was a merchant and prominent figure in provincial Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...
, including mayor of Philadelphia in 1724.
He was born in London, England, but his father, Thomas, moved to Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...
when Isaac was seven years old. Isaac went to Philadelphia in 1690 to arrange for his family to move to that city, but on his return he found that they had all died in the great earthquake at Port Royal. He returned to Philadelphia, went into business, and became one of the wealthiest proprietors in Pennsylvania.
While he was in England in 1706 he came to the aid of William Penn
William Penn was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful...
in his difficulties and rescued him from imprisonment. On his return to Philadelphia two years later, he was elected to the governor's council, and from then until his death continued in public life. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is the lower house of the bicameral Pennsylvania General Assembly, the legislature of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. There are 203 members, elected for two year terms from single member districts....
for many years, its speaker in 1712, justice for Philadelphia County in 1717, and, on the organization of the high court of chancery, became a master to hear cases with the lieutenant-governor. He was elected mayor of Philadelphia in 1724. On the death of David Lloyd
David Lloyd was an American lawyer and politician from colonial Chester, Pennsylvania. He was William Penn's personal lawyer, Attorney General of Pennsylvania and a member of the Popular or Quaker party who served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, including six terms as its Speaker...
, he was unanimously chosen Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but he declined and remained in the county court. For many years he was one of the chief representatives of the proprietaries, and by the will of Penn he was named a trustee of the province of Pennsylvania.
In 1694 he married Mary, daughter of Thomas Lloyd
Thomas Lloyd was a lieutenant-governor of provincial Pennsylvania.He was born in Dolobran, Montgomeryshire, Wales, and subsequently educated at Ruthin School. He studied law and medicine at Jesus College, Oxford, from which he was graduated in 1661...
, president of the council. Their son, Isaac, succeeded his father in business and also became active in politics, serving as speaker of the Assembly. Norris died in Philadelphia on June 4, 1735.
The borough of Norristown, Pennsylvania
Norristown is a municipality in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, northwest of the city limits of Philadelphia, on the Schuylkill River. The population was 34,324 as of the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Montgomery County...
is named for Norris, who in 1704 bought a large tract of land there from Penn.
- "Isaac Norris's Fairhill: Architecture, Landscape, and Quaker Ideals in a Philadelphia Colonial Country Seat", Mark Reinberger and Elizabeth McLean, Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 243-274.