Biography - George Mason

Hon. George B. Mason, M. D., who is a native of Nelson county, Ky., was born August 29th, 1802, being the youngest child of George and Elizabeth Mason, who had a large family of children. Mrs. Mason's maiden name was Elizabeth Gristy. George Mason was a native of Loudon county, Virginia, and was a captain of cavalry during the revolutionary contest. He was intimately acquainted with George Washington, of whom he was a neighbor. His ancestors were among the earliest pioneers of Virginia, having lived in the colony under Charles I. and Charles II., while Virginia belonged to Great Britain. The Mason family in Virginia were distinguished by the rank of "Cavaliers" – a name by which the King's party, during the time of Cromwell, was distinguished from the Parliament. Thus it will be seen that they were among the elite and more prominent of the colonists of that period, and can justly be classed as among the "first families" of the Old Dominion. The King ceded to them a large tract of land, lying on the beautiful banks of the Potomac, considerable of which to this day remains in possession of some of the representatives of the family. Captain George Mason was twice married in Virginia. His first wife, Miss Taylor, was an aunt of President Taylor. Soon after his second marriage, he removed to Kentucky, where he spent the remainder of his days. He was a planter, lived in comfortable circumstances, and gave his children the advantages of as good schools as that section of the country afforded at that time. His son, George B., was for a time under the tuition of that noted educator, Samuel Wilson, of Kentucky. The young student's early advantages were such as characterized the more wealthy of Kentucky's sons. When about the age of eighteen, he commenced the study of medicine with his brother, Dr. Benjamin Mason, of Lancaster, Kentucky, and, after a thorough preparatory course, in 1824 he settled in the practice of his profession, at Lancaster, where he remained until 1846, and during his residence there he obtained a more extensive practice than any other physician in the county.

On the 19th of October, 1829, Dr. Mason was married to Elizabeth Whithers, daughter of Abijah Whithers, of Kentucky. They have had a family of twelve children, nine of whom are yet living – four married and settled in life. Their son, Dr. John W. Mason, is a graduate of the St. Louis Medical College.

In 1835, Dr. Mason was elected to a seat in the Kentucky legislature as the representative of Gerard county, being the candidate of the whig party. In 1840 he was re-elected without opposition – such was the popularity of the young politician. Although new in the harness, he proved himself to be more of a worker than a talker, taking the deepest interest in every measure calculated to foster the posterity of the state. Although a Southerner by birth and parentage, he has always been a thorough and steadfast whig and republican in politics; indeed, those who know him best claim that he was born an abolitionist, and that anti-slavery sentiments were innate principles of his nature. In all enterprises calculated to promote the public good, he has always been found an efficient worker. As a further proof of his popularity among the masses, we will state that he received the largest vote ever given to any candidate in his legislative district. One of his first acts, after taking his seat in the legislature, was to cast one of the votes that elected John J. Crittenden to the United States Senate. Dr. Mason was personally acquainted with, and a firm supporter of, Henry Clay, for whom he also voted, whenever an opportunity presented itself.

In 1838, the Doctor became a member of the Baptist Church, and was largely instrumental in establishing the church of that denomination at Lancaster, Kentucky, and for several years was one of its most efficient members.

In the spring of 1846, Dr. Mason removed with his family to Greene county, Illinois, and immediately after his arrival he purchased the farm where he now resides. In addition to carrying on his farm, he has attended to the duties of a large practice, and unquestionably does more business to-day than any other physician of his advanced age in this portion of the state.

During the late civil war, the Doctor was strenuously in favor of a prompt suppression of the rebellion. One of his sons, three sons-in-law, and five tenants on his farm bravely shouldered their arms in defence of the starry flag of Freedom. Thus it will be seen that the venerable Doctor, too old to fight himself, as fara as it lay in his power, proved himself worthy of his father, who gallantly assisted, in the war for independence, in laying the foundation of American liberty. All his relatives in Kentucky, except Governor Metcalf, were rebels.

In summing up the character and life of Dr. Mason, we find a vital temperament will harmonized with the metal and motive. In intercourse he is plain and pointed; in business, correct, prompt, and reasonable. In his nature are combined the necessary elements of success.

Extracted 05 Jan 2017 & 06 Jun 2018 by Norma Hass from Atlas Map of Greene County Illinois, 1873, page 38.

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