James Mason, Sr. of St. Clair Co. Illinois is the most distant known ancestor to many Mason descendants in the United States. His parents are unknown but DNA has proved that this family's orgin were of Anglo-Saxon descent and likely immigrated from either England or perhaps directly from Germany.

Name Variations

In researching various records, Mason is written or transcribed as Mason/Mayson/Maison/Maeson/Maron (transcription error where s looks like an r)


Parents unknown. James Mason's age in the 1810 census was marked as 27-45 placing his birth date between 1765 and 1783. In an effort to connect this family to one of the numerous documented lines of Mason, one of his descendants submitted DNA for comparison to known Mason family lines. Results from this test are available at the Family Tree DNA - Project Website, kit #106386.

A deep clade r test indicated that this Mason line of descent belongs to a DNA halo-group called R-U198. Two or three thousand years ago, there was a mutation in an Anglo-Saxon male that his descendants carry to this day. The Anglo-Saxons lived in northern Germany and Denmark having migrated through Russia. In the early 5th century , they invaded southern and eastern Great Britain after the Romans abandoned the island and established the England nation which they held until the Norman conquest of 1066. [1]

The R-U198 mutation is present today in samples taken from populations in England (1.4%) , Germany (1.8%), Denmark (0.8%) , Russia (1.8%) and rare elsewhere. [2] DNA testing eliminated this family as a member of the more predominant lines of Masons in the United States and James Mason's origin remains a mystery.

Marriage and Children

Bethel Baptist church records at Richland in St. Clair Co. Illinois indicated that James and his wife, Jane or Jean (spelled both ways) joined the church in 1808 at the same time as a John Steel and his wife.[3]

In 1810, James Mason appears in the Grand Tower township, St. Clair Co. Illinois census along with a John Steel Sr. and John Steel Jr. on the same census page. The 1810 census does not list names other than the head of the house hold but it does indicate that he had 3 sons and 6 daughters.

  1810 St. Clair Co. Illinois Census,  Mason, J. 1201-4201
       1M < 10    [b.1800-1809 James b.1801]
       2M 11-16  [b.1794-1799 Bennett b.1795 & William]
       1M 27-45  [b.1765-1783 James Mason]
       4F  < 10    [b.1800-1809 Jane, Elcy, Phoebe, Catherine]
       2F  11-16  [b.1794-1799 Nancy & Mary]
       1F  27-45  [b. 1764-1783 Jane b.1776]

His three sons, Bennett, William and James as well as his wife, Jane are named in his will signed on Nov 30 1815. His daughters' names were reconstructed from marriage records as he was the only Mason in St. Clair Co. Illinois during the 1820's. [4]

Children Sex Birth Death Spouse
Nancy Mason F 1794-1799 unk John Rutherford
Bennett Mason M 1795 Sep 15 1873 May 12 Mary Ava Wesner
Mary Mason F 1794-1799 unk George Tetrick
William Mason M 1798 1848 Rebecca Terry
James Mason M 1801 Feb 2 1868 Jul 28 Mary Whitchurch
Jane Mason F 1802-1809 bef 1850 Berryman Creel
Phoebe Mason F 1802-1809 bef 1850 Joseph Huey
Catherine Mason F 1802-1809 unk William J. Cunningham
Elsie Mason F b.c. 1810 10 Mar 1857 Joel Jackson


The earliest record found of James and Jane/Jean Mason is 1808 in St. Clair Co. Illinois when they joined the Bethel Baptist church at Richland along with John Steel and his wife. Of significant note is that the Richland Baptist church adopted rules prohibiting slavery.[5]

1808 James & Jane joined Bethel Baptist church along with John Steel & his wife
1810 Living in Grand Tower twp, St. Clair Co. IL (3 sons, 6 daughters)
1812 Nancy Mason m. John Rutherford
1814 Purchased 141.69 acres in 30 NW 01S 06W (Silver Creek twp)
1815 Will written naming wife Jane, sons Bennett, William & James
1815 Buried in Mason Cemetery on a corner of his land
1817 Mary Mason m. George Tetrick
1817 Bennett Mason m. Mary Wesner in Crawford Co. IL
1818 Bennett Mason listed on Crawford Co. IL census with no children
1820 Bennett Mason listed on St. Clair Co. IL census with one child
1820 Jane Mason listed on census (00010-02201)
1821 William Mason m. Rebecca Terry
1821 Jane Mason m. Creel Berryman
1822 Phebe Mason m. Joseph Huey
1823 James Mason Jr. m. Mary Whitchurch
1824 Catherine Mason m. William J. Cunningham
1829 Elcy Mason m. Joel Jackson


