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Biographical Sketch of Ivy Norfleet

By Phil Norfleet


Ivy6 Norfleet (James5, John4, John3, John2, Thomas1 Northfleete) was born 29 October 1799 in Pulaski County KY, and died 05 June 1883 in Miller County MO. He married Martha C. ____ on 01 June 1838. She was born 27 November 1816 in VA, and died 24 July 1876 in Cole County MO.  Ivy was the son of James Norfleet (1767-1849) and his wife, Elizabeth (1775-1826) of Pulaski, Wayne and Russell Counties, Kentucky.

I believe that Ivy was probably named after Ivy Langford (also sometimes spelled Lankford). The Langfords were early immigrants to KY from North Carolina having arrived in Lincoln County in about 1787. However, Ivy Langford settled in Pulaski County at about the same time as James Norfleet, father of Ivy Norfleet. Ivy Langford was a close neighbor of both James Norfleet (when he still lived in Pulaski County) and David Norfleet. James Norfleet and Ivy Langford both surveyed 200 acre tracts of land on the same day (12 February 1799) and each served as a chain carrier for the other during those surveys. Ivy Norfleet was the first child born to James Norfleet after he had arrived in KY and the name "Ivy" had never been used previously by any Norfleet of whom I am aware.

Ivy Norfleet primarily was a stock raiser, although, like most other people of the time, he also was a farmer. For about a twelve-year period, during the late 1820's and 1830's, with the help of his younger brother, Larkin, he raised both cattle and horses. When they were ready for sale, the two bothers would drive their stock overland to market them in Montgomery, Alabama. In about 1839, Ivy permanently left Kentucky and immigrated to Missouri. In Missouri he surveyed (8 June 1839) and patented (10 November 1841) land in the Hickory Hill region of Cole County. He remained in Cole until his death on 05 June 1883.

During the Civil War, Ivy, like his younger brother, Reverend Abraham Norfleet, was a supporter of the Union. Two of his children, John (a corporal) and Thomas W. (a private), served in the Union Army, in the 9th Provisional Missouri Regiment of Infantry. Two of Abraham Norfleet's sons (John W. and Adam C.) were also in the same regiment. In 1864, also like his brother Abraham, he freed all of his slaves.


Martha, Wife of Ivy Norfleet

Some Norfleet family researchers have stated that Ivy Norfleet married a lady named Martha Ann Thomasson on 1 June 1838, by whom he had nine children. These same sources have also said that Ivy's wife was born in 1816 and died in 1876. However, I have never found any documentary evidence to support these claims.

Based on a photo of her tombstone (See below), Ivy Norfleet married a lady named "Martha C." - maiden name not stated. Also, this tombstone, located in Hickory Hill Cemetery, Cole County MO, seems to indicate a death year of 1858 not 1876.

Furthermore, the 1870 Federal Census for Cole County Mo, shows a woman named Martha in the household of Ivy Norfleet; her age is given as 64 - indicating a birth year of 1806 not 1816! To add further confusion as to the real name of Martha, there exists a Russell County KY deed [see Deed Book F, page 181], dated 8 October 1846, that is signed by both Ivy Norfleet and his wife Martha. In this case, the county clerk indicates that Martha's name is "Martha S." Norfleet! Both Ivy and Martha signed the deed by making their mark.

There you have it - Martha's middle initial was either A, C, or S; her death year was either 1858 or 1876; and her year of birth was either 1806 or 1816!

Tombstone of Ivy Norfleet (1799-1883), Hickory Hill Cemetery, Cole County MO.  Photo taken by Naomi Cotten in December 1999.

Tombstone of Martha C. Norfleet (1816-1876), Hickory Hill Cemetery, Cole County MO.  Photo taken by Naomi Cotten in December 1999.


Ivy Norfleet and the Alleged Killing of a Man over a Horse

There is a family legend among the descendants of both Ivy Norfleet and his younger brother, Larkin Norfleet.  The legend indicates that, while still living in Kentucky, Ivy Norfleet got into a dispute with a man over the ownership of a horse.  There was a fight and Ivy shot and killed the man.  Ivy apparently was never prosecuted for the killing, but he felt it prudent to leave Kentucky.  A couple of years thereafter, Ivy acquired land in Cole County Missouri and permanently relocated to that State.

I attempted to investigate the Kentucky records to find some tangible evidence that might verify the legend. I never found any explicit evidence about a killing, but I did find court records re a lawsuit brought by a certain Martha Ann Sanders, who obtained a judgment against Ivy in September 1836 concerning a dispute involving a horse. At the time of the lawsuit, Martha's father, Francis Sanders had recently died.  Could the man, that Ivy was supposed to have killed, have been Martha's father, Francis Sanders?

