Stevens Thomson Mason Papers: 1827-1842
Summary Information
Title: Stevens Thomson Mason Papers
Creator: Mason, Stevens Thomson, 1811-1843
Inclusive dates: 1827-1842
Extent: 0.6 linear feet (in 2 boxes)
Abstract:
First governor of Michigan; correspondence, drafts of letters to Andrew Jackson and to Secretary of State John Forsyth; draft of his inaugural address, 1838 and of other messages to the Legislature; topics covered include the Toledo War and the dispute arising from his appointment as Secretary of the Michigan Territory.
Call number: 851813 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Michigan Historical Collections staff, 2004

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The major portion of the Mason papers came from Charles Hemans (donor no. 3848) and came to the library in 1961. Other materials came from Peter Bailey (donor no 1687) and Augustus Hendelman (donor no. 2823)

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Stevens Thomson Mason Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Stevens Thomson Mason was born in Virginia (October 27, 1811) and educated in Kentucky where his father had emigrated in 1812. In 1830, his father, John Mason, was appointed secretary of the Territory of Michigan by President Andrew Jackson. He resigned a year later and left for Texas and Mexico perhaps on a mission for the president. In his place, Jackson named the nineteen year old Stevens Mason to the vacant secretariat, taking his oath of office on July 25, 1831. As secretary Mason was also ex-officio governor during the absence of then Governor Porter. With Porter's death, July 6, 1834, Mason became acting governor. Here he led the movement for statehood and prosecuted the boundary dispute with Ohio. He was elected governor in his own right on November 3, 1835, serving two terms, leaving office on January 7, 1840. His administration was plagued by financial difficulties brought on by the Panic of 1837 bringing to a halt many internal improvements projects that had been anticipated. Mason did not run for a third term, instead retired from politics, moving to New York where he practiced law. He died January 4, 1843.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Mason papers include correspondence, drafts of letters to Andrew Jackson and to Secretary of State John Forsyth; draft of his inaugural address, 1838 and of other messages to the Legislature; topics covered include the Toledo War and the dispute arising from his appointment as Secretary of the Michigan Territory. The Mason papers have been arranged into three series: Correspondence (covering the years 1831-1842); Other papers; and Addresses and messages to the Legislature in the period of 1834 to 1840.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Indians of North America -- Michigan.
  • Michigan -- Boundaries -- Ohio.
  • Michigan -- History.
  • Ohio -- Boundaries -- Michigan.
  • Governors -- Michigan.
  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Dwellings.
  • Dwellings -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Sculpture.
  • Photographs.
  • Prints.
  • Mason, Stevens Thomson, 1811-1843.
  • University of Michigan. Library.
  • Mason, Emily Virginia.
  • Mason, Stevens Thomson, 1811-1843.
  • Wright, Dorothea Mason.
  • Cass, Lewis, 1782-1866.
  • Norvell, John, 1789-1850.
  • Owen, George W.
  • Vail, Aaron.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Correspondence [series]

(includes both originals and photostatic copies)

Box   1 Folder   1
August 1, 1831

(letter from Mason to Andrew Jackson referring to opposition to Mason's appointment as Secretary of Michigan Territory)

(original and typed copy)
 
1831
Box   1 Folder   2
Notice from the secretary of the Detroit Athenaeum, R.L. Rice, of a meeting to be held November 1, 1831 October, 1831 (photostat)
Box   1 Folder   2
Letter of I. Barnes to Mason December 20, 1831 (photostat)
Box   1 Folder   2
Stevens T. Mason to "The Senators of the U. States" concerning his appointment as Secretary of the Michigan Territory 1831 undated (3 pages (photostat))
 
1832-1834
Box   1 Folder   3
John Norvell to Stevens T. Mason, concerning Senate confirmation of Mason's appointment May 24, 1832 (photostat)
Box   1 Folder   3
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, referring to Indian uprisings in the Northwest May 31, 1832
Box   1 Folder   3
A[ustin] E. Wing to Stevens T. Mason, informing Mason of confirmation of his appointment as Secretary of Michigan Territory June 21, 1832 (photostat)
Box   1 Folder   3
Letter of Lewis Cass to Mason July 7, 1832

(brief letter)

Box   1 Folder   3
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, Washington October 26, 1832 (3 pages)

(marked "Private." The letter was written in response to letter of Mason's apparently complaining of delay re decision on federal payment of Michigan militia. Cass attempts to salve Mason's feelings and gives a word or two of personal advice)

Box   1 Folder   3
Lewis Cass to Governor George B. Porter "or in his absence Stevens T. Mason Secretary of Michigan," Washington October 26, 1832

(Written in reply to Porter's [probably] letter of the 24th. Cass says that the Michigan militia recently called up to meet Indian hostilities "will...be recognized as entitled to pay from the United States.")

