HEATHCOCK-NORTON HISTORY
Submitted by Joseph Moore     Posted November 8, 2002 by Myrtle Bridges



Based on Douglas W. Hathcock, Hathcock Family History, Volume IV: Hathcock Families of Ancient England, 
Colonial Virginia and the Carolinas (Huntsville,  Al.: privately published, 1989); Mary Norton Doggett, 
The Norton Family History of North Carolina (Greensboro, N.C.: privately published, 1992); and research 
and records of William Alton Norton of Pembroke Pines, Florida.


	EDWARD HEATHCOCK of Northampton County, North Carolina, is at the present time the earliest proven 
ancestor of this family.  The writer places his birth, no doubt in Virginia, at circa 1700, and his death 
as being soon after 1763, when he last appears in records.  Several writers have stated as apparent fact 
that he was a son or grandson of the immigrant Thomas Hitchcock or Hatcock (sometime variations of Heathcock) 
who was transported from England to Virginia by William Stone of Northampton County on the Eastern Shore, 
coming aboard the Paule in 1635.  While this claim is certainly possible, it cannot at present be stated 
as fact.  No proof of this immigrant Thomas Heathcock's family or descendants is yet found.  While he is 
the first individual of the Heathcock name recorded as coming to Virginia, that fact alone does not mean 
he is the ancestor of the subject Edward.  There are indications of several Heathcock immigrants to Virginia 
aside from Thomas of the Eastern Shore: another Thomas Heathcock was transported in 1672, William and 
Henry Heathcock were stated to have been transported in 1697, and another Henry Heathcock in 1715, although 
no Virginia records are found on these men (Douglas W. Hathcock as above, hereinafter cited as Hathcock, 
IV:36).  Francys (Francis) Heathcock died in 1670 in Lancaster County in the Northern Neck of Virginia, 
and some persons presume him to have been a son of the immigrant Thomas Heathcock of the Eastern Shore, 
but again, no proof of this assertion is found (ibid.). 
 
	The historian Paul Heinegg has written that an Edward Heathcock was in Henrico County, Virginia, from 
1711 to 1721, and cites as references Henrico County "Orders, 1710-4, 85, 198; Minutes 1719-24, 142." 
Heinegg speculates that this Edward Heathcock of Henrico County was likely the father of the subject 
Edward Heathcock later of Northampton County, North Carolina, and of Joseph Heathcock of Brunswick County, 
Virginia.  The late Douglas W. Hathcock of Huntsville, Alabama, author of several volumes of Heathcock/Hathcock 
history, did not mention these Henrico County records and was evidently unaware of them.  According to Mr. 
Hathcock, the first records locating Heathcocks in a specific Virginia locale are found in Brunswick County 
in 1732, when Joseph and Jesse Heathcock first appear in land records; Joseph Heathcock (named in Brunswick 
County records variously as Heathcock, Hathcock, and Haithcock) received a Brunswick County land grant in 
1732 in what years later became Greensville County (Hathcock, IV:30).  While he may have been a brother of 
Edward Heathcock of Northampton, North Carolina, the relationship is not proven.  Various Heathcocks/ 
Hathcocks/Haithcocks are found in Brunswick County records after 1732, representing several different family 
groups, and the names Edward and Thomas were used among various branches of these families in Virginia and 
North Carolina.

	The first known record of the subject Edward Heathcock appears in a Northampton County, North Carolina, 
land grant dated 22 June 1749, from Lord Granville to Joshua Step, referring to land on the east side of 
Arthur's Creek joining Edward Heathcock and Norton's Branch, establishing the presence of both the Heathcock 
and Norton families in the northwest corner of Northampton County just above the Roanoke River prior to this 
date in 1749 (Hathcock IV: 110; Mary Norton Doggett as above, hereinafter cited as Doggett, 5).  The location 
of their lands was between the present towns of Gaston and Garysburg on the north side of the Roanoke River, 
stated to be some five miles west or northwest of the city of Roanoke Rapids.

