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French and Indian War commission of Major Peter Norton in the Massachusetts Militia dated 1761. Signed by Francis Bernard as Captain General and Governor in Chief of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, with his paper seal still in place at the upper left. Signed on October 1, 1761, conferring the rank of Major in the Duke's County Regiment of Militia commanded by John Newman. John Newman and John Norton have signed it on the lower right testifying that Peter Norton on November 4, 1761, took the oaths appointed by Act of Parliament.
This turned up recently at a Massachusetts sale consigned by a member of the family and is recorded as being in family hands in a 1914 biographical sketch of Major Norton published in 1927 by the Duke's County Historical Society (a photocopy of which accompanies the commission.)
Norton was born in 1718 in Edgartown, Mass., and lived there his entire life, serving in a number of public offices: selectman, surveyor, town treasurer, church Deacon, and county Sheriff.
He was a signatory to a 1775 embargo on goods imported from Britain or the West Indies. Several of his sons enlisted in a company raised for sea coast defense during the Revolution and to avoid any suspicion of himself, enlisted at the age of 57 as a private in the local militia company, serving from August through November of 1776.
The commission measures roughly 16 by 13 inches and is in a modern frame. A portion of a label from an older framing is attached to the reverse. There are fold lines and a few minor holes along the folds, but nothing obtrusive. I have not removed it from the frame.
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