Miscellaneous Mason

An Exact Abridgment of the Laws of Virginia in Force and Use, to this Present Time , by John Mercer (1737). This work was published by George Mason's uncle John Mercer of Marlboro. John Mercer was a well-known colonial lawyer (attorney for George Washington, Secretary of the Ohio Company) who raised George after his father drowned when he was ten years old in 1735. George naturally read this work and is where he started to gain his command of Virginia's legal history. The work is now part of the Library of Congress' Thomas Jefferson Collection. It was advertised for purchase in the Virginia Gazette (Parks), P.4, Col 1., October 14, 1737.

The Burgess Wages of George Mason

Court Adjudication of Indentured Servant Who Was not a Qualified Brick Maker During the Building of Gunston Hall, (1756).


George Mason's Oath Against Transubstantiation, (1765).

George Mason's Replevying Scheme (1765).

The policy of encouraging the Importation of free people & discouraging that of Slaves has never been duly considered in this Colony, or We shou'd not at this Day see one Half of our best Lands in most parts of the Country remain unsettled, & the other cultivated with Slaves; not to mention the ill Effect such a practice has upon the Morals and Manners of our people: one of the first Signs of the Decay, & perhaps the primary Cause of the Destruction of the most flourishing Government that ever existed was the Introduction of great Numbers of Slaves -- an Evil very pathetically described by the Roman Historians -- but 'tis not the present Intention to expose our Weakness by examining this Subject too freely.

List of Letters at the Post Office in Alexandria Including Colonel George Mason, (1766).


Mason v. Copithorn, Nov. 4, 1767, Published in Virginia Gazette, December 24, 1767 (Rind).


George Mason Commissioner of the Peace (1768).


George Mason's Last Will and Testament- (1773).

"I recommend it to my sons, from my own Experience in Life, to prefer the happiness of independance & a private Station to the troubles and Vexations of Public Business; but if either their own inclination or the Necessaty of the times shou'd engage them in Public Affairs, I charge them, on a Fathers Blessing, never to let the motives of private Interest or ambition to induce them to betray, nor the terrors of Poverty and disgrace, or the fear of danger or of death deter them from Asserting the liberty of their Country, and endeavouring to transmit to their posterity those Sacred rights to which themselves were born."

George Mason's Letter to His Oldest Son George Mason Jr. Gives accounts of the war, his land Purchases etc. (Jan. 8, 1783).

" As to the Money you have spent in Europe, provided you can satisfy me that it has not been spent in Extravagance, Dissipation, or idle Parade, I don't regard it. It is true I have a large Family to provide for; & that I am determined, from Motives of Morality & Duty, to do Justice to them all: it is certain also, that I have not lost less than £ 10,000. Ster: by the War, in the Depreciation of Paper Money, & the Loss of Profits of my Estate; but I think this a cheap Purchase of Liberty & Independence. I thank God, I have been able, by adopting Principles of strict economy & Frugality, to keep my principal, I mean my Country-Estate, unimpaired; I have suffered little by the Depredations of the Enemy. I have at this time two year's Rents (you know mine are all Tobo. Rents) in Arrear, & two Crops uninspected; so that if a Peace happens, it will find me pretty full handed in the Article of Tobo. which will then be very valuable. The Money, it has cost you to relieve the Distresses of your unfortunate Country-men, was worthily expended; and you will receive Retribution, with large Interest, in Heaven; but in order to shorten the time of Credit, and also to entitle myself to some Proportion of the Merit, I shall insist upon replacing to you every shilling of it here; I hope you will therefore keep an exact Account of it...I am now pretty far advanced in Life, and all my views are center'd in the Happiness & well-fare of my children; you will therefore find from me every Indulgence which you have a right to expect from an affectionate Parent.

I have been for some time in Retirement, & shall not probably return again to public Life; yet my Anxiety for my Country, in these Times of Danger, makes me sometimes dabble a little in Politicks, & keep up a Correspondence with some Men upon the public Stage; you know I am not apt to form Opinions lightly, & without due Examination; and I can venture to say that the french Court & Nation may confide in the Honour & good faith of America; we reflect with gratitude on important Aid France has given us; but she must not and I hope will not attempt to lead us into a War of Ambition, or Conquest, or trail us round the mysterious Circle of European Politicks. We have little News worth communicating; nothing of Consequence has happened here this Campaign; the Enemy having generally kept close within their Lines, & the American Army not strong enough to force them. We have a long time expected the Evacuation of Charles Town; the Enemy having dismantled their Out-works, & embark'd their heavy artillery, & some of their Troops; however by the last Accounts (in December) they had still a Garrison there...By late Accounts from Kentuckey, we are inform'd that General Clarke, with 1200 Voluntiers, had crossed the Ohio River, & destroyed six of the Shawnese Towns, destroying also about 2,000 barrels of their Corn, & bringing off Furrs & other Plunder to the Value of £ 3,000. which was sold, and the Money divided among his Men; this will probably drive these savages nearer the Lakes or the Missisippi. Upon Clark's Return, the Chickasaws sent Deputys to him to treat for Peace; every thing was quiet in the new Settlements, & upwards of 5,000 Souls have been added to them since last Septemr....

