George Mason, IV

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George Mason, IV

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Doeg's (Mason's) Neck, Fairfax County, VA
Death: Died in gunston hall plantation, fairfax, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Mason's Neck, Fairfax Co., Va
Immediate Family:

Son of Lt. Col. George Mason and Ann Stevens Mason (Thomson)
Husband of Ann Eilbeck Mason and Sarah Mason
Father of Thomas Mason; Ann Eilbeck Johnson; George Mason, V; Gen Thomson Mason; Capt William Mason (Continental Militia) and 7 others
Brother of Mary Thompson Selden; Thomson Mason, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia and Stephen Thomson Mason

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About George Mason, IV

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor # A074817

George Mason IV (December 11, 1725 – October 7, 1792) was a United States patriot, statesman, and delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. Along with James Madison, he is called the "Father of the Bill of Rights". For all of these reasons he is considered to be one of the best loved "Founding Fathers" of the United States.

George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which detailed specific rights of citizens. In addition to anti-federalist Patrick Henry, he was later a leader of those who pressed for the addition of explicitly stated individual rights as part of the U.S. Constitution, and did not sign the document in part because it lacked such a statement. His efforts eventually succeeded in convincing the Federalists to modify the Constitution and add the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments of the Constitution). The Bill of Rights is based on Mason's earlier Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Although an owner of black slaves, and a plantation owner, Mason favored the abolition of the slave trade. He once referred to slavery as "that slow poison, which is daily contaminating the minds and morals of our people." However, he spoke out against including any mention of slavery in the Constitution — whether from an abolitionist or anti-abolitionist standpoint


Gunston Hall in May 2006, seen from the frontGeorge Mason was born on December 11, 1725 at the Mason family plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia. His father died in 1735 in a boating accident on the Potomac when the boat capsized and his father drowned. On April 4, 1750, he married sixteen-year-old Ann Eilbeck, from a plantation in Charles County, Maryland. They lived in a house on his property in Dogue's Neck, Virginia. Mason completed construction of Gunston Hall, a plantation house on the Potomac River, in 1759. He and his wife had twelve children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. Mason's first child, George Mason V of Lexington[2], was born on April 30, 1753. He married Elizabeth Mary Ann Barnes Hooe (Betsy) on April 22, 1784, and after having six children, died on December 5, 1796. The next Mason offspring was Ann Eilbeck Mason, fondly known as Nancy. Born on January 13, 1755, she married Rinaldo Johnson on February 4, 1789 and had three children before dying in 1814. The third child was named William Mason, but he did not live over a year and died in 1757. The fourth child, born on October 22, 1757, was also named William Mason, and he married Ann Stewart on July 11, 1793. They had five children together, and he died in 1818. The fifth child was a son they named Thomson Mason. He was born on March 4, 1759 and died on March 11, 1820. Thomson married Sarah McCarty Chichester of Newington in 1784; they had eight children.

George Mason's sixth child, christened Sarah Eilbeck Mason but fondly known as Sally, was born on December 11, 1760 and married in 1778. She had ten children with her husband Daniel McCarty, Jr. before dying on September 11, 1823. The seventh of the Mason children was another girl, Mary Thomson Mason. She was born on January 24, 1764, and married John Travers Cooke on November 18, 1784, with whom she had ten children before dying in 1806. John Mason was Mason's eighth child, being born on April 4, 1766. He married Anna Marie Murray on February 14, 1796, had ten children, and died on March 19, 1849. The ninth child was a daughter named Elizabeth Mason. She was born on April 19, 1768 and died sometime between 1792 and June of 1797. She married William Thornton in 1789 and they had two children. The tenth child, Thomas Mason, was born on May 1, 1770 and died on September 18, 1800. He married Sarah Barnes Hooe on April 22, 1793 and the two had four children together.

George Mason's last two children were James and Richard Mason; twins who were born in December, 1772 but died six weeks later. Their mother died three months later on March 9, 1773 due to complications. George Mason remarried on April 11, 1780 but did not have any children with his new wife, Sarah Brent. George Mason also suffered from the condition known as gout for a large part of his life, and in accordance with current medical treatment, relied upon bloodletting.

Coincidently, Gearge Mason was the aunt's sister's cousin of the reknowned composer Lowell "Lowy" Mason.