Two of James' sons, Bennett b.1795 and James b.1801 list Kentucky as their birthplace in the 1850 census placing James in Kentucky in 1800. According to the 1800 "Second Census" of Kentucky, there were three James Mason's enumerated on tax rolls - in Lincoln, Madison and Montgomery counties.

  • Lincoln Co. Kentucky - A James Mason married Sally Feland on Jul 28 1787 and appears in various records there. He was not listed on the 1810 census but upon further investigation it was found that he died instate in 1805.
  • Montgomery Co. Kentucky - A James Mason purchased 200 acres from John and Anna Mason of Fayette Co. Kentucky on Mar 18 1799. Both he and John Mason appear on the 1810 census eliminating him.
  • Madison Co. Kentucky - In Madison Co. Kentucky, there are three (3) different James Masons in county records:
  1. A James and William Meason show up in tax records as early as 1787/88. Both are slave owners. James and his wife, Elizabeth sell their land in 1789 and do not show up on subsequent tax lists. This James Mason reputely came from Botetourt Co. Virginia.
  2. William Mason died in 1793 and his will named his wife Isabella and a son James among others. Matthew Scott named Isabella as sister in his will and a marriage record of William Mason to Isabella Scott on May 28 1780 in Botetourt Co. Virginia implies that William's son James could be no older than 18 in 1800 and too young to be Bennett’s father. The 1800 Madison Co. KY tax list listed James Mason as over 21 eliminating William’s son, James.
  3. In 1799, a James Mason purchased a tract of land on Silver Creek in Madison Co. Kentucky. According to tax records he was not a slave holder. In October 1807, he sold 80 acres on Silver Creek. This is likely the James Mason who relocated to St. Clair Co. Illinois and joined the Richland Baptist Church in April 1808 because of the timing of his land sale and the fact that he was not a slave holder. Additionally, James Mason, Bennett Million and John Woods each purchased federal land in St. Clair County, Illinois on the same day, Sep 19 1814. They all appear on the 1800 tax list living on Silver Creek in Madison Co. Kentucky but are gone by 1810 as is a John Steel.
1799 Purchased land on Silver Creek
1800 Listed on tax list along with John Steel
1801 Son, James Jr. born in KY
1807 Sold 80 acres on Silver Creek
1807 Field Jarvis on tax roll (father of John Steel's wife, Catherine)
1810 Missing from tax list as is John Steel


James Mason Jr. born 1801 consistently listed his birth place as Kentucky but it is unclear how early James Sr. actually arrived in Kentucky because His oldest son, Bennett listed his birth place as KY in 1850, NJ in 1860 and VA in 1870. Nancy & Mary Mason who were also born prior to 1799 either died prior to 1850 or moved away.

Possible locations include:

  • Stafford Co. VA - Richland Baptist Church records list James Mason’s wife’s name as both Jane and Jean. Bennett Million’s family that lived in Madison Co. KY and moved to St. Clair Co. IL about the same time as James Mason’s family came from Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co. VA. According to church records there Robert and Grace (Bennett) Million had a daughter, Jeany b. 19 Apr 1758.[6] She may be too old to be James Mason’s wife who was born b.c. 1776. Per the DAR, Jane Mason’s headstone listed her age at 56 years but listed no death date.[7] Given Jane Mason sold land to her son-in-law, Joel Jackson in 1832, she likely died soon thereafter. Jeany Million’s age does not preclude her from giving birth to Elsie at age 52 and Elsie was their last living child even though James Mason lived another 5 years.
  • Accomack Co. VA - The descendants of William Mason of Accomack Co. VA in the early 1600s included several Bennett Masons but evidence from DNA testing indicate that this family belonged to a different halo-group.
  • Unknown Co. VA - Jane is perhaps the sister of John Steele Sr. or Catherine Jarvis who joined the Bethel Baptist church by letter the same day as James & Jane Mason. Jane named a daughter Catherine and both families used the names Jane and Catherine for children. Holly Dunn lists John Steel's birth date as 1764 VA making him too young to be her father. There is evidence to indicate that James Mason & John Steel lived in Madison Co. KY for a few years before coming to St. Clair Co. IL and that Jane was a common name in the Steele family as was Catherine, the name of one of Jane’s daughters.

