John Y. Mason papers, 1843-1898.

Creator: Mason, John Y. (John Young), 1799-1859.
Collection number: 1546
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Abstract: John Young Mason, from Greensville County, Va., graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1816. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia, 1831-1837; served as secretary of the Navy, 1844-1845 and 1846-1849; was attorney general of the United States, March 1845-September 1846; and served as U.S. minister plenipotentiary to France, 1854-1859. Personal and professional correspondence of John Young Mason and of members of his family. Original items are chiefly letters addressed to Mason, secretary of the Navy, 1844-1849, mostly about such matters as gaining government employment and routine naval operations. There are also letters about various political matters, and letters from managers of Virginia plantations that Mason owned, Day’s Neck and Fortsville; from Simon Fraser Blunt describing San Francisco and other places in California; and to Mason’s daughter Emily and her husband, Robert Jones Barksdale, about finances and family matters. Typed transcriptions on microfilm consist chiefly of family correspondence of Mason, his wife, Mary Ann Fort Mason, their children, members of the families of the spouses of their children, and cousins. These letters relate primarily to family news and activities on Mason’s plantations. There also are scattered professional letters to Mason and letters from John Y. Mason, Jr., a purser in the Navy, from China, Europe, California, and Hawaii, 1845-1851; from Lewis E. Mason, managing a plantation in Coahoma County, Miss., 1840s; and from St. George Tucker Mason, with the French Army after the Civil War.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: Personal and professional correspondence of the family of John Young Mason, a Virginia planter and lawyer, congressman, Secretary of the Navy, and Attorney General. Family letters from a Virginia plantation discuss the work, rental, and sale of slaves. Also included is a postbellum letter concerning Fanny Mason of Yorkville, South Carolina, who hired her former slaves after Emancipation (1866). Microfilm available.