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Mason Families
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Alternate Spellings - None Found

Links - Moore, Adams, Nelson, Bigelow, Morse (see Bishop)

Contacts - Pam Frederic is a descendant of the John Wesley Mason Family, and we are indebted to her for information on this family. Tom Jackson is a descendant of Laura Mason who married Edwin Morse and has helped us immensely with that family. Our original page had Edwin Morse married to the wrong Laura Mason.



There were several Mason families in Mercer County at different times. There were two John Mason families that are of particular interest to us as one lived in Eliza Township and the other in New Boston Township. In addition a Theresa Mason of New York is found in Eliza Township in 1880 living with a Joseph Bigelow family. Theresa Mason was sister of the Laura Mason who married Edwin Morse, and we are grateful to Tom Jackson for helping us sort out this family. The two were daughters of John Mason of New York (more below).

John Wesley Mason

A John W. Mason is found in New Boston Township in the 1860 Census. We are deeply indebted to Pam Frederic for identifying this as the family of John Wesley Mason who came to Mercer County from Wisconsin between 1855 and 1859. John Wesley enlisted in the Civil War in Wisconsin in 1861 and the family returned there so he was only in Mercer County for a short time. John Wesley enrolled twice in the Civil War, was wounded and captured by the Confederates, and was a prisoner at Andersonville. (See Civil War Links for a link to an Andersonville site.) Pam Frederic has his pension records (see contact above).

The 1860 Census lists John W. Mason, age 40, Cooper, born Ohio; wife Mary, age 36, born Ohio; children: Mary V., age 17, Sarah E., age 15, Henrietta, age 13, Lucretia, age 11, all born Ohio; Henry C., age 9, Martin L., age 6, both born Wisconsin, and Charles F., age 1, born Illinois. They are living in New Boston Township.

John Mason of Switzerland

The History of Mercer County 1882 tells us that John Mason of Eliza Township was born in Switzerland, December 8, 1812. It gives us information about his Swiss ancestors and his wife, Susana, though it doesn't give her surname. Susana was born in the same Swiss parish as John on May 3, 1816. They were married January 10, 1834. They had six children named in the History and two who died in infancy. The family arrived in New York City on July 21, 1847, and after traveling about and residing for some time in Berks County, Pennsylvania, they spent some months in Wayne County, Indiana, and then moved on to Mercer County. The 1900 census records of the children indicate they came to Mercer County in 1852 and were naturalized citizens. The children named in the History are: Jacob, Henry, Albert, August, Jacob John, and John. John, Sr., and two sons, Albert and Augustus, are found in the 1880 Census in Eliza Township.

Son A. (Albert) S. Mason, age 40, farmer, born Switzerland is Household #25, next door to father John Mason. We do not find a marriage record in Mercer County for Albert, but the 1880 census shows wife Mara P. Mason, age 33, born Illinois, father born Ohio, mother born North Carolina. Children shown are: Cora D., age 11, Laura S., age 9, John L., age 7, and Cleon M., born September 1880. Albert and family are not found in the 1870 census in Mercer County and evidently arrived between 1870 and 1880 or were missed in the census.

Albert Mason is shown owning a quarter section of land in Section 27 of Eliza Township on the 1875 plat map so we know they arrived by then. They are found in Eliza Township in 1900: Albert S. Mason, born December 1839, Switzerland, married 30 years; Mara P. Mason, born Feb 1846, Illinois, parents born Indiana, 5 children born, 5 living; Laura S. Mason, born Aug 1870, 29, born Il; Carrie A., Mason, born Sept 1881, Il. The marriage of daughter Cora is found in Illinois marriage records: Cora D. Mason to Albert Nelson on 10/8/1890. Son John is found next door to Albert Mason in the 1900 census: John Mason, b. Jan 1873, Ill, farmer; Lida B. Mason, born Dec 1872, Il, father born Canada (French), mother born Ohio, no children born. We have not located this marriage record. Daughter Cory was widowed by 1900 and is found living not far from father Albert: Cory Nelson, born Sept 1868, farmer, widow, 3 children born, 3 living; Bessie E.Nelson, born May 1893; Roy A. Nelson, born Feb 1896; Lida P. Nelson, born Feb 1892; Cleon W. Mason (brother), born Sept 1879, farm laborer, is living with them.

Son August Mason, age 37, born Switzerland is Household #28, two doors from father John Mason in the 1880 census. Augustus Mason married Arminta Moore, daughter of George Moore, 3/27/1876, in Mercer County. Wife Arminta is shown in the census, age 37, born Illinois, parents born Ohio. They have two children, Thomas, age 1, and Florence, born March 1880, both born Illinois.

August Mason signed an affidavit on 8/8/1889 as a resident of the town of New Boston. The affidavit was for a pension for the daughter of John Welch, Margaret Moore Welch's child. August stated he was present the night John Welch died and heard him tell his wife to take good care of the baby after it was born.

The 1870 census for John Mason shows an additional son Jacob, age 25, born Switzerland, living with his parents. If the sons are named in order in the Mercer County History, as was the custom, this was probably Jacob John, younger than August. He is still at home, age 36, in the 1880 census. By 1900 Jacob was married with a family (we will get the census record).

