|Back Row: Jett Norton, Commie Norton Gann, Grandma May, Roy Norton, Claude Norton,
Elmer Norton. Center Row: Adney A. Norton, Mary Jane Hankins Norton, Charles Berry
Norton, Abigail Taylor Norton, Donie Norton Turman, William Curtis Turman. Children: Ruby
Norton Reeves, Joe Norton, Walter Norton, Stella Turman, Troy Turman, & Huston
Charles Berry Norton's Letter:
There is an old saying that, "Every sweet has its bitter," and this is true all through human life. Life, when properly lived is sweet, and it is made so largely by the sweet associations of friends and loved ones. Children who have a good mother, have, if they could only realize it at the time, the sweetest of the sweet human associations. It is only a few days back that the children and close friends of Mrs. Olive May were made to feel the pang of sorrow when the chilly hand of death claimed her as its own. Their long and sweet associations with her was brought to a close, and from a human point of view this did seem to be the corresponding bitter of their sweet.
Sister May was born in Monroe County Ga., September 16, 1824. In 1843 she married William Norton, with whom she lived a happy life till the month of May, 1853, when death took him from her. She bravely met the difficulties peculiar to a woman of her day who was left with the care of small children, till Jan. of 1862, when she married Washington Barton to whom she was faithful, and with whom she was happy till June 1864, when he too, was called from his earthly abode. She was again forced to fight the battles of widow-hood. She was married again in Oct. of 1872, to Aaron May. Mr. May was a minister of the gospel in M. E. Church South, who later became a Congregationalist, and was the founder of the New Prospect Congregational Church of Sulligent Alabama. Sister Olive May, with her great heart of love and sympathy stood faithfully by this minister of God as his help-mate and companion till the summer of 1888, when the dear Lord called him home. In this last state of widowhood sister May remained till her death.
Sister May claimed forgiveness of sins and a hope in Christ, and joined herself to the church at 20 years old. This first church with which she connected herself was the original Primitive Baptist Church. In this she proved to be faithful to her covenant obligations till 1872, when she joined her last husband in the M. E. church South, and after two years of faithful service in the Methodist Church, she and Mr. May changed their church relationship to the Congregational denomination where her Christian character, and service was very increasingly helpful. After the death of Mr. May in 1888, she went back to the Primitive Baptist church, because with them she was to be associated more than with others. In all her life of service in those different denominations she never once showed the least prejudice toward those who didn't have membership in her branch of the Christian Church, but she demonstrated beyond all question that one could live a Christian life in any Christian denomination.
After ten days of severe suffering, Mrs. May passed to her reward, leaving behind her three boys while two girls had gone before with one boy. Mrs. May leaves also eighteen grand-children and eighteen great-grand-children, and a host of other relatives and dear friends scattered over the States of Georgia, Alabama and Texas.
There are many of those who knew her, who testify that she was the instrument in the hand of God in bringing about their salvation. Even her last words before departing have brought men nearer to God. Some of the things she said are as follows: "I see my savior", "Glory", "Hallelujah". She was constantly clapping her hands for Glory.
Her funeral was conducted by Rev. J. W. Graham General Missionary to the Congregational Church of Alabama, who was present holding services for the New Prospect Church. Mrs. May before she passed away selected the funeral text, 2 Cor. 5 : 1, "For we know that if this earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal, and in the heavens." The minister brought together with this, a large number of connecting passages, giving a brief exposition of each.
A large congregation of relatives and friends were present to pay a last respect, and take a last look into her sweet face, and gently lay her body to rest in the N. Prospect burial ground by the side of her last husband, Mr. May.
May the dear Lord take out of the tears of sorrowing friends all the bitter, and help them to feel that the dear one has only passed over the line where age is converted into youth, and sorrow turned to joy. Where the sweet flowers of gladness are blooming all the time.
We shall meet beyond the river, in the sweet by and by.
Where parting will be never, and our souls shall never die.
C. B. Norton
|Graphics by Shawna|