Thomas J.
Norton
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Thomas J. Norton

How many hands have touched
the man behind the glass.
How many hearts ached to be with
the man who died so heroically.

Was it his time to leave his
kin so soon and leave his mark
on our history?
Country boy with big city dreams.

At the breaking midnight hour
the man was no more.
Memories to his loved ones,
friends forever mourn.

The man was willed to act in
defense of fellow man.
The officer was willed to duty in
defense of public safety.

Years to decades,
decades to centuries.
The man behind the glass
will not be forgotten.

Our Tom, died near midnight
of December 18, 1881.
Every child we bring up and
their children too, will know
the love for our dear Tom.

- Geri Neumann
Thomas J. Norton
Born 1853      Died December 18, 1881
Police Officer - New York City
Shot & killed in the line of duty.
The following newspaper articles were researched and found on Ancestry.com,
Sullivan County Historical Society Hurleyville, NY and the New York Public Library
NYC. The articles track the life and death of Thomas J. Norton.
Republican Watchman Monticello, NY
December 5, 1879
(Sullivan County Historical Society)

TRANSCRIPTION:

Thomas J. Norton, of this place, was
appointed to the New York police force a
few days ago. Mr. Norton has been in the
city for some time expecting to be appointed.
Republican Watchman Monticello, NY
December 5, 1879
(Sullivan County Historical Society)

TRANSCRIPTION:

Thomas Norton, formerly of Stevensville,
who is on the police force of N. Y. city was
visiting friends at this place last week.
The New York Times. New York
Monday, December 19, 1881
(New York Public Library)

TRANSCRIPTION:

SHOT ON HIS POST
POLICEMAN NORTON FATALLY WOUNDED BY THE
DELANCY STREET GANG

Officer Norton of the Tenth Precinct, was shot in front oft No. XX
Delancey-street, and his assailant is said to be Officer Bernard Fitzpatrick,
son of Edward Fitzpatrick, Alderman-elect from the Fourth District. The
circumstances of the shooting were not clear last night. It is believed that the
wound was inflicted after Fitzpatrick had been struck by Norton. In the rear
of No. 44 Delancey-street, an abominable XXXX lived Josephine Milburn,
known as "Big Blanche." Her lover is John Kennedy who works in the
bakery in Grand-street. There was trouble between them yesterday
afternoon, and Kennedy on leaving the house said that he was going to get
shaved in the Seventh Ward. He returned with Fitzpatrick, who was in
citizen's dress, and they went into the woman Milburn's room. About 11:30
o'clock a message was taken to Norton, whose post was at Delancey-street.
that a man who said he was a police officer was bullying a woman in the
house in the rear of Nelson P. Pearson's lager beer saloon, No. 44
Delancey-street. Norton found Blanche's room in which were the woman,
Kennedy, and Fitzpatrick. He asked what the trouble was and all were
reticent. He said that he understood that a man had been to the woman and  
had represented himself as a police officer. Josephine Milburn pointed to
Fitzpatrick and said the made the representation and Fitzpatrick talked
impudently when Norton asked him to show him his shield. Norton could
not find out what the trouble was between the woman and Kennedy, and he
advised Kennedy and Fitzpatrick to leave the place and not have any trouble
there. The officer's visit had attracted attention and when with Kennedy, and
Fitzpatrick he left it by the narrow passage which runs past Pearson's saloon
they were accompanied by Frank McCormick, a good for nothing fellow.
Kennedy's comrade, and several curious men and woman. Norton went out
first and when Fitzpatrick came into the street he said to him: "you are a
pretty fellow to hang around here, pretending you're and officer. Show your
badge. I want to know whether you're a policeman or not." Fitzpatrick made
a vile reply, and Norton gave him a backhanded blow with his fist nearly
knocking him down, saying at the same time you're a pretty policeman. I
want you to now I am the policeman on this post. McCormick and Kennedy
sprang forward. Norton drew his club and attempted to defend himself, when
he was kicked and beaten by McCormick. Kennedy and Fitzpatrick, and
driven into the middle of the street, Fitzpatrick, who was about six feet from
him then drew a revolver. Norton said "Put that down you scoundrel." but
Fitzpatrick fired. People who saw the firing say that immediately a stream of
blood spurted out of the wound, but that Norton did not seem to understand
he was wounded for he sprang forward  and caught hold of Fitzpatrick. The
two men struggled for nearly two minutes, but  at last Kennedy and
McCormick called Fitzpatrick away from Norton. Norton attempted to
follow Fitzpatrick but his arm suddenly dropped. He staggered toward a
lamp-post in the light of which the affray occurred, leaned his head against it
and said: "Oh. I'm dying." Fitzpatrick, McCormick, and Kennedy had fled.
David Lewis of No. 115 Forsyth-street, caught hold of Norton and held him
up. He asked for a handkerchief to stop the flow of blood, and the young girl,
who tends a cigar store at No. 46 Delancey-street, took one from her neck
and gave it to him. Then Norton was half carried and half led to the
Eldridge-street Police station. Captain Allaire took the names of 10 witnesses
of the affair, and retained the woman Milburn and Anna Harris who lived in
the same house. He expects to arrest Fitzpatrick before morning. At 2 o'clock
this morning McCormick had been arrested but Fitzpatrick and Kennedy
were still at large. Coroner Brady went to the Chamber's Street Hospital to
take Norton's ante-mortem statement, but found it impossible. Norton was
appointed on the Police force on Nov. 13, 1879, and was esteemed a valuable
officer. He was attached to the Sixth Precinct for some time.
The Evening Post - New York
Monday, December 19, 1881
(New York Publick Library)

