Amasa Norcross

Amasa Norcross, A. M., of Fitchburg, Mass., was born in Rindge, N. H., January 26, 1824. His father, Daniel Norcross, was a farmer in New Hampshire, and was the grandson of Jeremiah Norcross, the immigrant ancestor of the family, who arrived in this country in the year 1642, and settled at Watertown, Mass. Daniel Norcross was a man of sterling integrity, a large land-holder, and the incumbent of many offices of honor and trust. His wife, nee Mary Jones, was also a native of New Hampshire.

Amasa Norcross received an excellent academic education, first in the academy of his native town, and subsequently in a similar institution at New Ipswich, N. H. Selecting the profession of law for the life exercise of his talents and energies, in 1844 he became a student in the office of the Hon. Nathaniel Wood of Fitchburg, and in 1847 was admitted to the bar. Since that time he has pursued his professional labors in the city where he now resides. He is to-day the senior member of the Fitchburg bar, and for many years he has been a recognized leader of the legal fraternity in that section of the state.

In 1858, 1859, and 1862, Mr. Norcross was a member of the Massachusetts house of representatives, having been elected thereto on the Republican ticket. In 1858 he was a member of the committee of probate and chancery, of which Governor Andrew, then a member of the house, was chairman; and in 1859 and 1862 he was a member of the judiciary committee. In August of the last-named year, he was appointed, by President Lincoln, United States assessor for the ninth congressional district of Massachusetts. The district was large, comprising seventy-two townships. He filled the office with signal ability and satisfaction for ten years, and until the office of assessor was abolished by act of congress. In 1862 the authorities of Dartmouth College conferred upon him the degree of Master of Arts.

In the session of 1859, Mr. Norcross was appointed a member of the joint committee of the senate and house of representatives to examine and amend the report of the commissioners appointed to codify the laws of the state. He gave to this work his entire attention for several months, when report was made by the committee to the adjourned session of the legislature, held in the autumn of that year. Upon this committee were several distinguished lawyers, among whom were Gen. Caleb Cushing and Gen. Benjamin F. Butler. In 1874 he was a member of the Massachusetts senate and chairman of the judiciary committee of that body. He was also chairman of the committee on federal relations. To him was assigned the honor of drafting the report which recommended rescinding the resolutions of censure upon Charles Sumner which had been passed by the legislature of Massachusetts. Previous efforts to relieve that distinguished statesman from that burden had failed; this succeeded. The rescinding resolutions reached Senator Sumner at Washington a few days before his death, and doubtless contributed materially to soothe his last hours.

In the fall of 1876, Mr. Norcross was elected representative to congress on the Republican ticket, over his political opponent, S. O. Lamb of Greenfield. In 1878 he was elected a second time, over the candidates of two political parties. He has been an active member of the Republican party since its organization, and is now serving his third term in congress, having been again re-elected in 1880. In the several conventions resulting in his nomination and election, he was always supported by the better elements in his party.

Local affairs have always received a proportionate share of Mr. Norcross's attention. On the organization of the city government of Fitchburg, in 1873, he received the honor of first election to the mayoralty of the new city. He was re-elected the following year. In the administration of its affairs his executive ability was marked. Necessary public improvements were effected, and all bear tokens of his excellent judgment and skill. With financial and other public organizations he has been, for many years, prominently identified. He is a director in the Rollstone National Bank of Fitchburg, in the Worcester North Savings Institution, and in the Fitchburg Fire Insurance Company.

The interest of Mr. Norcross in benevolent and educational institutions has been deep and constant, and he has done much for their advancement. He took an active part in organizing the Fitchburg Benevolent Union, was its first president, and he is now one of its life members. For fifteen years he has been a trustee of the Lawrence Academy at Groton, Mass. By act of the legislature of Massachusetts he was made one of the original members of the corporation known as the Cushing Academy, located at Ashburnham, and by the same act was designated as the member authorized to call the first meeting of the trustees, of which board he is still a member. He has contributed largely to the organizing and building up of this now flourishing academy. For more than thirty years the labors of Mr. Norcross connected with his large legal practice have been arduous and continuous.

In June, 1852, he was married to S. Augusta, daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca Wallis, of Ashby, Mass. She died March 4, 1869.