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John W. Mason (1842-1917) Papers

 Collection
Collection Number: A&M.1888

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, legal papers, photographs, and printed materials of John W. Mason (1842-1917). Mason was a circuit court and state Supreme Court judge, member of the Virginia State Debt Commission, and commissioner of Internal Revenue. The general correspondence contains personal and business letters, as well as manuscript speeches, notebooks, and reports. The period while Mason was circuit judge is particularly sparse. Also includes Internal Revenue correspondence consisting of about 8,500 pages in letter press copy books. Roughly half of the collection is devoted to his legal papers and printed materials concerning law in general.

Subjects include early development of the Republican Party in West Virginia; political campaigns in West Virginia from 1870 to 1916; Monongalia Academy; industrial development in West Virginia; Internal Revenue Service (1889-1893); the Virginia Debt question; early banking development in Grafton; and the development of coal companies, particularly around Fairmont.

Correspondents include George W. Atkinson; James G. Blaine; Arthur I. Boreman; A.W. Campbell; W.E. Chandler; William M.O. Dawson; A.G. Dayton; Marmaduke H. Dent; Stephen B. Elkins; D.D. Farnsworth; W.E. Glasscock; Nathan Goff, Jr.; J.M. Hagans; Benjamin Harrison; H.D. Hatfield; J.J. Jacob; J.C. McGrew; William McKinley; J.M. Mason; Francis H. Pierpont; Nathan B. Scott; W.E. Stevenson; G.C. Sturgiss; and A.B. White.

For item level description, see control folder.

Series include:

Series 1. Personal Papers; 1831-1928, undated; 11 boxes. This series includes general correspondence (letters, manuscript speeches, diaries, and extensively annotated printed materials), newspapers, school records from Mason's early life, photographs, printed material, and papers of Robert C. Mason and John W. Mason, Jr.

Series 2. Internal Revenue Service Papers; 1889-1893; 5 boxes. This series consists of 18 volumes of letter press copy books (roughly 8500 pages). Unbound letters relating to the IRS will be found in Series 1, boxes 1-6, General Correspondence.

Series 3. Business Papers; 1854-1917, undated; 13 boxes. This series includes legal papers, material relating to the Virginia-West Virginia debt controversy, financial papers, minute books of coal companies, and other printed material.

Series 4. Oversize; 1884, 1915; 1 folder. This series includes a certificate of incorporation of the Grafton, Buckhannon, and Charleston Railroad Company (1884); and John W. Mason's certificate of membership to the Virginia State Debt Commission (1915).

Contents List:

Series 1. Personal Papers

Box 1; General Correspondence (includes all letters, manuscript speeches, diaries, and extensively annotated printed materials); 1867-1886

Box 2; General Correspondence (cont.); 1887-1895

Box 3; General Correspondence (cont.); 1896-1898

Box 4; General Correspondence (cont.); 1899-1904

Box 5; General Correspondence (cont.); 1905-1914

Box 6; General Correspondence (cont.; also includes undated and incomplete correspondence); 1915-1917, undated

Box 7; Newspapers (includes references and clippings [1860-1916], The Veil is Rent [1889-1891], scrapbook [1889], and miscellaneous periodicals); 1860-1916

Box 8; Early Life (includes school papers [1854-1866] and Monongalia Academy material [1831-1867]); 1831-1867

Box 9; Miscellaneous (includes photographs, certificates, printed political campaign material, and printed speeches and booklets by various state and national leaders); undated

Box 10; Miscellaneous (includes printed material on political, literary, agricultural, and religious subjects); undated

Box 11; Papers of Robert C. Mason and John W. Mason, Jr.; 1900-1928

Series 2. Internal Revenue Service Papers

Box 1; General Correspondence (includes letter press copy books--for unbound letters relating to the IRS, see Series 1, boxes 1-6, General Correspondence); March 1889 - July 1889

Box 2; General Correspondence (cont.); July 1889 - May 1890

Box 3; General Correspondence (cont.); May 1890 - May 1891

Box 4; General Correspondence (cont.); May 1891 - July 1892

Box 5; General Correspondence (cont. [July 1892 - April 1893]; also includes volumes which show the Internal Revenue organization [1889-1893]); 1889-1893