Mason had virtually no formal schooling and essentially educated himself from his uncle's library.

Mason served at the Virginia Convention in Williamsburg in 1776. During this time he created drafts of the first declaration of rights and state constitution in the Colonies. Both were adopted after committee alterations; the Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted June 12, 1776, and the Virginia Constitution was adopted June 29, 1776.

Mason was appointed in 1786 to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. He served at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia from May to September 1787 and contributed significantly to the formation of the Constitution. "He refused to sign the Constitution, however, and returned to his native state as an outspoken opponent in the ratification contest." One objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights". As a delegate to Virginia's ratification convention, he opposed ratification without amendment. Among the amendments he desired was a bill of rights. This opposition, both before and during the convention, may have cost Mason his long friendship with his neighbor George Washington, and is probably a leading reason why George Mason became less well-known than other U.S. founding fathers in later years. On December 15, 1791, the U.S. Bill of Rights, based primarily on George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, was ratified in response to the agitation of Mason and others.

At the convention he was one of the five most frequent speakers and he always spoke with confidence. He believed that slave trade should be abolished, even though he himself owned slaves, he believed in the disestablishment of the church, and he was a strong anti-federalist. He wanted a weak central government, divided into three parts, with little power. Most power would be left to the governments of the several states.

An important issue for him in the convention was the Bill of Rights. He didn't want the United States to be like England. He foresaw sectional strife and feared the power of government.

Death and remembrance

George Mason died peacefully at his home, Gunston Hall, on October 7, 1792. Gunston Hall, located in Mason Neck, Virginia, is now a tourist attraction. The George Mason Memorial is located in East Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial; it was dedicated on April 9, 2002. A major bridge connecting Washington, DC, to Virginia is officially named the George Mason Memorial Bridge (it is part of the 14th Street bridge complex). George Mason High School in Falls Church, Virginia and George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, are named in his honor, as are Mason County, Kentucky, Mason County, West Virginia and Mason County, Illinois.

Paris Hilton is a direct descendant of George Mason. Mason's tenth son Thomas Mason was Paris Hilton's seventh great grandfather.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mason

George Mason IV (December 11, 1725 – October 7, 1792) was an American patriot, statesman, and delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention. Along with James Madison, he is called the "Father of the Bill of Rights." For these reasons he is considered one of the "Founding Fathers" of the United States.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mason -------------------- “That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights… among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.”

-- George Mason. Virginia Declaration of Rights, May, 1776.

The words of George Mason (1725-1792) have inspired generations of Americans and others throughout the world. Mason was among the first to call for such basic American liberties as freedom of the press, religious tolerance and the right to a trial by jury.

George Mason was born in 1725 to George and Ann Thomson Mason. Their first son and a fourth generation Virginian, Mason lived with his family on a Fairfax County Plantation. His father tragically drowned in a boating accident when Mason was ten, and his mother was left to raise George and his two siblings alone.

After studying with tutors and attending a private academy in Maryland, at age 21 Mason took over his inheritance of approximately 20,000 acres spread across several counties in Virginia and Maryland. Four years later, in 1750, Mason married 16 year old Ann Eilbeck with whom he had nine surviving children. Mason adored Ann and was devastated when she died in 1773 at the age of 39. Relying on his eldest daughter to help run the domestic side of the plantation’s operation, Mason remained a widower until 1780 when he married Sarah Brent.

Although highly respected by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Mason did not aspire to join his peers in public office. When he was asked to take Washington’s seat in the Virginia legislature, a slot vacated when Washington was named Chief of the Continental Army, Mason reluctantly agreed. In 1776 he was Fairfax County’s representative to the Virginia Convention and was appointed to the committee to draft a “Declaration of Rights” and a constitution to allow Virginia to act as an independent political body.

Complaining about the “useless Members” of the committee, Mason soon found himself authoring the first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Drawing from the Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, among others, Mason asserted, “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights….among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.” This document was the first in America to call for freedom of the press, tolerance of religion, proscription of unreasonable searches, and the right to a fair and speedy trial.

In 1787, Mason was chosen to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where he was one of the most vocal debaters. Distressed over the amount of power being given to the federal government and the Convention’s unwillingness to abolish the slave trade, Mason refused to sign the Constitution. One of three dissenters, Mason’s refusal to support the new Constitution made him unpopular and destroyed his friendship with Washington, who later referred to Mason as his former friend.