New Jersey

There was a James Mason on the Elsinboro, Salem Co. NJ tax list from 1793 to 1797 along with a Thomas and William. Although it fits the timeline well, this is likely the same James Mason whose will was probated in Mannington, Salem Co. NJ in 1799 who had sons William and Thomas but no son James.

Death and Burial

His will was written on Nov 30, 1815. Transcription of James Mason's will - "In the name of God Amen, I James Mason of St Clair County & Illinois Territory being weaken body but of perfect mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will and teastament in the following manner first I give my soul to god who gave it me and my body to the dust from whence it came and then after all my lawful debts is paid. First I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife, Jane Mason, all my personal property and her maintance off the land as long as she lives and remains my widow except one horse, saddle, and bridal and a suit of clothes, the exact amount one hundred and fifty dollars is to be given to my son Bennit when he becomes of age. I also do give and bequeath unto my youngest son James Mason the land I now live on when he is of age. I do also give and bequeath unto my son William Mason the some of three hundred and twenty dollars when he comes of age. I will that the land and money that James and William is to half to be their portion in full. I also constitute and ordain my wife Jane Mason executor of this my last will and testament in ther witness whereof I have unto set my hand and seal this 30th day of November in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen." Signed James Mason. Witnesses John J. Whiteside, Peter Mitchell, Isaac Griffin. Recorded Book A, p.51, Feb 12 1816.

James Mason Sr. is buried in Mason cemetery on a corner of the land he purchased in 1814, Englemann Township, section 30. The headstone marking his grave was recorded in 1933-35 by DAR listing the date of his death as Dec 6, 1815. [8]

--Becky Mason Walker 18:58, 12 June 2010 (UTC)


  3. Bethel Baptist Church Minutes 1806-1851, Exerpts from the Minutes 1851-1852, Membership Lists 1809-1909, St. Clair County, Illinois, edited by Diane Walsh, 1993, St. Clair County Genealogical Society, Belleville, IL.
  4. Dodd, Jordan R, et. al. Early American Marriages: Illinois to 1850. Bountiful, UT: Precision Indexing Publishers, 19xx.
  5. Bethel Baptist Church Minutes 1806-1851, Exerpts from the Minutes 1851-1852, Membership Lists 1809-1909, St. Clair County, Illinois, edited by Diane Walsh, 1993, St. Clair County Genealogical Society, Belleville, IL.
  6. The Register of Overwharton Parish, Stafford Count Virginia 1723-1758 and Sundry Historical and Genealogical Notes, by George Harrison Sanford King, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 1961
  7. Certified Copies of Unpublished Cemetery Records and Early Marriage Records. Compiled by (Mrs. George M.) Electra Ball Spangler, State Registrar and Chairman, Genealogical Records Committee, State of Illinois, Daughter of the American Revolution, 1933-1935. Mason Cemetery - St. Clair County, Illinois. Contributed by Miss Daisy Whiteside, Registrar.
  8. Certified Copies of Unpublished Cemetery Records and Early Marriage Records. Compiled by (Mrs. George M.) Electra Ball Spangler, State Registrar and Chairman, Genealogical Records Committee, State of Illinois, Daughter of the American Revolution, 1933-1935. Mason Cemetery - St. Clair County, Illinois. Contributed by Miss Daisy Whiteside, Registrar.

Category:Articles created via the Article Wizard

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article wikipedia:en:Draft:James Mason, Sr., that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): Draft:James Mason, Sr./edithistory Search for "Draft:James Mason, Sr." on Google
View Wikipedia's deletion log of "Draft:James Mason, Sr."

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.