He came to Minnesota in 1839.
The History of Minnesota: from the French Explorations to the Present Time, 1873, states that on October 20, 1849 the first Minnesota Democratic Party convention was held. He was listed as the President.
"He was an active partisan of the Democratic party in our Territorial days, a real 'wheel horse' of the Democratic chariot." (Moss, Henry, L. "Biographic Notes of Old Settlers." Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, Volume 9, 1901, p. 152.)
"Mr. Norris came to St. Croix Fall in 1839, removed to Washington County in 1842, where he settled at a farm at Cottage Grove, and lived continuously till his death, March 5, 1874. He raised the first crops in Cottage Grove, and though he made farming his chief business, his abilities were such that his fellow citizens entrusted him with many official positions, in all of which he acquitted himself with honor." (Fifty Years in the Northwest, W.H.C. Folsom, Pioneer Press, 1888)
" He was a farmer and with his brother-in-law, Joseph Haskell, was the first to demonstrate that wheat could be successfully raised in Minnesota." (Minnesota in Three Centuries, Volume 4, 1908, p. 37)
He ran for lieutenant governor in 1863 but lost to Charles D. Sherwood.