...I have got all my back-Lands judiciously located, in one Body, upon Panther Creek[Wilson v. Mason, 5 U.S. 45 (1801).], a Branch of Green River, on the north Side of the sd. River; they lye from ten to twenty Miles East from the Ohio River, & about seventy or eighty Miles below the Falls; I expect the surveys will be compleated this Winter; I have been once or twice disappointed in making my Surveys, by the Incursions of the Indians; which has run me to great Expence. These Lands will cost me, by the time the Title is compleated, not less than £ 1,000 Specie; but if I can secure & settle them, they will, in twenty years, be worth forty or fifty thousand Pounds to my Family.

Adieu dear George; and be assured you have a sincere Friend, & affectionate Father in


P.S. January 15th: 1783. Since writing the above Letter, we have received authentic Accounts that the British Garrison evacuated Charles Town about the 10th. of Decemr. The German Troops, & the American Refugees, are gone to New-York, & Augustine; and the British Troops to the West Indies.

George Mason Recounts An Affray In Which a Concealed Pistol was used in Self-defense. (March 19, 1783).

" Mr. Alexander, after refusing to accept a Challenge, and professing to act upon the defensive, added fresh Injurys to those he had already offered, and continued to insult & abuse Mr. Washington, in the grossest Manner: and when they afterwards met at a public Place, and walked out together, fired his Pistol first (at not more than a yard's Distance) with a manifest Intention to kill the other, before he knew whether it was Mr. Washington's Design to act offensively, or not. The Ball miss'd him, tho' so very close, that the Powder bu[r]n'd his Face. Mr. Washington instantly step'd back, and drawing a Pistol from his Belt, under his Great Coat, shot the other in the Body; which brought him to the Ground. This was done in the Sight of many People; and I think proves, that Mr. Washington, in firing his Pistol, acted upon the defensive."

Beall v. Cockburn, 4 Va. Call 162 (1790). Involves Martin Cockburn the Neighbor and Friend of Colonel George Mason as well as Letters from George Mason Jr. and the deposition of George Mason.


Wilson v. Mason, 5 U.S. 45 (1801).  Supreme Court Precedent Setting Case (Involves George Mason's Lands )

George Mason to James Madison on the Legal Arguments in the Land Claims of George Wilson, (1792). Page 1.   Page 2.


Davis v. Mason, 26 U.S. 503 (1828).   (Involves George Mason's Lands )

Virginia Treasury Warrants (Kentucky) Searchable Database

George Mason's Progeny

John Mason: (1766-1849) - Son of George Mason

"My father being an active politician and decided in his opposition to the measures of the mother country, his house was frequented by the leading men of the State. Among the first things I can remember were discussions and conversations upon the high-handed, tyrannical conduct of the king towards his colonial subjects in this country ; for in those days the government was designated by the name of the king in all conversations. And so universal was the idea that it was treason and death to speak ill of the king that I even now remember a scene in the garden at Springfield [the Cockburn place] when my father's family were spending the day there on a certain Sunday when I must have been very small. Several of the children having collected in the garden, after hearing in the house among our elders many complaints and distressing forebodings as to this oppressive course towards our country, we were talking the matter over in our own way and I cursed the king, but immediately begged and obtained the promise of the others not to tell on me." - John Mason's Recollections (Kate M. Rowland, 1 The Life of George Mason 1725-1792, 94-102. (1892)).

Geospatial Guide to the Recollections of John Mason

John Mason's Gift of GM's First Convention Draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights

Brigadier General : Appointed in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson to be the first Commander of the District of Columbia Militia. A History of the National Capital

President of the Bank of Columbia. See Bank of Columbia v. Okely, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 235 (1819).

General Richard Barnes Mason: 1797- 1850. Grandson of George Mason

Starts the American Gold Rush of 1849


Richard was born at Fairfax Co., Va., on 16 January 1797. He was the son of George Mason V and Elizabeth Mary Ann Barnes Hooe. He married Elizabeth Margaret Hunter on 28 January 1836. Richard died on 26 July 1850 at St. Louis, Mo., at age 53. Richard Barnes Mason is the person who started the Gold Rush of 1849 with his report as a Colonel back to Washington that Gold had been found at Sutter's Mill.