	The Norton name was far from commonplace in 18th Century Virginia.  Virginia land Rent Rolls for 
1704/5 list only one Norton in the colony (rolls for the Northern Neck counties have not survived), 
and that was Robert Norton with 1050 acres in Accomack County on the Eastern Shore.  As late as the 
Federal Census of 1810, Ancestry.com Census Indexes list Nortons only in the Virginia counties of Gloucester, 
Middlesex, Prince George (Petersburg), Loudon, and Washington; other Virginia Nortons had moved to North 
Carolina by that time.  The Nortons of Northampton County, North Carolina, had settled there by 1744, 
having moved from Bristol Parish, Prince George County, Virginia, where William and Anne Norton, parents 
of James and Mary Norton, were living in 1721.  (The birth of James Norton, son of William and Anne, 
appears in the Bristol Parish Register, showing him born 2 October 1721, and baptized 30 October 1722; 
Mary Norton, their daughter, was born 9 January 1724, and baptized 1 November 1724 [Churchill Gibson 
Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book and Register of Bristol Parish, Virginia, 1720-1789 (Richmond: 1898); 
Doggett 3-4].)  

	William and Anne's daughter Mary Norton acquired, apparently as an inheritance, Northampton County 
land from the estate of Thomas Harrington, deceased, in 1744/5 (Northampton County Deed Book 1, p.180, 
11 February 1744/5, Mary Harrington and Drury Harrington, Executors of Thomas Harrington, deceased, to 
Mary Norton of Northampton County, 100 acres in the fork of Arthur's Creek, part of a patent of 200 
acres granted to Thomas Harrington on 1 May 1742 [Doggett 5-6]).  The deceased Thomas Harrington may 
have been the father of William Norton's wife Anne, and thus the grandfather of Mary Norton, but this 
is unproven.  Mary and Drury Harrington, in another deed dated on the same day and with almost the same 
wording, conveyed another 100 acres of land, from the same 200-acre grant, also apparently as an inheritance, 
to Mary Hill, daughter of the late John Hill, deceased (ibid.).  Unfortunately, no family relationships 
to Thomas Harrington are stated in these deeds, thus they are left to conjecture.  Mary Norton again appears 
in a 1744 deed dated 17 August, when John Wade conveyed to Thomas Parker, both of Ockonichy (Ocannechie) 
in Northampton County, one negro boy called Will and one horse (Northampton County Deed Book 1, p. 134, 
17 August 1744, witnessed by Thomas Pace and Mary Norton [Doggett 5]).  William Norton's wife Anne Norton 
appears as witness to a Northampton County land deed in 1763 (Northampton County Deed Book 3, p. 241, 2 
February 1763, Thomas Jordan to Burwell Bass, land on Arthur's Creek joining Edward Heathcock and others 
[research of William Alton Norton]).  In later years, reference is made to "Norton's Corner" in Northampton 
County land records.

	The subject Edward Heathcock, although a landowner and designated as planter in deed records, evidently 
died intestate sometime after 1763, and only two children, Martha Norton and Thomas Heathcock, are proven 
to have been born to him and his wife Catron.   (Catron's proper name was certainly Kathryn or Catherine, 
for which Catron is a known nickname [Hathcock IV-121]; as Catron Heathcock she cosigned a deed with Edward 
Heathcock in Northampton County in 1757 [Northampton County Deed Book 2, p. 387, dated 2 April 1757, Edward 
Heathcock to Drury Jordan, 100 acres on the north side of Ragland's Ferry Road adjacent to James Norton and 
other lands of Heathcock, as abstracted in Hathcock IV:112].)  The father-daughter relationship of Edward 
Heathcock to Martha Norton is proven by a Northampton County deed dated 26 November 1753, in which Edward 
Heathcock, planter, sold to "James Norton, his son-in-law," 100 acres being part of a patent originally 
granted to Edward Heathcock (Northampton County Deed Book 2, p. 129 [Hathcock IV:111, 123; Doggett 6, 9]).  
In later records James Norton is identified as a planter (Northampton County Deed Book 3, p. 202, 22 June 
1762, "James Norton of Northampton County, North Carolina, planter," to Amey Heathcock, for 10 pounds, 50 
acres of land on Arthur's Creek, bounded by lands of James Norton and Sylvanus Stanton [Doggett 10]; Amy 
Heathcock is not identified).  

