Charles Mason (attorney)
Charles Mason (1804 – February 27, 1882) was born in New York and became a patent attorney, taught engineering, and was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa from 1838 to 1847. He was later the United States Commissioner of Patents.
However, today Mason is perhaps most remembered as the cadet who graduated first in the class of 1829 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, ahead of future Confederate Army commander Robert E. Lee. Mason and Lee were tied for the head of the class in Artillery, Tactics, and Conduct, but Mason bested Lee in all other subjects and graduated with an overall score of 1995.5 points out of a possible 2000, compared to Lee's 1966.5. Mason resigned his commission two years after graduation in 1831.
- Philip Van Doren Stern, Robert E. Lee: the Man and the Soldier, New York, 1963, p. 41.
- D. S. Freeman, R.E. Lee: A Biography, Vol. I, Ch. 4
- Kenneth W. Dobyns, The Patent Office Pony: A History of the Early Patent Office, Chapter 24—Judge Charles Mason's Patent Office