Rev. Charles R. Norton, pastor emeritus of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Glendale, after a long and useful life, is spending the declining years in Glendale, the California city of his choice, to which he came with his family in 1883, under orders from his church superiors to organize and build up a Methodist church. How well he obeyed this order is shown by the history of the church as it appears in this volume. Mr. Norton is not only well known within church and G. A. R. circles, in which he especially moves, but throughout the community at large, where he is always ready to play well his part in the work of upbuilding, by taking an active interest in civic affairs.
The Norton family came from England before the Revolutionary War, settling in the state of Connecticut. The father of the subject of this sketch was taken to Ohio when a boy and grew up in that state, where he married and reared a family of five daughters and a son Charles, who was born on December 2, 1835. Two of the daughters married before the Civil War, their husbands enlisting in the Union army, one of them losing an arm in action while with Sherman in front of Atlanta. Charles also entered the army, enlisting when seventeen years old, in the One Hundred Forty-eighth Ohio Volunteers, and served in the Army of the Potomac. As a boy he worked on a farm, receiving five dollars a month “ and board.” His schooling previous to entering the army consisted in attendance at the country school for three months in the year. In the spring of 1865, having received his honorable discharge from the army, he went to Iowa and again worked on a farm. In the fall of 1869 he went to Iowa and again worked on a farm. In the spring of 1869 he entered the academy at Burlington, Iowa, and in the spring of 1870 began his attendance at the Mt. Pleasant Wesleyan Seminary, having decided to study for the ministry. In 1872 he was admitted to the Conference at Oskaloosa, Iowa, and appointed to Salem as preacher. On My 6, 1873, he married Miss Jennie Morris, of Van Buren County. To his couple were born six children, four sons and two daughters.
After thirty-one years of active service in the Iowa conference, Mr. Norton came to California, arriving in Glendale in 1903. He preached his first sermon in this city on October eighteen of that year in the hall of the Ayers Building. A church roll had been started on the previous Sunday by the Rev. John Stafford, with thirty-two names of members of the new organization. Mr. Norton recalls, in speaking of conditions then existing, the peach orchard and barley field, one adjoining and the other near his residence, and contrasts it with the growing city of today. Under his guidance the church grew until, in 1907, it had 207 members. On September 16, 1906, the church building, the finest church structure at that time in the San Fernando Valley, estimated to be worth $10,000, was dedicated by Rev. (afterwards Bishop) McIntyre, who preached from the text, “Behold what God has wrought.” Rev. Norton has always been an ardent and active Republican in politics and in Glendale has worked consistently at all times for a “clean city kept clean,” and now in the quiet evening of his life looks back on his splendid record of service in many varied activities, with the satisfaction that comes from a sense of duty performed, and the well founded hope for the future “Beyond the Veil.”
From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. Pgs. 464-467.