Guide to the George Mason letters to John Augustine Washington III, October 25-November 2, 1859

George Mason letters to John Augustine Washington III C0315


Published by George Mason University Libraries

Contact Information:

Fenwick Library (2FL)

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444

USA

Phone: (703) 993-2220

Fax: (703) 993-8911

Email: speccoll@gmu.edu

URL: http://sca.gmu.edu

Descriptive Summary

Repository George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections Research Center
Creator Mason, George, 1797-1870
Title George Mason letters to John Augustine Washington III
Date October 25-November 2, 1859
Physical Characteristics 0.25 linear ft.
Abstract Two letters from George Mason (the grandson of George Mason IV through his son William) to John Augustine Washington III (great-grandnephew of George Washington) after John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry.
Collection Number C0315
Language English

Biographical note

George Mason (1797-1870) was the grandson of George Mason IV of Gunston Hall (author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and namesake of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA). He was the second son of William Mason, George Mason IV's fourth son, and was married to Virginia Mason. Many of the descendants of George Mason IV were plantation owners and slaveholders until after the American Civil War.

John Augustine Washington III (1821-1861) was the great-grandnephew of George Washington. He inherited Washington's Mount Vernon estate, and (as noted by Matthew Costello) was the last Washington to own the plantation. Washington III, a slaveholder, served in the Confederate Army in the Civil War and was killed in 1861 at the Battle of Cheat Mountain.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of two letters from George Mason to John Augustine Washington III. Both letters were written in the weeks after John Brown attempted to begin a slave insurrection at Harper's Ferry in what is now West Virginia. In the first letter, dated October 25, 1859, Mason is concerned about slaves and freed blacks in posession of guns in Fairfax County; he implores Washington to coordinate the seizure of these weapons using "a good and efficient patrol - all of native born men" raised specifically for the job. In the second letter, dated November 2, 1859, Mason suggests forming a Volunteer Company in the wake of John Brown's raid, and he inquires whether Upton Herbert, the Superintendent of Mount Vernon, would be willing to take command of it.

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Arrangement

The letters are arranged chronologically.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the George Mason letters to John Augustine Washington III must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

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Related Material

The Special Collections Research Center holds other collections from members of George Mason IV's family, including the Mason Family Manuscript Account Book, and documents from John M. Mason and Maynadier Mason in the Virginia historical documents collection.

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Index Terms

Persons:

Mason, George, 1797-1870
Washington, John Augustine, 1821-1861

Subjects:

Harper's Ferry (W. Va)--History--John Brown's Raid, 1859.
Militia.
Slavery--United States.

Document Types:

Letters.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

George Mason letter to John Augustine Washington III, C0315, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Acquisition Information

Both letters purchased separately by the Special Collections Research Center in 2017.

Processing Information

Processing of the November 2, 1859 letter and EAD markup completed by Elizabeth Beckman in June 2018. Elizabeth Beckman, the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian, decided to add the October 25, 1859 letter, purchased separately(but from the same dealer), to the collection in July 2018. EAD markup was revised by Elizabeth Beckman.

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Bibliography

Costello, Matthew. 'John Augustine Washington III.' George Washington's Mount Vernon, accessed June 22, 2018.

Michael Robert Patterson, 'Virginia Mason Mason,' Arlington National Cemetery Website, accessed June 22, 2018.

'Upton Herbert.' George Washington's Mount Vernon, accessed June 22, 2018.

'William Mason,' Gunston Hall, accessed June 22, 2018.

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Contents List

Box Folder
1 1 Letter from George Mason to John Augustine Washington III, October 25, 1859
2 Letter from George Mason to John Augustine Washington III, November 2, 1859
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