John Thomson Mason

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John Thomson Mason

Also Known As: "General"
Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Raspberry Plain, Loudoun County, Virginia, United States
Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Sen. Stevens Thomson Mason, (DemRep-VA) and Mary Elizabeth Mason (Armistead)
Husband of Eliza Baker Mason and Frances Mason
Father of Stevens T. Mason 1st Governor of Michigan; Mary Elizabeth Mason; Armistead Thomson Mason; Armistead Mason; Emily Virginia Mason and 4 others
Brother of Sen. Armistead Thomson Mason, (DemRep-VA); Emily Rutger McCarty and Catherine Hicks

Managed by: Private User
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About John Thomson Mason

John Thomson Mason (8 January 1787–17 April 1850) was an American lawyer, United States marshal, Secretary of Michigan Territory from 1830 through 1831, land agent, and an important figure in the Texas Revolution.

Early life and education

Mason was born on 8 January 1787 at Raspberry Plain near Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia. He was eldest child and eldest son of Stevens Thomson Mason, Republican U.S. Senator from Virginia, and his wife Mary Elizabeth Armistead.

Mason was educated at Charlotte Hall Military Academy in Charlotte Hall, St. Mary's County, Maryland and at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Political appointee

In 1812, Mason left his family stronghold of Northern Virginia to attempt making his own fortunes in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1817, President James Monroe appointed Mason United States marshal. Mason was appointed Secretary of Michigan Territory and superintendent of Indian affairs in 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. He held those appointments until 1831, when President Jackson sent Mason on a mission to Mexico. To fill his post as Secretary of Michigan Territory, President Jackson appointed Mason's son Stevens. Stevens later became the first Governor of Michigan on 6 October 1835.

Land agent and revolutionary

Afterwards, Mason resided principally in New York City and Washington, D.C. In 1830, Mason became a scripholder for the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company in New York. The land company's purpose was to assume the land holdings of Texas empresarios Lorenzo de Zavala, David G. Burnet, and Joseph Vehlein which comprised approximately 20 million acres (81,000 km2). Mason became a confidential land agent for the land company in 1831. While in Mexico City on the land company's behalf, Mason discovered that the Law of April 6, 1830 prevented the transfer of Mexican land to foreign companies. On a subsequent trip to Mexico City in 1833, Mason was able to secure a repeal of the law's stipulation that forbade colonization in Mexico from the United States. Once he accomplished this, Mason resigned from the land company to promote his personal Texas landholdings. Mason continued to expand his landholdings by purchasing 300 leagues from the Mexican government and 100 leagues from individual landholders. To manage his land holdings, Mason employed John Charles Leplicher in New York as his land office clerk and Archibald Hotchkiss as his attorney.

Mason's prosperous land business was soon compromised when his large land grants were cancelled by the Provisional government of Texas. The revolutionary government repudiated the sales of land made in 1834 by the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas, going so far as to name Mason's contract as annulled by them in the First Texan Constitution. His attorney Leplicher then filed suit against Mason in Nacogdoches on 16 February 1835 for alleged unpaid salary. Mason was made commandant of the Nacogdoches District by the Committee of Vigilance and Safety on 11 April 1836 only to resign twelve days later. Mason remained in Nacogdoches for most of the duration of the Texas Revolution. Mason continued to support the Texas Revolution by paying $1,000 for the schooner Liberty for the Texas Navy and advancing $500 for the expenses of the schooner Brutus. On 2 March 1836, the Republic of Texas declared its independence and organized a government. The following year, Mason attended a session of Congress of the Republic of Texas in Houston, the capital of Texas.

Later life

After the Texas Revolution, Mason moved to New York, but returned to Texas multiple times during the 1840s. He traveled to Texas for the last time in 1849. Mason died of cholera on 3 May 1850 at Tremont House in Galveston.

Marriages and children

Mason married Elizabeth Baker Moir in Williamsburg, Virginia on 9 February 1809. The couple had at least eleven children:

Mary Elizabeth Mason (18 December 1809–1822)
Stevens Thomson Mason (27 October 1811–5 January 1843)
Armistead Thomson Mason (13 June 1813–2 July 1813)
Armistead Thomson Mason (13 August 1814–13 November 1814)
Emily Virginia Mason (15 October 1815–16 February 1909)
Catherine Armistead Mason Rowland (23 February 1818–1884)
Laura Ann Thomson Mason Chilton (5 October 1821–2 March 1911)
Theodoshia Howard Mason (9 December 1822–17 January 1834)
Cornelia Madison Mason (25 January 1825–2 August 1831)
Mary Elizabeth Mason (18 January 1828–29 October 1833)
Louisa Westwood Mason (24 September 1829–11 October 1829)

Mason married for a second time to Frances Magruder in Baltimore, Maryland on 29 June 1845.


John Thomson Mason was the grandnephew of George Mason (1725–1792)]; grandson of Thomson Mason (1733–1785); son of Mary Elizabeth "Polly" Armistead Mason (1760–1825) and Stevens Thomson Mason (1760–1803); nephew of John Thomson Mason (1765–1824); second cousin of Thomson Francis Mason (1785–1838) and James Murray Mason (1798–1871); brother-in-law of William Taylor Barry (1784–1835); brother of Armistead Thomson Mason (1787–1819)[1][2]; uncle of Stevens Thomson Mason (1811–1843); and first cousin of John Thomson Mason, Jr. (1815–1873).

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John Thomson Mason's Timeline

Raspberry Plain, Loudoun County, Virginia, United States
Age 22
October 27, 1811
Age 24
Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia, United States
June 13, 1813
Age 26
Lexinigton, Fayette County, Kentucky, United States
Age 27
Age 28
Age 35
Age 38
Age 42
Age 63