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The Norman Family in Ohio

Patriot Bazil Norman
An African American Revolutionary War Veteran

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Mound Cemetery, Marietta, Ohio

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Denver Norman - Justice McGee Brown - Henry Robert Burke

Descendents of Elizabeth Norman

Compiled by Mr. John Sunami of Columbus, Ohio.

 

We are fortunate that much of the family of Bazabeel Norman is well documented. Normans were among the first black settlers in the United States Northwest Territory, Ohio and Michigan. Normans have been soldiers in American wars since the original War of Revolution. The Normans are said never to have been slaves.

 

[1] This and other early information is based on the research of Paul Heinegg “Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware” as found at freeafricanamericans.com. This date and information contradicts what is in military records, but I believe the earlier date is more accurate than the 1760 date listed by the military. He is mentioned in the 1750 Maryland court records under the name Basil. At his enlistment in 1777 into the Continental Army, he would have been age 27 rather than age 17, which though possible, is less likely. Also, at 27 he would have finished his twenty-one year indenture.

[1] The meaning of the name is obscure, though basil has roots to “royal” in Greek and an old meaning of beele is the stock for a tree graft, thus Bazabeele could mean “of royal stock.” It could also be a placename, beal meaning a narrow valley, thus a valley where Basil grows.

[1] The only information from the Maryland court records about the children’s fathers is for Edward, whose father is mentioned as a “Mullato man of William Digge’s.” It is possible that Elizabeth could have had a stable relationship with someone she could not marry. This would have been of advantage to Richard Keene, her master after Benjamin Belt, who was able to keep her indentured by buying her from the court after each child. When she was about 55 she stated she could no longer work and was granted a pension by the court.

 

Bazabeel (Basaleel, Bazil, Bazel, Bazzell, Basil, Bazlo, Bazael) Norman was born 12 July 1750 in Prince George’s County, MD and he died 17 July 1830 in Roxbury Township, Washington County, OH. The name Bazabeel, though uncommon, is an English name used in the 18th century.

 

Elizabeth Norman (b. about 1695) was probably an indentured English servant of Benjamin Belt in Prince George’s County, MD when she had a “mallatoe” child, Jane, in 1715. When she had her other illegitimate mulatto children Edward and Bridgett, her indenture was extended for seven years each instance and the children were indentured to the age of 31, so we may assume similar arrangements in 1715.



 This and other early information is based on the research of Paul Heinegg “Free African Americans of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware” as found at freeafricanamericans.com. This date and information somewhat contradicts what is in Basil Norman's military records, but I believe this date is more accurate than the 1760 date listed by the military. He is mentioned in the 1750 Maryland court records under the name Basil. At his enlistment in 1777 into the Continental Army, he would have been age 27 rather than age 17, which though possible, is less likely. Also, at 27 he would have finished his twenty-one year indenture.

 The meaning of the name is obscure, though the name Basil is rooted to Greek “royality” and an old meaning of "beele" is the stock of a tree graft. Thus Bazabeele could mean “of royal stock.” It could also be a placename; beal meaning a narrow valley, thus a valley where the Basil plant grows.

The only information from the Maryland court records about the father or fathers of Elizabeth Norman's children is given for Edward, whose father is mentioned as a “Mullato man belonging to William Digges.” It is possible that Elizabeth could have had a stable relationship with Edward, but could not marry. This would have been of advantage to her masters Richard Keene and Benjamin Belt, who were able to keep her indentured by buying her from the court after each child. When she was about 55 she stated she could no longer work and was granted a pension by the court.

Of the other children is also stated to be free, Richard Keene is instructed by the court to provide to one of the sons a year of schooling and a decent suit of clothing at the end of his indenture, so it is possible that Basil also received similar treatment.

