George Thomson Mason

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George Thomson Mason
Born 17 August 1818
Gunston Hall, Fairfax County, Virginia
Died 26 April 1846(1846-04-26) (aged 27)
Fort Brown, Texas
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1838–1846
Rank Army-USA-OF-01b.svg Second Lieutenant
Unit 2nd Dragoon Regiment
Battles/wars Mexican–American War

George Thomson Mason (17 August 1818 – 26 April 1846)[1] was a United States Army Second Lieutenant killed in the Thornton Affair during the Mexican–American War. Mason was a scion of the prominent Mason political family of Virginia.

Early life and education[edit]

Mason was born on 17 August 1818 at Gunston Hall in Fairfax County, Virginia.[1][2] He was the fourth child and second-eldest son of George Mason VI (11 August 1786–21 August 1834) and his wife Elizabeth Thomson Mason (1789–2 September 1821).[1] Mason was a great-grandson of George Mason (11 December 1725–7 October 1792), a Founding Father of the United States.[1]

Mason was a student in the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York between 1 July 1838 and 1 July 1842.[1][2][3]

Military career[edit]

Upon his graduation from West Point, Mason was promoted in the United States Army to Brevet Second Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Dragoons.[4] Mason then served at the School of Cavalry Practice at Carlisle Barracks in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.[4] Following his service at Carlisle Barracks, Mason served at Fort Jesup in Louisiana between 1842 and 1843.[2][3][4] From there, Mason served in an expedition to the Arkansas River in 1843.[4] At Fort Leavenworth, Mason was transferred to the 1st U.S. Dragoons on 6 March 1843 and served at the fort between 1843 and 1844.[4] Mason departed from Fort Leavenworth to participate in Scouting to Pawnee Villages in 1844 and then returned to Fort Leavenworth where he was again made a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Dragoons on 13 September 1844.[4] Mason served in Fort Jesup between 1844 and 1845 and in the Military Occupation of Texas between 1845 and 1846.[2][3][4]

Mason died on 26 April 1846 at age 27 near Fort Brown, Texas, 25 miles from Brownsville.[1][3][4][5] Mason died of injuries sustained in the Thornton Affair (also known as the Skirmish of La Rosita), considered the first battle of the Mexican–American War.[3][4][5] The two squadrons under the command of Captains May and Seth Thornton had marched out to reconnoiter Mexican movements when Thornton's command ran into a larger force of 500 Mexicans near La Rosita, and became surrounded.[6] Mason and eight enlisted men were killed, along with two enlisted wounded.[6]


It is believed that Fort Mason in Mason, Texas was named in honour of Mason.[3][7] Although the fort's history dates as far back to 1845, official records indicate that Fort Mason was not established until 6 July 1851.[3][7]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Gunston Hall. "George Thomson Mason". Gunston Hall. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d Allison, Edna Finney (1971). Wood Genealogy and History. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ray Montez (10 April 2007). "Mason, Texas". The Alamo Community Colleges. Archived from the original on 28 August 2009. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Corpus Christi Public Libraries (2004). "George T. Mason". Corpus Christi Public Libraries. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  5. ^ a b Virginia Historical Society (1896). The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society. 
  6. ^ a b W. Tomtschik. "2nd Dragoons in the Mexican War". Robert E. Lee Fought For God And Country Too, A Great American!. Retrieved 2008-03-21. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b Julius E. DeVos (2008-01-17). "FORT MASON". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2008-03-21.