Judge Robert L. Mason

Judge Robert L Mason, one of the best-known and most highly-esteemed lawyers in central Indiana, who has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Greenfield, this county, for many years, is a native Hoosier, having been born on a farm on the White River, north of Brownsville, in Union County, this state, November 15, 1859, son of John K. and Harriet (Lee) Mason, the former a native of Scotland and the latter of Ohio.

John K. Mason was born in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1827, son of Robert and Rebecca Mason, who came to this country when their son was still a lad, settling on a farm in the Brownsville neighborhood, in Union County, Indiana, where they spent the remainder of their lives, for years honorable and respected residents of that community. On the farm in the hills of Union County John K. Mason grew to manhood. Upon completing his schooling, he began to teach school and was thus engaged for a number of years, teaching the winter seasons and farming during the summer. He bought a farm in Union country and married Harriet Lee, of the neighboring county of Fayette, who was born in Butler County, Ohio, and who had moved with her parents when a girl to Fayette County, this state, where she lived on the home farm until her marriage with Mr. Mason. Some years after his marriage John K. Mason and his family moved to Oxford, Butler County, Ohio, in the neighborhood of which city he was engaged in farming until his death in 1880, he then being fifty-three years of age. He was a stanch Democrat and during his residence in Union county had served for some years as trustee of his township. Upon moving to Ohio he took an equally active part in political affairs and for some time served as justice of the peace. He was a Mason and took much interest in the affairs of that ancient order. His widow survived him for many years, her death occurring on March 23, 1906, she then being seventy-five years of age. They were the parents of four children, namely: Lucullus W., of Oxford, Ohio; Robert L., the immediate subject of this biographical sketch; Jennie, who married Charles Rout, of Anderson, this state, who died in April, 1915, and Rosco F., who died in 1890.

Robert L. Mason was reared on the paternal farm in the neighborhood of Oxford, Ohio, growing up there amid the most excellent social conditions. Upon the completion of his course in the common schools he began teaching school in Union County, this state, and was thus engaged for five years, in the meantime pursuing his studies in Miami University at Oxford, and was graduated from that excellent old institution in 1882, after which he entered the university at Valparasio, this state, and was graduated from the law department of that institution in the spring of 1886. Thus admirably equipped for the practice of the profession to which he had devoted his talents, Mr. Mason opened an office at Kansas City, Missouri, and was engaged in practice in that city until 1894, in the spring of which year he located at Greenfield, this county, forming in that city a partnership for the practice of law with Uriah S. Jackson, which mutually agreeable partnership continued until Mr. Mason's election to the bench of the Hancock circuit court in 1906. Upon the completion of his six-year term in that honorable position, Judge Mason moved to San Diego, California, in the fall of 1912, with the expectation of making his permanent home in that city, but after a nine-months' residence there felt the urge of all the old agreeable associations at Greenfield so strongly that he returned to the latter city and in 1913 resumed his former practice there and has been thus engaged ever since, quite content, after his Western experience, to make Indiana his home.

On June 15, 1896, Robert L. Mason was united in marriage to Lillie M. Dennis, who was born in Hancock County on December 3, 1872, daughter of Augustus and Caroline (Tyner) Dennis, prominent residents of this county, the former a native of the Old Dominion state and latter a native of this county, she having had the distinction of being the first white child born within the precincts of the city of Greenfield, the pioneer home of the Tyners at that time having been on the present site of the I.O.O.F. hall in that city. August Dennis was born in Virginia in 1829 and when fourteen years old came with his parents to Indiana, the family settling in this county, and he spent the remainder of his life, a well-known and well-to-do farmer, one of the county's most substantial and influential citizens. He was a Democrat and had served the public very efficiently in the capacity of county commissioner and in minor offices. He and his wife were members of the Baptist church and were among the leaders in good works hereabout. Mrs. Dennis was the daughter of Lewis and Eliza Tyner, also prominent in the earlier life of this county, Lewis Tyner having been a former clerk of the court of Hancock county for some years, and his father, Solomon Tyner, the first school teacher in this county, a man of large influence herabout in pioneer days. Augustus Dennis died on August 23, 1915. His wife had long preceded him to the grave, her death having occurred on February 20, 1896, she then being sixty-four years of age. They were the parents of seven children, of whom four grew to maturity, as follows: Mary, who married J. W. Porter, a well-known farmer in Brandywine township, this county, and died on November 13 1915, had three children, Carrie, Harry A. and Fay Tyner; Allie, who married Elliot Marlow, and died in 1894, leaving one child, a son, Ray Tyner, now deceased; Etta, who married William Porter, a well-known farmer of Blue River township, this county, ahe has three children, Grace, Guy and Golden, and Lillie, who was graduated from the Greenfield high school with class honors in 1889, after which she took a course in a business college at Indianapolis. Instead of pursuing the career she had planned she then was called by her duty to her invalid sister, Mrs. Marlow, and her invalid mother and was a devoted attendant to both for five years, her marriage to Judge Mason following in June after the death of her mother in February, 1896/

To Robert L. and Lillie M. (Dennis) Mason three children have been born, Forest Lillie, born on November 28, 1897, who was graduated from the Greenfield high school with the highest number of credits ever given a pupil of that school up to that date and is now attending DePauw University; Robert L., Jr., July 8, 1899, who is now a student in the high school, and Kenneth Tyner, October 4, 1901, who is a high school student. Judge and Mrs. Mason and children are members of the Bradley Methodist Episcopal church, the judge being a member of the board of trustees of the same, and are interested in all good works hereabout, being held in the highest regard throughout the entire community. Judge Mason is a Democrat and besides having been honored by the people of this county by the election to the bench of the Hancock circuit court has served as county attorney and as city attorney at various times. He is one of the directors of the bank at Mohawk, this county, and is regarded as one of Hancock county's most substantial and influential citizens. In his fraternal relations Judge Mason is affiliated with the Masons, the Knights of Pythias and the Improved Order of Red Men and takes an active part in the affairs of the local lodges of these several orders.

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 819-822.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 11, 2001.

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