WILLIAM MASON, who is extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising in Brighton Township, his home being on section 15, claims New York as the State of his nativity. He was born in Potsdam on the 15th of August, 1830, and comes from one of the prominent New England families. His father, Lawrence S. Mason, a native of Connecticut, had learned the trade of a cabinet-maker and wheelwright when a young man, and following those occupations met with excellent success. He was first time married in the State of his nativity but after the birth of two children, that wife died, and in the Green Mountain State, he was joined in wedlock with Miss Sarah French, who was born in New Haven, Vt. Her father, Nathaniel French, was a prominent farmer and honored early settler of Addison County, where in the midst of the forest he developed a farm, upon which he resided more than sixty years, his death occurring when past the age of eight years. His wife, whose maiden name was Beulah Champion, passed away some time before at the age of eighty-two years. After Lawrence Mason was a second time married he removed with his wife to Potsdam, N.Y., where three sons and two daughters were born unto them. Of that family all are yet living and are married. They recently held a reunion in New Haven, Vt., where for the first time in more than forty years the five children had been together. They are all now well-to-do and prosperous people and have become respected members of society. Mr. Mason, the father, spent his last years in Potsdam, N.Y., where for so long he had made his home and followed his trade. He passed away at the age of seventy-two years, after which his widow returned to her father's old homestead in New Haven, Vt., where she remained until called to her final rest in 1877, or about at the age of eighty-four years. She was a life-long member of the Baptist Church and a noble Christian lady who won the love of all with whom she came in contact. The old homestead in New Haven, upon which she was born and died, is now owned by her son, C. W. Mason.
In the State of his nativity, the subject of this sketch was carefully reared and received a good practical education. Believing that the West furnished better opportunities for young men, he started for Illinois, when twenty-two years of age and in October, 1852, became a resident of Brighton Township, Macoupin County. Two years later he purchased two hundred acres of land, a part of his present farm and built thereon a dwelling. His arrangements for a home were further completed by his marriage with Miss Nancy M. Hoyt, an old acquaintance whom he had known in the East, but who was then living in Kendall County, Ill. She was born in New Haven, Vt., July 2, 1833, and is a daughter of Harvey and Hanna L. (Wynn) Hoyt. She, too, belongs to an early family, her grandfather being Dr. Jacob Hoyt, who lived and died in New Haven, Conn. Her parents were natives of the Green Mountain State, and her mother died at the age of thirty-two years, when Mrs. Mason was a young girl of only nine summers. The father died at the home of his daughter at the age of seventy-one years. He was four times married and was a member of the Baptist Church.
Mrs. Mason came to Illinois with her family in 1850, the family first locating in Kendall County. By her marriage there have been born six children - Clara E., wife of John Jones, a resident farmer of Brighton Township; Flora M., wife of John A. Bennett, a farmer living in Princeton, Franklin County, Kan.; Charles A., a prominent stock dealer living near Denver, Col., on the Union Pacific Railroad; William H., Albert L., and Franklin E., at home. They also lost one child, Lucius H. who died at the age of eighteen months. Mr. and Mrs. Mason are numbered among the prominent people in this part of the county, ranking high in the social world and holding an enviable position in the esteem of their many friends. In the Methodist church they are active workers and Mr. Mason has for many years been Steward and Class leader, serving in the former capacity at the present time. In politics he is a warm advocate of Republican principles but prefers to devote his attention to his business rather than engage in strife for public office. He has been eminently successful in his business career, being now numbered among the substantial farmers of the community. He owns three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land in Brighton Township, and in connection with its cultivation is extensively engaged in stock raising, making a specialty of the breeding of Merino sheep, which he has shipped in large numbers throughout the West. Ample shelter is provided for his stock and grain in large barns and other outbuildings, and in 1883, his first home was replaced by one of the finest farm residences in the county, built in the most modern style, tastefully furnished and supplied with all the conveniences and comfort which go to make life worth the living. The Mason family are people of intelligence and worth, well deserving of a representation in this volume.