Vitals: Robert, Sr. & Catherine Dowling Norris

Robert, Sr. (1761-1845) b. Castle Dawson, Derry, Northern Ireland; r. West Deer Twp., Allegheny Co., PA (probably son of James & unknown Norris)

Catherine Dowling (1750/62-1784/90) nothing is known of her; some sources list a Dowling as Robert, Jr.’s wife

Marriage: first 1784, Robert, Jr’s mother; second, Martha 1791, Ardboe, Maghera Parish; may have returned to Ireland or died at sea; some sources list a Ferguson (1760- ) as wife in West Deer; others list second as Mary; 9 half-siblings exist with Robert, Jr.

-Emigration: some sources say as early as 1810/11, Derry to Philadelphia, Mary Wallington? Did he then return and/or send (for) his son Robert, Jr. and the rest of the family? Or did Robert, Sr. come as late as 1820?

Children: exact names, numbers, and mothers uncertain

1. Robert, Jr. (1785-1867) believed to be the only child of Robert, Sr.’s first wife; b. Swatragh, Maghera Parish, Derry, Northern Ireland; r. West Deer Twp. (m1. Mary MacKrell – our line; m2. Mary Alice Watt? or vice versa)
-emigration: 1820-26; he is believed to have brought all 7 sons & 2 daughters by Robert, Sr.’s second marriage to WDT
-buried: moved from Culmerville to Deer Creek Presbyterian Cemetery, WDT, around 1922 when railroad was constructed
2. Daniel (1798-1887) probably began the half-sibling relationships from Robert, Sr.’s second wife; b. Ulster; r. West Deer & Buffalo Twps.
3. Adam Blair (1800-1870) half brother to our Robert, Jr. (m. Effie Ferguson; “8 children’s names recorded in basement floor of home built of brick from Norris kiln on Blanchard Rd., WDT) b. Ulster; r. WDT (m. Effie Ferguson, daughter of David & Susannah Pollard Ferguson. David was a scout for Gen. George Washington in the Rev. War)
4. John (1801-1896) half-brother to Robert, Jr. “One of the oldest Freemasons in this part of the country,” having become as Master in 1820. One source claims that he returned to Ireland with his mother, then emigrated to Canada in 1824 and arrived in WDT in 1828. (m. Mary E. Moore in Newfoundland)
5. James H. (1805-1878) half-brother to Robert, Jr. b. Ulster; r. Clinton Twp., Butler Co., PA (m. Susannah Ferguson, sister of Effie, his brother Adam’s wife; m2. Violet Sweeney Carnahan, distant relative of my paternal Carnahans of eastern PA)
6. Henry (1814-1900) half-brother to Robert, Jr. b. Ulster; r. WDT (m. ___; son and grandson, both named James, were ministers at the family church, Pleasant Unity Presbyterian)
7. Esther (1815-  ) half-sister to Robert, Jr. b. Ulster; r. New Jersey
8. Nancy (1817-1876) half-sister to Robert, Jr. b. Ulster; r. New Jersey
9. son (  ) half-brother to Robert, Jr. b. Ulster; r. Norristown, PA
10. son (  ) half-brother to Robert, Jr. b. Ulster; r. Norristown


Graff, John. West Deer Township: 150 years of history. 17 April 2014

Monnier, Mary Etta, and Dorothy Voeckel. “Norris Family.” West Deer Township: 150 years of Progress, 1836-1986, Ken Lewetag, ed., 1986.

Norris, Daniel E. “Norris Families Residing in Maghera Parish, Derry County, Northern Ireland Between 1740-1859.” Feb. 2009.

Notes from Edna Gray

U.S. Federal Census, 1840. Ancestry com

Various Public Member Family Trees and other documents.


Last revised 12/21/17

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