Milton M. Mason, a retired capitalist of Emporia, Kan., represents that type of sturdy American manhood which in the last half century has so largely aided in the development of the great West and its resources. Judge Mason is a native of Otsego county, New York, where he was born to his parentsDarius B. and Hariette (Starr) MasonMarch 26, 1831. Darius B. Mason, who was born in New Lebanon, Mass., served for a short period in the war of 1812 and began his business career when a young man as a merchant and farmer in Otsego county, New York. From there he removed to Wisconsin and was there engaged in farming and merchandising until his subsequent removal to Mason City, Ia., in 1852. There was no settlement there at that time, however, and the town which was later located there was named in his honor. He took an active part in the material and civic development of that newly opened section of the state and was elected judge of the court, a position which opened a period of forty-two years of continuous service in official duties. His death, at Charles City, Ia., in his ninety-fifth year, closed a long, useful and honorable life. He had been very successful during his business career, his activities in Iowa having been identified with the railroad business, and he had accumulated a large and valuable estate. His father was a native of Massachusetts and was of Scotch descent, the American branch of the Mason family having originated in Scotland. The maternal grandfather of our subject was Ira S. Starr, who was born in Connecticut, but removed to Wisconsin, in which state he resided and engaged in farming until his death.
Milton M. Mason was reared principally in Walworth county, Wisconsin, where he received a common school education. He afterwards studied law, however. In 1852 he went to California, where for nearly twenty years he was engaged in mining. He was subsequently similarly engaged in Nevada, where, about 1869, he also served one term as sheriff of White Pine county, which had just been organized. He also served in the Piute Indian war. In 1872 he removed to Emporia, Kan., where he engaged extensively in farming and in the cattle business, and now has extensive realty holdings, his farms in Kansas aggregating 1,964 acres of valuable land. Business activity, with strict business integrity, has been the keynote of Judge Mason's career, and during the past forty years Lyon county has known no more enterprising citizen than he, where not only his own business interests have received his attention, but every laudable movement for the general welfare of its citizens has received his support. Politically he is a Republican and was elected probate judge of Lyon county in 1898, to which office he was reëlected in 1900.
Judge Mason was married, in 1872, to Miss Lydia M. Gray, daughter of Isaac H. Gray, who was born in Massachusetts, but came westward to Michigan in an early day, and from thence removed to Springfield, Ill., where he spent the remainder of his life. He was engaged in the real estate business and in the hotel business in Springfield, and for several years Abraham Lincoln served as his attorney. Both Judge and Mrs. Mason are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Emporia, and both are numbered among the most respected citizens of the city. They have no living children, but a son, Frank Gray Mason, died at the age of twenty-seven years. He gave promise of a successful professional career and useful life. He was a graduate of the College of Emporia and the law department of the University of Michigan, had practiced law a short time at Detroit, Mich., and had returned to Emporia, where he was practicing when he died of heart failure. His death was a severe blow to his parentsan irretrievable loss. He was an ardent friend of the College of Emporia, and after his death his father became a generous supporter of the institution, to which he gave lands valued at $18,000, a gift which retained the College at Emporia and enabled its management to erect what is known as the Frank Gray Gymnasium, named by the board of trustees in honor of the lamented son of Mr. Mason, who was afterward elected a member of the board of trustees, a position he now holds.Pages 279-280 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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