George Mason I

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For other people named George Mason, see George Mason (disambiguation).
George Mason I
Born George Mason
(1629-06-05)June 5, 1629
Pershore, Worcestershire, England
Died 1686 (aged 56–57)
Stafford County, Colony of Virginia
Resting place
Accokeek, Stafford County, Virginia
Residence Accokeek, Stafford County, Virginia
Nationality English
Ethnicity English
Citizenship Kingdom of England
Occupation Cavalier, Parliament of England member, House of Burgesses member, Stafford County sheriff, Stafford County county lieutenant, justice of the peace, Stafford County militia colonel, planter, businessperson
Religion Anglican
Spouse(s) Mary French
Frances Norgrave
Children George Mason II
Parents Thomas Mason
Ann French
Relatives great-grandfather of George Mason IV

George Mason I (5 June 1629 – 1686)[1][2] was the progenitor of the prominent American landholding and political Mason family. Mason was the great-grandfather of George Mason IV, a Founding Father of the United States.[1]

Early life[edit]

Mason was born in Pershore, Worcestershire, England on 5 June 1629.[1][3] He was the third of seven children of yeoman farmer Thomas Mason and his wife Ann French.[1][2] Mason was christened at Pershore Abbey, Holy Cross Church, Pershore, Worcestershire, on 10 June 1629.[1][2]

Political involvement in England[edit]

Mason was a Cavalier member of the Parliament of England during the reign of Charles I of England. Mason was against Charles I's execution in 1649. He became a captain, commanding a troop in Charles II's army. When the Royalist forces were defeated at the Battle of Worcester by Oliver Cromwell in 1651, Mason hurriedly left England.

Arrival in Virginia[edit]

Mason probably arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on the ship Assurance in 1652.[2][3] Mason was accompanied by his cousins and neighbors from England, Thomas and Gerard Fowke of Staffordshire.[2][3] He settled in Westmoreland County, Virginia in the early 1650s and was associated with the naming of Stafford County when it was formed from Westmoreland County in 1664.[3] Mason eventually settled permanently near an Indian village along Accokeek Creek on a hill between present-day State Routes 608 (Brooke Road) and 621 (Marlborough Point Road) in Stafford County.[3] He named his residence Accokeek, later rechristened Rose Hill.[3] The property was named for the now extinct Accokeek Native American tribe which inhabited present-day Prince George's County, Maryland.[4] Accokeek plantation began as 650 acres (2.6 km2) and gradually increased to 1,150 acres (4.7 km2) in size.[3]

Political involvement in Virginia[edit]

Mason represented Stafford County in the House of Burgesses and in 1670, he served as the county's second sheriff.[3] Mason served as Stafford County's county lieutenant in 1675. Mason also served as a Justice of the Peace and vestryman.[3] Mason also served as a colonel in Stafford County's militia.[3] In the Acts of the Assembly for 1675, 1679, and 1684, Colonel Mason was actively engaged in defending his frontier county against the Indians.

Marriage and children[edit]

Mason married Mary French in 1658.[1][2] He and Mary had one son:[1]

Mason married secondly to Frances Norgrave in 1664 in Stafford County, Virginia.[1][2] They had one daughter, Sarah E. Mason, born in 1672.

Later life[edit]

Mason died in 1686.[1] His body was interred in 1686 on a hillside at Accokeek in Stafford County, Virginia.[1][3] His gravesite is currently unmarked.[3]

Masonvale[edit]

George Mason University, named in honor of Mason's great-grandson, re-established its Naming Committee to research and select names for its campus facilities and infrastructure.[5] The committee agreed upon the name "Masonvale" for its faculty and staff housing community in the northeast section of George Mason University's Fairfax Campus.[5] The appendage of “vale” was derived from George Mason I's birthplace, Pershore, which lies in an agricultural region known as the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, England.[5] To unify the naming theme within Masonvale, the names “Pershore” and “Evesham” were then used as street names for the community.[5] Other street names used are “Bredon Hill,” “Cotswolds Hill,” and “Staffordshire.”[5] All are regions of Old Worcestershire where many of Mason’s ancestors once resided.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gunston Hall. "George Mason I". Gunston Hall. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g French Family Association (2008). "Children of Dennis French, A.2". French Family Association. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Lee Woolf (2002-04-07). "George Mason gets memorial in D.C.". The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  4. ^ Naval History & Heritage Command. "Accokeek". Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Dave Andrews (December 18, 2008). "History Is a Guide in Selecting Name for Faculty and Staff Housing Community". The Mason Gazette. Retrieved 2008-03-21.