The judgment  against Ivy Norfleet was issued by the Adair County, KY Circuit Court, on 15 September 1836, and resulted in a letter to the Sheriff of Russell County:

". ... whereas Martha Ann Sanders recovered against Ivy Norfleet in our Adair Circuit Court concerning a certain clay bank colored horse called Billy Mander of the value of $140, and for the detention of the horse of $87.77 for her cost. You are therefore to take into your possession the said horse and deliver him to Martha Ann Sanders without delay if he can be had, and charge against the estate of Ivy Norfleet the above sums, whereas the said Norfleet is convict as appears to us of record.

The Sheriffs reply stated:

"The within mentioned horse is not found in Russell County nor no estate upon which to levy this execution."

Apparently, the Sheriff of Wayne County was later able to at least recover the horse as there is an 1837 court entry which states:

". .... this Execution is entitled to a credit of $87.52 after deducting $4.60 Sheriff's Commission by the sale of one bay horse which was sold to the highest bidder at the Courthouse in Monticello on the 7th of April 1837 for $92.12 and no other property found of which the residue of the Execution can be made."

The lawsuit against Ivy originated in Russell County; however, on 5 May 1836 the venue was changed to Adair County for a trial to be held there. The jury, as cited above, found in favor of Martha Ann Sanders. Apparently, during the court proceedings Larkin Norfleet made at least two depositions regarding the case; but the only records 1 could find were the brief summaries from the various court calendars, which provided no information re Larkin's depositions. I checked in the KY State Archives in Frankfort to see if they had the detailed records. The Archives may have these documents but they are in storage and have never been microfilmed and/or cataloged. The librarian I talked to would not let me search through the records myself.

There are some other interesting facts concerning the Sanders, Norfleet and Shackleford families which may or may not have any bearing on the above case:

1) The parents of Martha Ann Sanders were Francis and Elizabeth Sanders; her grandfather was named John Sanders. John died in Wayne County in October 1833. John's son, Francis Sanders, died intestate in Wayne County, in either 1835 or 1836. Francis was illiterate and in debt at the time of his death. This information was gleaned from the records of a lawsuit (which dragged on for many years!) involving the Widow of Francis (Elizabeth Sanders) and concerned a tract of land which purportedly had been sold to Francis by his father, John, a few weeks before John died. The deed or bond which transferred the land to Francis was dated 20 September 1833.

2) Martha Ann Sanders does not appear to have been on good terms with her mother. In the above cited lawsuit of her mother Elizabeth, the deed (bond) which assigned the land of John Sanders to his son Francis Sanders, which would have helped to validate Elizabeth Sanders' position in the lawsuit, was in the possession of Martha Ann Sanders. In fact, Martha Ann had been a signatory (as a witness) to the deed in question! However, she did not tell anyone that she had the document until several years later. In 1843, when made to testify under oath, Martha revealed that she had the deed in her possession. Apparently she thought that her mother was not entitled to the land and/or that the deed was obtained under improper circumstances from her dying grandfather.

3) In July 1839, a certain Francis Sanders was granted a divorce, in Wayne County, from a Nancy Cook Sanders. In the court record Francis states that:

"She ... was guilty of adultery with other men and especially with a certain ... Reuben Shackleford. Nancy has now abandoned my bed and board for the period of 2 or 3 years and has lived with other men during this time."

The above is very interesting as Reuben Shackleford was the brother of Elizabeth Shackleford, the first wife of David Norfleet, another brother of Ivy Norfleet!  Furthermore, the 1840 Federal Census for Kentucky indicates that Reuben's farm was directly adjacent to the home of Larkin Norfleet. I don't know the relationship of this Francis Sanders to Martha Ann Sanders, but I'm convinced he was a near relative (probably a brother or first cousin).

4) Another interesting fact is that, on 28 July 1825, Edward Sanders married Mary (Polly) Norfleet, the sister of Ivy Norfleet!  Edward Sanders was a son of John Sanders and thus was an uncle of Martha Ann Sanders.


Children of Ivy Norfleet and Martha _____ are:

i. Eliza Jane7 Norfleet, born 11 September 1839.

ii. Julia A. Norfleet, born 11 September 1842 in Cole County MO. She married N. D. Henley.

iii. John Norfleet, born 22 August 1843 in Cole County MO. He married Nancy Ann Templeton 21 February 1865.

iv. Thomas Norfleet, born 30 January 1845 in Cole County MO; died 26 September 1879.

v. Cordall Norfleet, born 03 October 1846 in Cole County MO; died 1927 in Cole County MO. He married Elizabeth A. Henley 21 November 1869 in Cole County MO; born 1851; died 1912 in Cole County MO.

vi. Elizabeth E. Norfleet, born 05 March 1849 in Cole County MO.

vii. Elkanah M. Norfleet, born 17 May 1851 in Cole County MO; died 10 July 1905 in Miller County MO. He married Malinda Messersmith 15 September 1874 in Cole County MO; born 12 November 1855; died 15 January 1940.

viii. Malinda Josephine Norfleet, born 18 February 1855 in Cole County MO.

ix. Iva Louella Norfleet, born 23 April 1857 in Cole County MO.


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