August 17, 1848

"On the 8th July I returned to the lower mines, and eventually to Monterey, where I arrived on the 17th of July. Before leaving Sutter’s, I satisfied myself that gold existed in the bed of the Feather River, in the Yuba and Bear, and in many of the small streams that lie between the latter and the American fork; also, that it had been found in the Consumes, to the south of the American fork. In each of these streams the gold is found in small scales, whereas in the intervening mountains it occurs in coarser lumps.....The discovery of these vast deposits of gold has entirely changed the character of Upper California. Its people, before engaged in cultivating their small patches of ground, and guarding their herds of cattle and horses, have all gone to the mines, or are on their way thither. Labourers of every trade have left their work-benches, and tradesmen their shops; sailors desert their ships as fast as they arrive on the coast; and several vessels have gone to sea with hardly enough hands to spread a sail. Two or three are now at anchor in San Francisco, with no crew on board. Many desertions, too, have taken place from the garrisons within the influence of these mines; twenty-six soldiers have deserted from the post of Sonoma, twenty-four from that of San Francisco, and twenty-four from Monterey. I have no hesitation now in saying, that there is more gold in the country drained by the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers than will pay the cost of the present war with Mexico a hundred times over. No capital is required to obtain this gold, as the labouring man wants nothing but his pick and shovel and tin pan, with which to dig and wash the gravel, and many frequently pick gold out of the crevices of rocks with their knives, in pieces of from one to six ounces.

Gold is also believed to exist on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada; and, when at the mines, I was informed by an intelligent Mormon that it had been found near the Great Salt Lake by some of his fraternity. Nearly all the Mormons are leaving California to go to the Salt Lake; and this they surely would not do unless they were sure of finding gold there, in the same abundance as they now do on the Sacramento."

" R. B. MASON, Colonel 1st Dragoons, commanding.

Richard Barnes Patton Mason: 1824 - 1847. Great Grandson of George Mason

Relative of General George S. Patton Jr. of World War II. Fame

Richard was born at Fairfax Co., Va., on March 4, 1824. He was the son of George Mason VI and Eleanor Ann Clifton Patton. Richard died on May 10, 1847 at Alexandria, Va., at age 23. His body was interred in 1847 at Fairfax Co., Va., at Gunston Hall Graveyard. His Mother Ann Clifton Patton was the daughter of Robert Patton (Fairfax)

The Bank of Alexandria v. Patton, (1843). Involves George Mason's Progeny and In-laws Including Robert Patton, George Patton.

Significant circumstantial evidence shows that the Fairfax Robert Patton and the Fredericksburg Robert Patton are related. A book published in 1888 sheds light on this. In a detailed history of John Mercer Patton, son of Robert Patton and Ann Gordon (Daughter of General Hugh Mercer) of Fredericksburg, a footnote details that the Fredericksberg Robert Patton who was the direct descendant of General George S. Patton, Jr. had a brother who emigrated to Fairfax County. "* He was accompanied by a brother, who also settled in Virginia, and whose descendants in Fairfax County have intermarried with the Mason and other prominent Virginia families." Robert Brock & Virgil Lewis, History of Virginia from the Settlement of Jamestown to the Close of the Civil War, Virginia and Virginians, 194 (1888).

Books/Media On-line

The Life of George Mason 1725-1795, Vol I. by Kate Mason Rowland

The Life of George Mason 1725-1795, Vol II. by Kate Mason Rowland

Consource Digital Edition of The Papers of George Mason


Gunston Hall Deed of Trust by The Hertle's (Last Private Owner's of Gunston Hall)

Louis Hertle allowed LIFE Magazine to Photograph Gunston Hall in 1941. This was LIFE magazine's Pearl Harbor issue of December 15, 1941 and also includes a section on How Not to Handle A Gun. Louis Hertle had spent a small fortune in the restoration of Gunston Hall. Here is a very interesting photograph of George Mason's Study Room from the Library of Congress Collection (better image than the one in LIFE Magazine of the same room) that contains an original copy of the Virginia Declaration of Rights in Mason's own hand that Mr. Hertle placed above the fireplace. The Document above the fireplace matches the one from the Library of Virginia's Original Copy of The Virginia Declaration of Rights. This document was an enclosure in a Letter to Mr Brent: Oct. 2, 1778.

George Mason's Draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights in his Study Room