Friday, July 23, 2010

Famous File: General Richard Barnes Mason

(Located at Bellefontaine Cemtery in St. Louis, MO.)

General Richard Barnes Mason
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Dragoons U.S. Army
Born in Fairfax. VA January 16, 1797 Died at Jefferson Barracks, MO July 25, 1850
Erected by his widow and children

Richard Barnes Mason (1797-1850) was the son of George Mason of Virginia. His grandfather, also George Mason, authored the Virginia bill of rights and was a friend of Washington and Jefferson. He joined the military in 1817 and rose through the ranks to Colonel 30 June 1846 and Brevet Brigadier General 30 May 1848. His service was spent on the Northern and Western frontiers. Mason's administration saw the start of the California Gold Rush with the discovery of gold at Sutter's mill 24 January 1848. Mason's report was forwarded to Washington and President Polk inserted the discovery into his State of the Union message to Congress 5 December 1848. Personally, he was a hard man. The story goes that at an execution the hangman's knots slipped. The local priest petitioned the governor to say the penalty was paid. Colonel Mason is said to have told the priest that the prisoners had been sentenced to be hanged until dead and he would consider the knot slipping after that happened. Mason left the job at his request, was put in charge of Jefferson Barracks and died there 25 July 1850. (

No comments:

Post a Comment