My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN BELL MASON. In the ranks of the substantial farmers of Greene County, this gentleman is worthy of prominent consideration, having by frugal living and prudent management acquired a fine property, which brings him a comfortable income. He is serving his second term as Justice of the Peace, having been first elected in 1884, and discharging the duties of the position with such ability and faithfulness as to ensure his re-election. He has also filled the office of Township Clerk for six years, besides serving as Assistant Assessor under John T. Hogue of Xenia, and as a Constable of this township.

Religiously, Mr. Mason affiliates with the Society of Friends, and in political matters, casts his ballot and influence in favor of the Republican party. He served as a musician during the late war on the Union side, enlisting May 1, 1864, in Company G, One hundred and Fifty-fourth Ohio Infantry, and by his inspiriting national ballads contributed to enthuse the soldiers.

The father of Mr. Mason, Joseph by name, was born in Columbiana, Hamilton County, Ohio, October 21, 1800, and was orphaned at the early age of four years. After that sad event had deprived him of his natural protectors, he came with his uncle, Joseph Chenoweth, to Waynesville. In the homestead established by Mr. Chenoweth the lad grew to a stalwart manhood, and then, embarking in life for himself, came to Bellbrook, and clerked in a store for Jeoffrey Truman. He had first entered the employ of Mr. Truman in Waynesville; but when the latter removed to Bellbrook, his clerk followed him. He was in the employ of Jerry Gest after his marriage until 1834, when he commenced operations as a farmer.

Joseph Mason, in 1836, located on a fifty-acre tract of land, where his son, John B. now resides. On this homestead, which is situated one-half mile south of Spring Valley, and which he embellished by modern improvements, he passed the remainder of his life and there died January 30, 1871. He held the office of Justice of the Peace to which he was elected in 1838, for a period of more than thirty years, and served as well as County Assessor two terms, and Town Clerk and Assessor. He was at one time Mayor of Bellbrook, and was a stanch Democrat, during his early years, but when President Jackson vetoed the National Bank bill, he turned over to the Whigs, and later entered the ranks as a strong and prominent Republican. He was an ardent supporter of the Lincoln administration.

Our subject was one of three children, but besides himself only one was reared to years of maturity, Marilla, who is the wife of Joseph Rust, of Dayton, Ohio. The mother, Mary Bell, was born August 25, 1808, in Lycoming County, Pa., to Stephen and Hannah (Scudder) Bell, natives respectively of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. His occupation was that of a millwright, and at an early day he came overland to the Buckeye State, thence down the Ohio River on a flatboat, and stopped temporarily at Xenia. About the year 1814 he located on a farm of ninety acres, and on it laid out the town of Bellbrook. He served in the War of 1812, but otherwise worked uninterruptedly at his trade and on his farm. Eleven children came to his wife and himself and were named respectively: John S., William, Charles, Aaron, Rebecca, (Mrs. A. Lehman) Mary, Naomia, (Mrs. Brandenburg), Permelia, who first married William Shoemaker and later became the wife of Morton Brown; Cassandra, who married J. P. Sanders; Benjamin, and Franklin J. Stephen Bell died in Springfield, this State, in 1852. His wife had departed this life in 1839, when sixty-three years old. The Bell family trace their ancestry back to Wales.

In the town of Bellbrook, which derived its name from his grandfather, John Bell Mason was born June 13, 1831, and was reared to man’s estate on the farm where he now resides. He attended the common school, and later was a student in the High School in Springfield. He passed three winters there, in the meantime devoting the summer season to farm work. After he left school, he engaged as a teacher for one term, and was finally graduated from the Dayton Commercial College April 20, 1853.

After leaving college, our subject began to clerk in a store in Spring Valley, and in June, 1854, went to Muscatine, Iowa. In that city he was married, April 22, 1855, to Miss Mary Jane, daughter of Joseph and Phoebe Jane (Wallis) Cook, who were natives of Washington and Cayuga County, N. Y. His occupation was that of a carpenter and farmer, and his death occurred in Iowa, December 18, 1874. All his children are now living, and are ten in number, five daughters and five sons. Below we give their names: Lydia, (Mrs. Herald) Stephen W., Mary J., Julia M., (Mrs. Hobert) John P. Joseph B., Sarah H., (Mrs. Seeker) George D., Frank S. and Clara B. (Mrs. Smith).

The Cook family settled at a very early period in New England, and Joseph B., was one of five who first located in Calhoun County, Mich., where he served as Treasurer, also Surveyor, and was one of the organizers of the county. Three of his sons served in the Civil War.

A family of children came to bless the union of our subject and his estimable wife, and they are recorded as follows: Marilla J., who became the wife of John T. Brown, of Centerville, Ohio; Lizzie B., the widow of Ephraim Hartsock, of Warren County; Joseph C., a resident of Montana; D. Mont and Frank E. at home. They rank among the first families of their community and are accorded the highest respect among their numerous circle of friends.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was James Mason who married Eleanor Chenoweth, a native of the Old Dominion. He had emigrated from Tennessee to Ohio, and his wedding was celebrated near Waynesville, the latter State. Five children came to bless the union, namely: Philip, Joseph, James, Sinia and Maria. They all married, and with the exception of James, who died when young, became the parents of families. The mother of our subject now lives with him. She has in her possession, a piece of calico purchased by her grandmother Scudder at seventy-five cents per yard.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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