William Hutchinson Norris

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William Hutchinson Norris (September 25, 1800 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia – July 13, 1893 in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, São Paulo) is known for being a founder of the town of Americana and a settlement in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, and a significant figure in the history of the Confederados.

Norris was a Mexican-American War veteran and an Alabama senator as well, who left the US for Brazil with 30 Confederate families.[1]

Career in the United States[edit]

Norris served in the Alabama State Legislature, both as a Senator and member of the Alabama House of Representatives from Dallas County during the late 1830s and early 1840s. On December 2, 1861 he was elected Grand Master of the Alabama Masonic Lodge.

Career in Brazil[edit]

On 27 December 1865, Norris and his son Robert C. Norris arrived in Rio de Janeiro aboard the ship South America. It is uncertain what his departure point was; probably New Orleans or Mobile. Norris had left his home at Mount Pleasant in Monroe County. The only member of this immediate family who did not accompany the group to Brazil was his son Francis Johnson Norris.

Norris helped establish a Confederate American presence in Americana and Santa Bárbara d'Oeste where slavery was still legal and began cotton planting.[1] During that period, Norris served as Imperial Congressman for the State of São Paulo, and was also commissioned the rank of Colonel of the National Guard.

On 10 January 1867, the rest of the Norris family left New Orleans aboard the Talisman bound for Rio. After a bad storm, with damage to the ship, they wound up in the Cape Verde Islands and did not reach Rio until April 19, 1867.

Norris died at Santa Bárbara d'Oeste on July 13, 1893.

A 2015 plaque on his grave spells his middle name as "Hutchison."


Norris's parents were William Norris b 31 March 1757 in Johnston County, North Carolina and Nancy Watkins b 1772 in Augusta County, Virginia. They married in Wilkes County, Georgia in the late 1780s and their marriage bond was posted in February 1792. In 1793, a portion of Wilkes County became part of the new Oglethorpe County where he was born in 1800. Norris's father, William Norris, served in a North Carolina regiment in the American Revolutionary War. His grave was marked by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Cataula, Georgia, at a Baptist church in the area.

Harry Alexander Davis wrote a long (the typed manuscript, held at the US Library of Congress, is nearly 1,500 pages long) unpublished work about several Norris families. He claims that Norris's parents were William Norris (b. 1758 Maryland) and Sarah Rigdon, the daughter of Alexander Rigdon of Harford County. This claim, like others in the Davis Manuscript, is controversial and unattributed; The Rigdons of Maryland has a well documented entry on Alexander Rigdon and there is no indication that he ever had a daughter named Sarah as stated by Davis, nor is there any indication that a Sarah Rigdon married into the Norris family.

In approximately 1812, the family relocated to Jasper County and shortly before 1820, Norris migrated to Alabama where he remained until he moved forever to Brazil.

Prior to his marriage to Mary Black, Norris was married to Melinda Black who is thought to have been a cousin of Mary.[2]

Norris had 3 sons-in-law: Willie Daniel (married to Nancy Angeline), Edward Townsend and Joseph Whitaker.


  • Norris is credited with founding the city of Americana, as the land where he first arrived became the new town years after his death.


  1. ^ a b Gage, Leighton (8 January 2012). "Brazilian Confederacy". São Paulo, Brasil: Sleuthsayers. Retrieved 18 January 2012. 
  2. ^ [1]