TRANSCRIPTION:

Policeman Thomas J. Norton of the Eldridge
Street station, was shot by Bernard Fitzpatrick,
a policeman of the Oak Street Station, shortly
before 12 o'clock last night, while on duty in
Delancey Street, opposite a saloon at No. 44. It
is said that Norton went by the saloon, where
there was a noise, and ordered the inmates to
keep quiet. Fitzpatrick, who was in citizen's
dresss, came out and spoke to Norton sharply,
when Norton drew his club and struck
Fitzpatrick. The latter then said that he was a
policeman, but he did not have a shield. Norton
drew back t strike him, when Fitzpatrick drew
a pistol and shot Norton in the left breast, just
below the neck. Fitzpatrick then fled. Norton
was taken to the Chambers Street Hospital,
where his wound was considered fatal.
The New York Times. New York
Thursday, December 20, 1881
(New York Publick Library)

TRANSCRIPTION:

NORTON'S MURDERER IN HIDING

Officer Thomas J. Norton, of the Tenth Precinct. who was
shot by Officer Fitzpatrick, died shortly before 4 o'clock at
the Chambers-Street Hospital of internal hemorrhage. Had he
lived he would have been married on Sunday to the daughter
of a well to do farmer of Sullivan County. His remains will be
taken there for burial. John Kennedy, one of Fitzpatrick's
abettors, was arrested at 6:30 o'clock yesterday morning, and
he and McCormick were committed to the Tombs as
accessories by Coroner Brady, and Annie Harris and
Josephine Milburn, alias Big Blanche, were sent to the House
of Dentention. Capt. Allaire and a number of officers
searched every where for Fitzpatrick, but failed to apprehend
him. He is the sone of E. T. Fitzpatrick Alderman-elect from
the Fourth District. He bore a bad character, and had to leave
two positions his father found for him-one as a clerk in a
store downtown the other as a messenger in one ofthe City
Hall offices. A year ago Fitzpatrick in talking horse in
Campbell's salloon at Grand and Ridge streets, became
enraged and fired two shots at Campbell, who was behind the
bar. One shot struck and dented the handle of a beer-pump,
and the other cut intot he wainscoting, near Campbell's head.
The marks are there yet. The affair was hushed up, and the
Police heard of it yesterday for the first time. Fitzpatrick was
appointed a policeman on the 19th of last August. A week
before, he entered Owaey Geoghegan's saloon, in the Bowery,
and drew a dirk on the keeper of the place. He was however
overpowered and hustled into the street. He reported sick in
person to Capt. Tynan,, of the North Precinct at 6 P. M. on
Sunday, and was directed to go to Police Surgeen Matthews.
Instead of this he went to Big Blanche's with Kennedy. The
Eldridge-street Police station was yesterday draped in
mourning.
Republican Watchman Monticello, N.Y.
December 23, 1881
(Sullivan County Historical Society Hurleyville, N.Y.)

TRANSCRIPTION:

Thomas J. Norton Murdered

Thomas J. Norton, from Liberty, recently
appointed a policeman in New York, was
shot while on duty last Sunday evening and
died the same night. The New York dailies
have a long account of the outrage from
which we gather the following:
Sunday night while on duty policeman
Norton heard a disturbance in a tenement
house in the rear of a long narrow and dark
alley well known as the resort of the vilest
and most desperate characters. Without
waiting for aid he [?] to the scene and found
two or three men and equal number of
woman in an altercation. On interposing to
stop the disturbance, one of the men claimed
to be a policeman. Officer Norton
demanded to see his shield but the man had
none. While accompanying the gang from the
alley he was assaulted by them and while
successfully defending himself one of his
assailants named Bernard Fitzpatrick shot
him in the neck with a pistol. Though mortally
wounded he continued to defend himself until
he was insensible. When he recovered
sufficiently he dragged himself to the station
house and reported the affair. The man who
shot him proved to  be really a policeman,
who under pretense of being sick was
shirking duty and enjoying a drunken
carouse. He is the son of Alderman-elect
Edward Fitzpatrick and is reported t have
given his family a great deal of trouble by his
wicked conduct.
Poor Norton is well known in Liberty and
vicinity where his parents reside. He was a
brave young man of excellent character and
died in faithful discharge of his duty. His
remains were taken to Liberty for burial.
Thomas J. Norton

With slow, sad, funeral dirges
We reverently tread,
To place our fallen brother
In the realm of the dead.

His stalwart form and genial face
No more our ranks will grace.
A link detached - a shield unmanned,
How shall we fill his place?

No danger shunned - he bravely stood,
Tempestuous city life:
From pleasant fields of fragrant flowers
He sought a city's strife.

His strong right arm - his weapon sole,
He moved mid ruffian's brawl,
Obedient at duty's brawl,
He heard his Maker's call.

Then comrades, drop a manly tear
O'er Tom our manly chum,
And give the kin a manly hand,
In token of their son.

                    C. H. Lee
New York city, Dec221, 1881

(Found at Sullivan County Historical Society,
Hurleyville, NY)
Thomas J. Norton
Buried in Saint Peter Cemetery Liberty, New York
in the
Naughton/Norton family plot.
Inscription...
THOMAS J. NORTON
was killed
IN NEW YORK CITY
while bravely discharging
his duty
Dec. 18, 1881
New York City Police

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Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.

New York's Finest at The New-York Historical Society
The Trial
View the newspaper accounts of the trial
for the man that shot and killed Thomas J. Norton.