John Frazier Home

Location: 100 yards south of the Norton Ice plant on the east side of the road leading from Norton to the
High Knob.

Date: Approximately 1850

Owners: Granted by the Commonwealth in 1786 to Harry L. Smith. Smith sold to Dale Carter before the organization of Wise County. Dale Carter sold to John Frazier. Alexander Walcott laid a patent on this land in 1795 and got his patent on record before Harry L. Smith. Patrick Hagan got a claim to this land
some way before the County of Wise was formed and he and Dale Carter had a case in the Supreme Court in 1871 over this land. John Frazier held his claim in some way and his wife sold the parcel of land where the old house stood to Ada Connor, June 9, 1897 and she still has the property.

Description: The John Frazier house was a two room, unhewn pole house, chinked and daubed with clay. The house had wooden shutters for windows and a very rough batten door. Clapboard roof. Stone chimney with a large fireplace and the room that had the fireplace served as a living room, dining room, kitchen and also a bed room. The house was floored with very rough puncheons.

Historical Significance: John Frazier was the first man to settle at the present site of the town of Norton. He was married to Lydia Drusilla Samantha Matilda Salyers, a daughter of Squire Samuel Salyers. Their daughter, Mrs. Martha Beverly, who still lives near the old home place was the first child born at Prince's Flats (Norton) in 1866.
    Mrs. Beverly states that during the cold winter when the family had no kindling, they would turn over the puncheons of the floor and hack kindling from the underside. Soon after Fraziers settled at Prince's Flats, Green B. Jones settled across the flat from them near and above the Norton Bakery. At that time
matches were unknown and if either of the two families let their fire die out they would go to the home of the other and borrow a chunk of fire and carry it home a distance of nearly a mile. The first kerosene lamp Mrs. Beverly ever saw was about 1875. It was a small brass lamp with a wire handle with a teapot-like
spout, through which was run a round wick. The lamp had no chimney and was a very smoky affair. Mrs. Beverly says that her Mother lit the lamp, set it out in the yard and waited to see if it would explode. Before this lamp came into use the only means of lighting were pitch pine torches. They parched and ground their own coffee. Most of the coffee was parched buckwheat and other grains, which they claim made a very tasty as well as a very nourishing drink. Their sweets was sorghum molasses and maple syrup. Most of the families had several hives of bees that had been taken from the mountains and placed in hollowed out logs for hives. 

Sources of Information: Mrs. Martha Beverly, J. H. Kilgore and Court Records.


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