftieth Congress up to the present time.

Delegate to National Convention
In March 1892 Mr. Norris was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago and was made a member of the Democratic National Committee for the District of Columbia. He was Chairman of the Inaugural Committee and had charge of the ceremonies incident upon Cleveland's second inauguration. Mr. Norris was a member of the inaugural committees of every inauguration from 1884 until after the second inauguration of McKinley. He was a prime mover in the effort to have the inaugural date changed from March 4 to April 30.

In 1896 he was chosen as Assistant Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee. On the death of the then Treasurer, William P. St. John in 1898 he became Treasurer. Later he was again selected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Kansas City from the District. Although engrossed in active enterprises at the time, Mr. Norris was selected by the justices of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia as one of three commissioners to appraise lands condemned by the government for the formation of the National Rock Creek Park. Mr. Norris was Chairman of this commission. He was also President of the Oak Creek Cemetery Company.

Engaged in Many Enterprises
Mr. Norris was Vice President and Director of the National Bank of Washington and of the Mutual Protection and Franklin Insurance Companies and a member of the Board of Visitors of the Providence Hospital. He was a member of Pentalpha Lodge of Masons, Mount Vernon Royal Arch Chapter and a life member of Columbia Commandery, Knights Templar. He was also a member and Vice President of the Schley Home Fund, a member of the Board of Trade since its organization and a member of the Executive Committee and Treasurer of the American Colonization Society.

In 1888 he was instrumental in preventing the removal of the Jackson statue in Lafayette Square when it was proposed to move it to the side of Lafayette. Mr. Norris was a member of the Reception Committee who received Admiral Dewey on May 22, 1899. With his associates, he conducted President McKinley and cabinet to the east front of the Capitol where the sword was presented to Admiral Dewey. In November 1898 Mr. Norris was selected as one of 200 citizens to receive soldiers returning from the Philippines and he with his colleagues escorted President McKinley to his stand in Convention Hall.

The Washington Post March 6, 1910
Norris. On Saturday, March 5, 1910 at 7:35AM, James Lawson, son of the late John Edmund and Eliza Tidings Norris in the sixty-fifth year of his age.

Funeral services at his late residence, 331 C Street Northwest on Monday, March 7 at 2:30PM. Interment (private) at Oak Hill Cemetery.

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  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 28 Oct 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 43645869
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Lawson Norris Sr. (15 Oct 1845–5 Mar 1910), Find a Grave Memorial ID 43645869, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .