Named for George W. Norton of Kentucky, who about 1882 bought and later developed the divide between Oak and Valley creeks. Post office, established in 1894, was at first in home (1.5 miles northeast) of postmaster Marion A. Wilkerson. This facility and a few country businesses - including stores, cotton gins, blacksmith shops -- were drawn into town, which was platted by O. C. Bivins in 1903.
First homes are said to have been built by Dr. W. W. Mitchell and Les Trimmier. High school was established in 1906. Early institutions included several churches and a Masonic Lodge.