Mason’s defense of individual liberties reverberated throughout the colonies, however, and a public outcry ensued. As a result, at the first session of the First Congress, Madison took up the cause and introduced a bill of rights that echoed Mason’s Declaration of Rights. The resultant first 10 amendments to the Constitution, also called the Bill of Rights, pleased Mason, who said, “I have received much Satisfaction from the Amendments to the federal Constitution, which have lately passed…” Invited to become one of Virginia’s senators in the First US Senate, Mason declined and finally was able to retire to Gunston Hall, where he remained until his death on October 7, 1792.

-------------------- George Mason was born on December 11, 1725 at the Mason family plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia. His father died in 1735 in a boating accident on the Potomac when the boat capsized and his father drowned. On April 4, 1750, he married sixteen-year-old Ann Eilbeck, from a plantation in Charles County, Maryland. They lived in a house on his property in Dogue's Neck, Virginia. Mason completed construction of Gunston Hall, a plantation house on the Potomac River, in 1759. He and his wife had twelve children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. George Mason also suffered from the condition known as gout for a large part of his life, and in accordance with current medical treatment, relied upon bloodletting.

Mason had virtually no formal schooling and essentially educated himself from his uncle's library.

[] Politics

Mason served at the Virginia Convention in Williamsburg in 1776. During this time he created drafts of the first declaration of rights and state constitution in the Colonies. Both were adopted after committee alterations; the Virginia Declaration of Rights was adopted June 12, 1776, and the Virginia Constitution was adopted June 29, 1776.

Mason was appointed in 1786 to represent Virginia as a delegate to a Federal Convention, to meet in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. He served at the Federal Convention in Philadelphia from May to September 1787 and contributed significantly to the formation of the Constitution. "He refused to sign the Constitution, however, and returned to his native state as an outspoken opponent in the ratification contest." [4] One objection to the proposed Constitution was that it lacked a "declaration of rights". As a delegate to Virginia's ratification convention, he opposed ratification without amendment. Among the amendments he desired was a bill of rights. This opposition, both before and during the convention, may have cost Mason his long friendship with his neighbor George Washington, and is probably a leading reason why George Mason became less well-known than other U.S. founding fathers in later years. On December 15, 1791, the U.S. Bill of Rights, based primarily on George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, was ratified in response to the agitation of Mason and others.

At the convention he was one of the five most frequent speakers and he always spoke with confidence. He believed that slave trade should be abolished, even though he himself owned slaves, he believed in the disestablishment of the church, and he was a strong anti-federalist. He wanted a three part government, but he also wanted very powerful state governments.

An important issue for him in the convention was the bill of rights. He didn't want the United States to be like England. He foresaw sectional strife and feared the power of government. [5]

[] Death and remembrance

Mason died peacefully at his home, Gunston Hall, on October 7, 1792. Gunston Hall, located in Mason Neck, Virginia, is now a tourist attraction. The George Mason Memorial is located in East Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial; it was dedicated on April 9, 2002. A major bridge connecting Washington, DC, to Virginia is officially named the George Mason Memorial Bridge (it is part of the 14th Street bridge complex). George Mason High School and George Mason University located in Fairfax, Virginia, is named in his honor, as are Mason County, Kentucky, Mason County, West Virginia and Mason County, Illinois.

-------------------- Info added per DAR's "Lineage Book of the Charter Members" by Mary S Lockwood and published 1895 stating he was a "statesman and author of the Bill of Rights, also author of the first constitution of Virginia, of her seal and coat-of-arms.

The fact is unquestionable, that the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of Virginia, were drawn originally by George Mason, one of our greatest men, and of the first order of greatness." Thomas Jefferson, friend and contemporary of Mason

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George Mason, IV's Timeline

1725
December 11, 1725
Doeg's (Mason's) Neck, Fairfax County, VA
1725
Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
1750
April 3, 1750
Age 24
Charles Co., Md
1753
1753
Age 27
Fairfax Co., Va
1757
October 22, 1757
Age 31
1759
March 4, 1759
Age 33
1760
December 11, 1760
Age 35
Fairfax, VA, USA
1766
April 4, 1766
Age 40
April 4, 1766
Age 40
1770
May 1, 1770
Age 44
Fairfax, Virginia, United States