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I A / In Norton

Jacob Austin Jr. (1747-1828)

  • Dighton, Norton and Raynham, MA followed by Woodstock, CT

  • Used the same In . Norton stamp as H Wetherel but was about 20 years younger



Planes with the mark I.A / IN.NORTON have been known for some time and the Guide to the Makers of American Wooden Planes 5th Edition by Tom Elliott put forward a possible candidate, John Astin of Norton, Massachusetts.

What is especially intriguing about this maker is that the “IN.NORTON” stamp is the same stamp used on planes marked H.WETHEREL / IN.NORTON. In addition, the I.A and H.WETHEREL / IN.NORTON planes are nearly identical

in appearance.


A search of John Austin/Astin/Austen deeds for Bristol County spanning the years 1710 through 1810 did not yield any individuals identified with a building trade. Jacob Austin however, turned out to be another matter. Jacob Austin, joiner, did not appear in Norton area census records, but he did appear in three Raynham deeds dated 1774 and 1778 with Raynham abutting Norton. Unlike John Astin, Jacob Austin Jr. has significant connections linking him both to Norton as well as to the Wetherel’s, making Jacob the only strong candidate found for IA / IN NORTON.


Jacob Austin Jr.

1747-1828 aged 82, wife Prudence Dean -1830, married in Taunton 11-30-1769. Children: Apollos     d1854 in Attica, NY; Jacob 1772-1814 in Woodstock; Prudence 1776-1854; Joseph 1778 – ca 1830; Phebe 1785 - 1840; Nathan 1792 – 1866 in Woodstock.

Jacob was raised in Dighton, Ma, was married in Taunton, MA in 1769, and was recorded as living in Raynham, MA in the years 1774 and 1778. In the last MA deed from 1778, Jabob sold his Raynham house and his joiners shop. Then in a CT deed from the same year, Jacob, a joiner from Raynham, bought land in Woodstock CT. Jacob continued in Woodstock, CT buying and selling property through 1826.

Limited information is available for Jacob Austin’s service in the Revolutionary War. In three separate records, Jacob is listed as a Sergeant in two different Raynham Massachusetts companies.

Given the “In Norton” stamp, Jacob Sr's 1766 will with its' provision of money for Jacob’s Jr.’s training, a H. Wetherel Jr. brother-in-law connection, Jacob and Henry Jr. both moving to Connecticut within a year of each other and a 1839 Woodstock deed (Jacob Jr's son Nathan selling land to Henry Wetherell III) collectively point to the strong possibility that Jacob Jr. was Henry Wetherel Jr's apprentice although no documentation has been found to this effect.


1778 deed with Jacob Austin, joyner, selling his MA home and joiner shop









An excerpt from Jacob's 1826 will, with his signature









Joiner and blacksmith tool entries from his probate inventory






The planes made by I.A are very rare with less than 5 known; three molders and a panel raiser.  GAWP 5th ed. dates the planes to ca. 1780 and describes the molders as being “all 10” birch with flat chamfers and a relieved wedge”. The panel raiser has “an offset tote and flat chamfers”.


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