Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert Wash to Thomas Jefferson, 23 July 1811

From Robert Wash

St Louis July 23ird 1811.

Dr Sir

Mr John T Mason, intends to pass thro’ your part of the Country on his return to Loudon; and having expressed1 a desire to see Monticello &C, I have ventured to give him a pretext for calling. Should he deliver the Nos. of the Louisiana Gazette in person, you will be able to obtain from conversations with him, information more useful, interesting & authentic than they can possibly afford.

Mr Mason, is the son of Stephen Thompson Mason of Virg. deceased, & the brother-in-law of Governor Howard. From him, you may learn the News, condition &C of the Territory in detail.

Beleive me with sincere esteem yr &C

R: Wash

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 18 Sept. 1811 and so recorded in SJL.

John Thomson Mason (1787–1850), attorney, was born in Loudoun County and probably attended the College of William and Mary in about 1808. He practiced law in Leesburg before moving his family to Kentucky around 1812. On the recommendation of Henry Clay, President James Monroe appointed Mason federal marshal for the Kentucky district in 1817, and he served in that capacity until 1823. Having fallen on hard times, he accepted Andrew Jackson’s nomination as secretary of Michigan Territory in 1830. Mason relinquished this post the following year to become an agent of the Galveston Bay and Texas Land Company. In 1836 he strongly supported the successful Texan bid for independence from Mexico. Although Mason spent much of the final decade of his life in New York City, he returned to Texas on a number of occasions and died in Galveston (Pamela C. Copeland and Richard K. Macmaster, The Five George Masons [1975], genealogical table opp. p. 268; William and Mary Provisional List description begins A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. From 1693 to 1888 [1941] description ends , 27; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends , 6:375; Mason to TJ, 4 May 1823; Clay, Papers description begins James F. Hopkins and others, eds., The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959–1992, 11 vols. description ends , 2:351; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 3:96, 98, 318, 4:100, 178 [12, 17 Dec. 1817, 3 Jan. 1823, 8 May 1830, 7 Dec. 1831]; Kate Mason Rowland, “General John Thompson Mason: An Early Friend of Texas,” Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 11 [1908]: 163–98; Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 3 May 1850).

1Manuscript: “expessed.”

Index Entries

  • Howard, Benjamin; governor of La. Territory search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Correspondence; letters of introduction to search
  • Mason, John Thomson (1787–1850); identified search
  • Mason, John Thomson (1787–1850); letter of introduction for, from R. Wash search
  • Mason, Stevens Thomson; family of search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); Visitors to; Mason, John Thomson search
  • newspapers; Saint Louis Louisiana Gazette search
  • Wash, Robert; introduces J. T. Mason search
  • Wash, Robert; letters from search