Norton-Eckstrom Family Collection

About the Collection

This album was compiled from a miscellaneous group of photographs gifted to the Guilford Keeping Society by Cynthia Evans from the Estate of Richard Eckstrom of Mulberry Point, in 2017.

Mr. Eckstrom was sadly predeceased by his three children and his dear wife, Cynthia Norton (1925-2015), who was a lineal descendant of Thomas Norton who immigrated to Guilford in 1639. Cynthia Norton's association with Mulberry Point was a lifelong one, although she was not a fulltime, year round resident there until 1966.

In fact, Cynthia's Norton family line had a longer association with Mulberry Point than any other family. Her Grandfather William Nelson Norton (1829-1907) established his home in the old "Island House," framed by two branches of the West River, at 55 York Street. In 1885, William purchased a small waterfront lot (now 805/807 Mulberry Point Road) and built a small summer cottage. He always had a small boat and lots of fishing gear.

Abraham Norton, Jr. (1789-1863) married Bede Hotchkiss, 1819

William Nelson Norton (1829-1907) married Cynthia Norton, 1870

Walter Wentworth Norton (1876-1968) first married Emma Clark, 1901,

       later married Helena ("Nellie") Shortland

Cynthia Norton (1925-2015) married Richard Eckstrom

 

The Nortons faced many challenges living on the headwater of a tidal river that often backed up from storm tides. Cynthia Eckstrom's unmarried Aunt Lottie, who lived in the Island House, describes water damages in her August 1901 diary entries. The "west bridge" stonework was undermined on one side, the road eroded down by four feet, and water cascaded into the yard and house. Lottie describes 18 inches of water in the pantry, the loss of 20 chickens, and saving their pigs by laying down planks.

It is speculated that William N. Norton had a close connection with Mulberry Point even before 1885. He had kindred ties with various employees at the fish-oil works conducted at Mulberry Point, 1865-1873. William's brother- in-law, John C. Norton, was a carpenter at the fish-oil works from its inception; William's brother and sister-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. John S. Norton, were proprietors of a boarding house for the workers at the fish-oil works.

Cynthia Eckstrom was the only child of Walter Wentworth Norton (1876- 1968). According to the late Euphemia Freeman of Mulberry Point (5/4/1980), Mrs. William Norton often pushed her baby son, Walter W. Norton, all the way down to Mulberry Point in a stroller for summer picnics under a large basswood tree that stood on the shore. This tree is long gone, but is referenced in early deeds when the Mulberry Point cottage lots were subdivided. Such picnics may have induced Mr. & Mrs. William Norton to purchase a little lot on this scenic shore.

Walter Norton inherited his parent's summer cottage at Mulberry, naming it "The Pioneer." When the Hurricane of 1938 shifted the cottage off its foundation, Walter moved the structure directly across the street. In time, he added a square, 3-story tower to the cottage which, according to Euphemia Freeman, resembled a Methodist Church belfry/steeple. Thereafter, the Norton Cottage was known as "Tower Cottage." From the tower, Walter could view Long Island Sound on both sides of Mulberry Point, including his little island of rock called "Inner White Top."

 

The Tower Cottage stood immediately south of 798 Mulberry Point Road and was razed in the 1980s. On its original site on the west side of the road (#807), Walter built a new retirement home in 1952.

It is striking that part of the Norton photograph collection includes pre-1900 bound volumes containing early portraits of extended family members, Including:

John S. Norton (Walter's paternal uncle) & wife, Mary Morse

Edward Norton (Walter's paternal uncle)

Amelia B. Norton Davis (Walter's paternal aunt)

Lorenzo Norton (Walter's maternal uncle)

Rosa Norton Blatchley (Walter's maternal aunt)

Charlotte Morse Norton (Walter's maternal grandmother) Katie B. Norton (Walter's maternal 1st cousin)

Gertrude S. Norton (Walter's maternal 1st cousin)