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Mattie Barackman Mason

Crawford County, Pennsylvania





The following is the recollection of Lina WILSON WILSON (1852-1930). Lina was 10 years of age when her father, Cyrus WILSON, enlisted on September 2, 1862. Lina was the daughter of Cyrus and Catherine MASON WILSON and granddaughter of Mattie BARACKMAN MASON. This is Lina's story about Mattie.

There were two organizations. The southern sympathizers had a society called "The Knights of the Golden Circle" who raised money for the south and gave them all the aid they could. The Union people were organized into a society called "The Union League." Its object was to urge the people to buy government bonds, and to encourage men to enlist.

One night we were called to a meeting of the Union League held in an upper room of the school house in Espyville. There had been many speeches and much singing. 

At the head of the stairs were some young men, [members of] Knights of the Golden Circle, making a disturbance and trying to break up the meeting. As we were going out, a young man whose name was Joe AKIN stepped in from of my grandmother, took hold of the lapel of his coat on which a Copperhead pin was fastened, and said to her, wouldn't you like to have that?" 

Grandmother, without thinking what it would lead to, put out her hand, caught hold of the pin and pulled it off. There was a big commotion during which they tried to pull grandmother down the stairs, but my aunt got a hold of her and screamed for all she was worth. 

My uncle who was home on furlough went to the rescue. He was a large, tall man. He grabbed a couple of the young men, one in each hand by their collars, gave them a push, and they all went tumbling down the stairs together. 

Grandmother was soon surrounded by friends who congratulated her on her courage. I remember the Copperheads made up a song about my grandmother Mattie Mason after that affair. I can only remember one verse of it.

There is a little town not far from this spot,
where old Mattie Mason a Copperhead got.
She took it off Joe Akin, a Democrat boy,
and up jumped Ann and leaped for joy.
Lather and shave,
lather and shave,
Sizzle and burn.

When I was going to school that summer, all the Copperhead children were singing this song for my benefit. It fussed me a little, but still, I was rather proud of my grandmother.

Read more about Cyrus Wilson and his family at Pete Wilson's website.

research submitted by Pete Wilson



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