David H. Mason

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David H. Mason
United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by George Stillman Hillard
Succeeded by George P. Sanger
Personal details
Born (1818-03-17)March 17, 1818
Sullivan, New Hampshire
Died May 20, 1873(1873-05-20) (aged 55)
Newton, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Sarah Wilson White
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Harvard Law School
Occupation Lawyer

David Haven Mason (March 17, 1818 – May 20, 1873) was an American attorney and Republican politician from Newton, Massachusetts, who served on the Massachusetts Board of Education, in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and later as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1870 until his death in 1873.

Early life[edit]

Mason was born on March 17, 1818 in Sullivan, New Hampshire, to John and Mary (Haven) Mason.[1] He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1841 and studied at law in Lancaster, New Hampshire, Boston, Massachusetts, and Harvard Law School.[2]

Legal career[edit]

Mason was admitted to the Suffolk County bar in 1843 and began practicing in Boston.[1] Lacking family or personal wealth, Mason was left with only twenty-five cents after securing his office and purchasing office furniture and law books. He was eventually able to establish a successful practice.[2]

In 1848 he moved from Boston to Newton, Massachusetts, where he lived for the rest of his life.[1]

In 1860 Mason was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Education. As a member of the board, Mason was influential in the establishment of the State Normal School at Framingham.[1]

Mason represented Newton in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1863, 1866 and 1867. In the House he was a leading proponent of the leveling of Boston's Fort Hill, the merger of the Western Railroad and the Boston and Worcester Railroad, and the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[2]

From 1864 to 1870 Mason was a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.[1] On December 22, 1870, he was appointed United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts by President Ulysses S. Grant.[2]

Mason died on May 20, 1873 at his home in Newton. The town of Newton named one of its grammar schools in his honor (now known as Mason-Rice Elementary School).[2][3]

Personal life[edit]

Mason married Sarah Wilson White on June 16, 1845.[4] They had five children:[4]

  • Edward Haven Mason (1849–1917), an attorney and philatelist
  • Elizabeth Amelia White Mason (1853–1864)
  • Harry White Mason (1857–1929), an attorney
  • Frank A. Mason (1862–1940), an attorney and the first full-time football coach at Harvard University.
  • Mabel White (Mason) Mowton (1867–1931)

He was a distant relative of Rufus Osgood Mason, who also grew up in Sullivan, New Hampshire.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, John De Witt, John Howard Van Amringe (1899). William Roscoe Thayer; Charles Henry Smith; Jesse Lynch Williams; Albert Lee; Charles Edgar; Lewis Wingate; Henry Gallup Paine, eds. "Mason, David Haven". Universities and Their Sons: history, influence and characteristics of American universities, with biographical sketches and portraits of alumni and recipients of honorary degrees. R. Herndon Company. 3: 95–96. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Smith, Samuel Francis (1880). History of Newton, Massachusetts: town and city, from its earliest settlement to the present time, 1630–1880. American Logotype Co. pp. 787–790. 
  3. ^ "Mason-Rice Elementary School". Mason-Rice Elementary School. Mason-Rice Elementary School. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Seward, Josiah Lafayette (1921). "Family of John Mason". A History of the Town of Sullivan, New Hampshire, 1777–1917. 2: 1128–1131. Retrieved 13 October 2011.