	Edward Heathcock's relationship to Thomas Heathcock is proven by a deed dated 17 May 1758, in which 
Edward Hathcock, planter, sold to Thomas Hathcock, planter, "for the love and good will I have for my 
son [Thomas]," 100 acres of land on Turbyfield's Run (Northampton County Deed Book 2, p. 476 [Hathcock 
IV:113, 118; Doggett 6]).  Thomas Heathcock moved by 1769 to Anson County, North Carolina, on the South 
Carolina border, probably in the part of Anson that was formed into Richmond County on its creation in 
1779, and ultimately became Scotland County, North Carolina.  Thomas Heathcock was thus evidently the 
first of the Heathcocks and Nortons to settle there.  In 1780 William and John Norton (William known to 
be a son of James and Martha [Heathcock] Norton and John believed to be William's brother) were in 
Richmond County applying for land grants (research of William Alton Norton), but William returned to 
Northampton and the Norton family as a group did not make the move to Richmond County until 1787.  
(No other record of this John Norton has yet been found, whereby it is thought he died by 1790 or 
thereabout.  He may have been the father of several young children who appeared in the James Norton 
household between 1786 and 1790, when James's own children had long since established separate households 
of their own.  It is thought that several of these children may have included at least some of the Nortons 
later in Fayette County, Georgia.)  

	Thomas Heathcock lived many years in Richmond County with his wife, children, and grandchildren.  
He was surely not the Thomas Hathcock whom Heinegg found as an insolvent on the Bute County, North 
Carolina, Tax Digest for 1769 (other records locate the subject Thomas Heathcock in Anson County in 
that year); he was undoubtedly the Thomas Heathcock listed in the 1790 Richmond County Census with 
three white males and three white females composing his household.  His wife's name is unknown and 
the number and names of all his children are also unknown.  Douglas Hathcock attributed three sons 
to him: Samuel Heathcock, Thomas Heathcock, Jr., and John Heathcock, Sr., no one of whom is proven.  
Other writers give him other sons.  

	Thomas Heathcock's death was noted with what must have been considerable error and exaggeration 
in the Richmond County Carolina Observer of 12 May 1818:

	LONGEVITY --- Died in Richmond County on the 13th instant at the seat of
	Colonel T. Pate, Thomas Hathcock, aged one hundred and twenty five years.
            He left a numerous family of children settled in different parts of the country, 
            two of whom live in the State of Georgia, one aged ninety-three and the other
            eighty-seven, and one son in Richmond County, but little the rise of sixteen 
            years of age!  [Hathcock IV:132]      

	Samuel and John, Sr., were believed by Douglas Hathcock to be the two sons living in Georgia in 1818, 
and Thomas, Jr., the son who is traced in land records into South Carolina.  (Hathcock also observed that 
the two sons in Georgia could have been Hosiah and William Hathcock of Elbert County in that state [Hathcock 
IV:139]).  If he died in 1818 at age 125 years, Thomas Heathcock would have been born around 1693, which 
is many years too early in view of the later birth of his sister Martha Norton, whose husband James Norton 
was born in 1721, and her own birth surely occurred between 1720 and 1730.  It is more likely that Thomas 
Heathcock was upwards of ninety years old at his death in 1818, and that he, like his sister Martha, was 
born sometime between the years 1720 and 1730.  Such exaggeration in the ages of the "old and ancient" of 
that era were common in the popular press, and even in the census records of the time.  As his own age was 
exaggerated, so were the ages of his sons as given above, the first two stated to be older than they were, 
and the last probably being a grandson or great-grandson rather than a son of this Thomas Heathcock. 