 

The Maryland State Archives show Basil Norman as enlisting in the Revolutionary Army on 6 June 1778 and being discharged on 31 July 1783. He served with the Seventh Maryland Regiment, commanded by Colonel John Gunby,ina company of Light Infantry commanded by Captain Beatty until 12 March 1781, when he transfers as a “waiter to Captain Anderson”. His listing in the payroll of 1783 is with Lieut Bonham’s Company in the Northern Division. He is listed as having fought at the Battles of Cowpens and Camden. There is also a notation that on 11 December 1781 he received “one suit of Cloaths, one pair of Shoes and one pair of Stockings”

 

In September 1782 he married Fortune Stevens (Stephens b. abt. 1755) in Frederick, Maryland. They had six sons and one daughter, all of whom were probably born eitgher in Maryland or Virginia : James (b.1785) , Grandison Pewinkle (b.7 May 1788), Joseph (b.abt.1794), Rebecca (b.1795), Aquilla (b.11 July 1797), Bazil Jr. (b.1800), and Samuel (b.1802). Bazabeel and his wife owned 40 acres of land in Frederick County which they sold 1 October 1814 for $250 to George Shamblin. This is after they had moved to Ohio.



According to a roster published by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Ohio, Bazabeel Norman enlisted as a private in 1777 and served four years under Colonel John Gunby. Henry Burke, a Norman descendant and historian living in Marietta, says Bazel was an artilleryman. Captain Richard Anderson commanded the 12th Company.

 Much of this and other information is based on the research of Wilbur Norman of Zanesville, the Multicultural Genealogical Center, and Saundra Darlene Norman-Edwards, and Multiracial Pioneers of the Ohio Valley by Benjamin F. Bain. 

The origin of Grandison’s name is unknown, though it may be related to a patriotic feeling for the French involvement in the Revolutionary War. This idea is reinforced by the name of Grandison’s son, Marquis DeLafayette Norman. Grandison’s middle name probably refers to the periwinkle flower. The name Aquilla may come from one of Bazabeel’s comrades-at-arms, as there is an Aquilla Dever listed in the same (Lt. Lynne’s) Company.

 

From the Frederick County Deed Books

1 October 1814 - Indenture between Bazlo Norman and Fortune his wife ... and Geo. Shamblin [sic] of [Frederick] County ... for $250 paid by the said

 Geo. Chamblin [sic] ... tract of land lying on the head waters of Isaac's Creek a branch of Back Creek 1 [adjoining McGinnis, Alexander Henderson, Charles Simmons, John Capper] it being part of a

greater tract of 97 acres made for the said McGinnis and Patented in his name the above said land supposed to Contain about 40 acres ... 36-424

3 November 1814 - Indenture between George Shamblyn [sic] and Mary his wife of Frederick County and Thomas Hook of Hampshire County ...

for $1 ... a certain tract of land on the head waters of Isaacs Creek [as in 36-422] ... The within indenture is given upon this special trust ... that whereas the within named Geo. Chamblyn is indebted to Bazel Norman in the sum of $140 to be paid in manner following ... $28 on 12/23/15, $20 [sic] on 12/23/16, $28 on 12/23/17, $28 on 12/23/18 and $28 on 12/23/19, and the said Geo. Chamblin being desirous of securing the payment

of the several sums of money to the said Bazel Norman. Now therefore if either of the above mentioned sums shall remain Unpaid when the same shall severally become due then ... it shall ... be lawful for the said Thomas Hook after advertising the same for three weeks successively

in some News Paper printed in Winchester, to sell the ... Premises at Public Auction for ready Money to the highest bidder ... 51-187

    [release for the above tract: RI the said Thomas Hook do hereby declare that my name was only used in trust for the said Bazel NormanS]39-365

1 April 1817-

    Indenture between George Chamblyn and Mary his wife of Frederick County ... and Thomas McGraw of the County of Hampshire ... for $200 ... parcel ... on the head waters of Isaacs Creek a branch of back Creek and being the same purchased by the same Chamblyn of Basil Norman and Fortune his wife as per Deed [of 1 October 1814] ...

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Dad (John Burke) Mom (Anna Norman Burke)