Series 3. Business Papers

Box 1; Legal Papers (includes papers regarding the Grafton Building Association and the Working Men's B & L Association); 1854-1871

Box 2; Legal Papers; 1872-1875

Box 3; Legal Papers; 1876-1891

Box 4; Legal Papers; 1891-1899

Box 5; Legal Papers; 1900-1916

Box 6; Miscellaneous Legal Papers (includes undated and incomplete legal papers, plats, and blank forms); undated

Box 7; Virginia Debt Papers (includes material relating to the development of West Virginia's case, resolutions, reports, and U.S. Supreme Court briefs); 1913-1916

Box 8; Virginia Debt Papers (includes Reports and Proceedings of the West Virginia Debt Commission, Reports and Opinions by Public and Private Persons and Organizations on the Virginia Debt); 1913-1917

Box 9; Financial Papers (includes receipts, bank statements, and check stubs); 1868-1917

Box 10; Legal Records (includes account books and law dockets); 1867-1907

Box 11; Minute Books (includes Worthington Coal and Coke Company; Hutchinson-Ellen Coal Company; and lists of the contents of Mason's law library); 1893-1901

Box 12; Printed Legal Material (includes briefs and opinions by Mason and others on West Virginia cases); 1872?-1916

Box 13; Miscellaneous Printed Legal Material (includes West Virginia Bar Association material, and opinions and briefs from federal courts); 1865-1917

Box 14; Artifact -- US Prohibition Era Hydrometer (for testing alcohol proof); ca. 1914-1930.

Series 4. Oversize

Oversize Folder; Certificates (includes certificate of incorporation of the Grafton, Buckhannon, and Charleston Railroad Company [1884]; and John W. Mason's certificate of membership to the Virginia State Debt Commission [1915]); 1884, 1915

Dates

  • 1831-1928

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.

Biographical / Historical

John W. Mason (1842-1917) was a prominent lawyer and Republican party member in the northern part of West Virginia from the early 1870s until his death. He had been a soldier in the Union army and after the war attended Monongalia Academy. He read law under Judge Marshall Hagans of Morgantown and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He practiced law in Grafton from 1867 to 1889. During this time he was made Chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee and served four years until 1876. He ran for the House of Representatives in 1882 and was defeated by William L. Wilson by ten votes. He tried for Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia six years after but lost. The highlight of his life was his appointment as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service by President Benjamin Harrison. At the end of his term of office, he returned to West Virginia and moved to Fairmont. He continued to practice law until he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court of Monongalia, Harrison, and Marion Counties in 1900. After he left Washington, he repeatedly attempted to secure another appointment in Washington but was unsuccessful. He retired from the bench in 1912 and was appointed Chairman of the West Virginia Debt Commission the following year. He served until the fall of 1915 when he was appointed to a vacant seat in the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. He stepped down in January of 1917 and died later that spring.

Extent

13 Linear Feet (Summary: 13 ft. (29 document cases, 5 in. each); (1 index card box, 11 in.); (1 oversize folder, 2 items))

Overview

Correspondence, legal papers, photographs, and printed materials of John W. Mason (1842-1917). Mason was a circuit court and state Supreme Court judge, member of the Virginia State Debt Commission, and commissioner of Internal Revenue. The general correspondence contains personal and business letters, as well as manuscript speeches, notebooks, and reports. The period while Mason was circuit judge is particularly sparse. Also includes Internal Revenue correspondence consisting of about 8,500 pages in letter press copy books. Roughly half of the collection is devoted to his legal papers and printed materials concerning law in general. Subjects include early development of the Republican Party in West Virginia; political campaigns in West Virginia from 1870-1916; Monongalia Academy; industrial development; Internal Revenue Service (1889-1893); the Virginia Debt question; early banking development in Grafton; and the development of coal companies, particularly around Fairmont. Correspondents include Arthur I. Boreman, A.W. Campbell, Stephen B. Elkins, Benjamin Harrison, Francis H. Pierpont, and others.

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL: https://wvrhc.lib.wvu.edu/

Related A&M Collections

37, 1888, 3820

Separated Materials

Issue of West Virginia Citizen separated to A&M 3890.

Instrument for measuring alcoholic content of beverages removed to memorabilia collection.
Title
Mason, John W. (1842-1917). Papers, 1831-1928
Author
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

Contact:
1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US
304-293-3536