	As to Colonel Thorougood Pate, at whose home Thomas Heathcock died, associations among the Heathcock, 
Pate, and Norton families were apparently close and they often appeared in one another's records in Richmond 
County.  All three families were near neighbors on and near Joe's Creek in southeast Richmond County, in 
what is now Scotland County.  The writer suspects marriages among the Heathcocks, Nortons, and Pates that 
have escaped surviving records.  (The question arises as to whether Colonel Thorougood Pate was in some 
way related to the family of Captain Adam Thorowgood who came to Virginia in 1621 and ultimately settled 
in Lower Norfolk County.  Pate researchers find no connection and have determined that the Thoroughgood 
name was used in the Pate family prior to their settlement in Virginia [Joel M. Pate to the writer, 4 August 
2002].)

	It has been suggested that John Heathcock of Northampton County may have been a son of the subject 
Edward Heathcock (see Northampton County Deed Book 2, p. 475, 17 May 1758, Edward Heathcock to John 
Heathcock, for 2 pounds 10 shillings Virginia money, 20 acres on Turbafield's Run joining Drury Jordan 
[Hathcock IV:113, 141; Doggett 6]), and that various other Heathcocks/Hathcocks may have been Edward's 
children, but as previously stated, only Martha and Thomas are proven.  

	Erroneous information has appeared on several webites relative to this Heathcock family.  Several 
persons have stated, without any documentation whatever, that these Heathcocks were Native American 
mixed bloods and that this Edward Heathcock was the father of two families of mixed-blood children by 
black or mixed-blood African or Native American women.  Given that one of these families was located in 
Halifax County and the other in Johnston County, both in the same year (1787), and some twenty-five years 
after the death of the subject Edward Heathcock, it is clear that at least two different men named Edward 
Hathcock and Edward Haithcock were the subjects of these later records, and neither could be the Edward 
Heathcock of this account.  As to claims of Native American identity, all records found on the subject 
Edward Heathcock, his wife Catron, their son Thomas and daughter Martha, as well as Martha's husband 
James Norton, his parents William and Anne Norton, and the children of James and Martha (Heathcock) Norton, 
identify all of them as free white persons, with no indication that any of these people were of mixed blood 
of any kind.  

	Douglas Hathcock stated that some of the Heathcock/Hathcock/Haithcock families in Brunswick and 
Greensville Counties, Virginia, married into the Native American and white mixed-blood families of 
Stewart, Jeffries, and Turner (Hathcock IV:38, referring to the "Tributary Indians," who were the 
Meherrin, Catawba, Appomatox, and Nottoway, leaning especially toward the last), which no doubt accounts 
for the Haithcocks who were later associated with the so-called Portuguese mixed-blood settlement near 
Gaston, North Carolina, and whose mixed-blood descendants claim to come from the Saponi people who 
eventually landed in the area where the "Purtuguese" settlement was located.  

	These Native American alliances with certain of the Virginia Haithcocks have no evident bearing on 
the Edward Heathcock family of Northampton County.  The Heathcocks and Nortons were of English and 
probably Norman origin.  Nortons (de Noruiles/de Norvilles) are specifically identified as Normans in 
English history, and New England Nortons claim to trace their ancestry to Le Seigneur De Norville who 
is stated to have come to England with William the Conqueror in 1066.  In any case, the name is English 
and certainly Norman.  Douglas Hathcock accepted the name Catron as a French nickname for Catherine 
(Hathcock IV:121, citing Elsdson C. Smith, American Surnames, 95), and if so, Catron Heathcock may have 
been of French Huguenot extraction and descended from one of the Huguenot families who settled in 1700 
at Manakintowne in Henrico (now Powhatan) County, Virginia, where the Heathcocks were evidently living by 1711.
  
	Finally, the Edward Hathcock in Northampton County in the 1786 North Carolina State Census is not the 
subject Edward, but is likely one of the several Hathcocks/Haithcocks who moved into the Northampton County 
area from around Southampton, Greensville, and Brunswick Counties, Virginia.  As previously stated, their 
connection to the the subject Heathcock family, if any, is not established.

Joseph Moore
Henry County, Georgia
31 October 2002


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