John Mason of New York

Tom Jackson pointed us to the LDS Ancestral File for information on this family. Normally we do not use information from the Ancestral File as it contains no references and no proofs and there are often many errors. We give this word of warning as some of the Ancestral File on John Mason of New York seems to fit, but many other parts do not. According to the Ancestral File, John Melchizedec Mason and Mary Ann Swan Mason had eleven children. Listed among the children are Theresa Marie Mason, born 1864, and Laura Mason, born 1868, both of whom apparently came to Mercer County. Tom Jackson tells us that they came to Mercer County as young girls according to his family lore.

8/2005 Tom Jackson has been able to verify some of the information on the ancestral file which will lend credibility to other information on the file. John Mason is buried in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York and they furnished information that John Mason was interred October 25, 1881 in Grave 224 in Lot 5499. John Mason died October 22, 1881. Cause of death was Phthisis (Tom tells us this is an archaic term for tuberculosis. John Mason's sister, Jane Montgomery, also rests in the grave and was interred April 11, 1891. Julia M. Montgomery signed some paperwork at the cemetery in 1925. She is given on Ancestry as a daughter of John Mason, married to John Montgomery so this further verifies the information on Ancestry.com. Tom mentions that since John was ill with tuberculosis that he may have been unable to work for some time and that might explain why Laura and Theresa got sent west. (Web Master's comment - given the family situation might the girls have qualified to be sent west on one of the orphan trains?)

Theresa Mason, age 15, born New York, parents born New York, is found with the Joseph and Amessia Young Bigelow family in Eliza Township in 1880. Theresa is listed as a daughter (probably adopted.) The Ancestral File gives Theresa's husband as Luster James Adams, born 8 August 1854 in Rock Island County, Illinois. It then gives children: Lillian Jeanette Adams, born 23 November 1881; Adrian Ansel Adams, born 21 August 1883; Luster Jay Adams, born 9 November 1886; and Dovey Rowena Adams, born 10 July 1891; plus two living children (at the time the file was submitted). Some of this information can be proven. According to Illinois marriage records, Theresa E. Mason married Luster James Adams on December 25, 1880 in Mercer County. Luster James Adams was son of Jesse Luster Adams of Mercer County. They are found in Eliza Township in the 1900 census taken 23 June 1900: #200 Luster Adams, b. Aug 1854, married 20 years, born Il, father born Oh, mother born Pa, farmer; Theresa Adams, born Dec 1864, 4 children born, 4 living, born New York, father born Scotland, mother born Isle of Mann; Lillian Adams, born Nov 1881, in school; Adrian A. Adams, born Aug 1883, farm laborer; Luster J. Adams, born Nov 1886, in school; Roena Adams, born July 1895, age 4, at home.

Laura Mason, purportedly daughter of John Mason of New York, married Edwin Morse in Mercer County on November 28, 1895 (Tom Jackson has a copy of their marriage certificate and it is also recorded in Illinois marriage records). Tom Jackson tells us that Edwin raised barns and there are family photos of him, Laura and their children living out of a tent during some of these construction sessions. Most of their lives they lived near downtown New Boston in a nice two story house that has since been torn down. We do not find Laura Mason in census records in Illinois and cannot verify that she too came to Illinois as a young girl. Edwin and Laura are found in Eliza Township in the 1900 census taken 8th day of June 1900: Edwin Morse, born Sept 1869, married 4 years, farmer, born Il, father born Pa, mother born Il; Laura M. Morse, wife, born Oct 1868, NY, 1 child born, 1 living, parents born New York; Irwin [Ivan?] D. Morse, born Apr 1900, age 1/12; Jane Barker, servant, born Jan 1877, Il. We will add more to this family when we obtain the 1910 census. Tom Jackson has the obituary of Laura Mason Morse and it gives additional children: Vivian, Murl, and Marion Earl. Marion Earl Morse died in 1906 and is buried next to his parents in Eliza Creek Cemetery. Edwin (1870-1940) and Laura (1868-1960) are found in Eliza Creek Cemetery records. Edwin Morse was son of Abel and Delilah Bishop Morse who are also found in Eliza Creek Cemetery (Abel Morse Aug 4, 1826-1895 and Delilah Morse, Nov 8, 1840-Feb 24, 1897). We will be putting up a Morse page.

Other Masons in Mercer County

There is another John Mason, age 36, wagonmaker, born Ohio, in Keithsburg in 1860 and an Elizabeth Mason, age 16, domestic, born Ohio, in Sunbeam.

There is a family found in Millersburg Township in 1870 with some name similarities to the John W. Mason family, but it is not the same one. John Mason, age 58, farmer, born Virginia; Mary Mason, age 41, born Ohio; Henrietta, age 21, Samuel, age 20, William, age 18, Frederick A., age 16, John F., age 14, Laura A., age 12, Ida Bell, age 10, Isaac N., age 7, Charles E., age 5, and Lizzie Dell, age 3. All the children are listed as born Illinois, but since they were not in Mercer County in 1860 most, or all, may have been born in another Illinois County.

There is a Henry Mason family in Mercer Township in 1870: Henry Mason, age 35, farmer, born Kentucky; Hannah Mason, age 25, born Kentucky, Jessie Mason, age 2, born Ohio, Charlie Mason, age 1, born Illinois.

Since these families did not live in our area of study we have not followed them further. When time permits we will add more information to help researchers.





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