George Mason III

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For other people named George Mason, see George Mason (disambiguation).
George Mason III
Born George Mason
1690
Chopawamsic, Stafford County, Colony of Virginia
Died March 5, 1735 (aged 44–45)
Potomac River, Fairfax County, Colony of Virginia
Cause of death drowning
Nationality American
Occupation House of Burgesses member, Stafford County sheriff, Stafford County county lieutenant, Stafford County militia colonel, planter, businessperson
Spouse(s) Ann Stevens Thomson
Children George Mason IV
Mary Thomson Mason Selden
Thomson Mason
Parent(s) George Mason II
Mary Fowke

George Mason III (1690 – 5 March 1735)[1][2][3][4] was an early American planter, businessman, and statesman. Mason was the father of George Mason IV, a Founding Father of the United States.[1][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Mason was born in 1690 at Chopawamsic plantation in Stafford County, Virginia.[1][3][4] He was the eldest son of George Mason II and his first wife Mary Fowke.[1][3][4]

Planter and politician[edit]

At the time of his father's death in 1716, Mason was 27 and already a man of prominence in Stafford County.[2] Like his father, Mason increased the family's property and social standing in Stafford County, and continued a tradition of leadership and public service.[2][5] Also like his father, Mason served as a colonel in the Stafford County militia and represented Stafford in the House of Burgesses between 1715 and 1726.[2][5][6] It was during his tenure as a burgess in Williamsburg that Mason met and married his wife Ann Stevens Thomson.[5] He served as County Lieutenant of Stafford in 1719.[6] Mason also served as sheriff of Stafford County.[2]

Mason amassed enormous land holdings in Stafford, Fauquier, Prince William, and Fairfax counties in Virginia.[2] Mason also increased his land holdings by acquiring large grants south of the Occoquan River, which were later named Woodbridge by his grandson Thomas Mason.[5] Mason leased most of his properties out as smaller farms with their rent paid in tobacco yield.[2] Other sources of Mason's income came from fisheries and a ferry service carrying King's Highway across the Occoquan River.[2][5] Because Mason owned land on both sides of the Occoquan River, he enjoyed a monopoly on river crossings as well as on the fishing rights in Belmont Bay.[5]

In 1716, Mason accompanied the "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition" led by Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood across the Blue Ridge and into the Shenandoah Valley.[2]

Marriage and children[edit]

Mason married Ann Stevens Thomson, daughter of Stevens Thomson and his wife Dorothea, in 1721.[1][2][3][4] The couple had three children:[1][3][4]

A few years after his marriage to Ann, Mason moved his family to Stump Neck plantation in Charles County, Maryland, relegating the Chopawamsic estate in Stafford County, Virginia, to a secondary residence.[2]

Later life[edit]

Mason died in a ferry accident on 5 March 1735 on the Potomac River.[2][3][4] Soon after his death, Mason's widow and children returned to Chopawamsic.[2] At the time of his death, Mason owned 20,875 acres (84.48 km2) in Stafford County alone.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gunston Hall. "George Mason III". Gunston Hall. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Lee Woolf (2002-04-07). "George Mason gets memorial in D.C.". The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company. Retrieved 2008-03-29. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g French Family Association (2008). "Children of Dennis French, A.2". French Family Association. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Lt. Col. George Mason III". arlisherring.com. 9 February 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Mason Neck Citizens Association. "About Mason Neck". Mason Neck Citizens Association. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  6. ^ a b THOROWGOOD. "Thorowgood: Fifth Generation". THOROWGOOD. Retrieved 2008-03-29.