Box   1 Folder   3
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, Washington October 20, 1834 (3 pages)

(marked "Private." The letter concerns payment of federal funds to Michigan and the appointment of Mr. Dickerson as factor in Green Bay)

Box   1 Folder   3
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, Washington November 4, 1834

(marked "Private." Interesting comments by Cass on President Andrew Jackson's plan to appoint a new governor in Michigan)

 
February-March 1835
Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to John Forsyth, United States Secretary of State, Detroit February 20, 1835 (9 pages)

(Letter concerns Michigan's boundary dispute with Ohio. It sets forth Michigan's claims against Ohio and warns of serious consequences from the actions of Ohio Governor Lucas)

Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to General Joseph Brown, Detroit February 28, 1835 (3 pages)

(Mason instructs Brown to be firm in his attitude toward inhabitants of the disputed territory.)

Box   1 Folder   4
Circular from the Executive office in Detroit March 2, 1835

(Orders to brigade commanders to prepare for service to Michigan under General Joseph Brown's command)

Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary John Forsyth, Detroit March 6, 1835 (2 pages)

(Mason notes the action of Ohio to extend jurisdiction over disputed territory and requests federal government's views on the dispute "before the parties in controversy shall proceed to extremities.")

Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to General Joseph W. Brown, Detroit March 17, 1835 (3 pages)

(In reply to Brown's letter, Mason urges caution and suggests strategy for dealing with Ohio's forthcoming attempt to exercise civil functions in the disputed territory. Mason suggests plan to arrest Ohio Governor Lucas after crossing into the disputed territory.)

Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to President Andrew Jackson, Detroit March 21, 1835 (11 pages)

(Mason asks the President to protect Michigan from "the encroachments and usurpations of a powerful neighboring state." He details the activities of Ohio and its governor in the controversy. Mason suggests that U.S. troops proceed to Toledo to keep the peace in that quarter.)

Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary John Forsyth, Detroit March 23, 1835 (4 pages)

(Letter written in reply to a letter of Forsyth's of March 14th. Mason regrets the President's failure to communicate his wishes (beyond urging forbearance) to Mason in the controversy with Ohio.)

Box   1 Folder   4
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary John Forsyth, Detroit March 27, 1835 (5 pages)

(Letter written in reply to a letter of the 17th from Forsyth. Mason assures Forsyth that Michigan will not hastily resort to force, but again urges that the President make known his views on the controversy.)

 
April 1-15, 1835
Box   1 Folder   5
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary Forsyth, Monroe April 2, 1835 (6 pages)

(Mason says public opinion in Michigan would not accept submission to Ohio, and that if Ohio employs force, Michigan might respond in kind.)

Box   1 Folder   5
Stevens T. Mason to Governor Lucas of Ohio, Monroe April 2, 1835 (7 pages)

(Mason warns Lucas that Michigan will not surrender any of the disputed territory "until the competent tribunal shall have decided the question in controversy," but expresses hope that the dispute will be settled to the satisfaction of both sides.)

Box   1 Folder   5
Richard Rush and Benjamin C. Howard to Mason, Monroe April 10, 1835 (5 pages (photostat))

(Letter urges moderation on the part of both Mason and the Ohio authorities with respect to border dispute)

Box   1 Folder   5
Stevens T. Mason to Mssrs. Howard and Rush, Commissioners of the President, Monroe April 10, 1835 (16 pages)

(Mason puts forth Michigan's side of the controversy in some detail, and again asserts Michigan's intention to defend its position.)

Box   1 Folder   5
Richard Rush and Benjamin C. Howard to Stevens T. Mason, Toledo April 14, 1835 (2 pages (photostat))

(Letter urging that force not be used by Mason against the Ohio authorities.)

 
April 16-30, 1835
Box   1 Folder   6
Stevens T. Mason to Mssrs. Howard and Rush, Detroit April 18, 1835 (5 pages)

(Mason regrets that he cannot more fully co-operate with the two United States Commissioners.)

Box   1 Folder   6
Stevens T. Mason to Lewis Cass, Tecumseh April 25, 1835 (3 pages)

(Mason informs Cass that Ohio has begun running its claimed boundary line, and he requests immediate federal action to protect "the territory and jurisdiction of the United States.")

Box   1 Folder   6
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary Forsyth, Detroit April 29, 1835 (4 pages)

(Mason urges the Federal government to cease acting merely as mediator and assert the sovereignty of the United States over the disputed territory.)

 
May-December 1835
Box   1 Folder   7
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, "Confidential," Washington May 1, 1835 (3 pages)

(Cass asks Mason to understand that as a member of the President's cabinet he cannot express his true sentiments as freely as he would like in regard to the dispute between Ohio and his own state of Michigan. He comments upon Jackson's fairness and says that Jackson will act with a "single eye to his duty.")

Box   1 Folder   7
Stevens T. Mason to Commissioners Rush and Howard, Monroe May 1, 1835 (2 pages)

(Mason expresses willingness of Michigan to cooperate with the proper courts in resolving the controversy with Ohio.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary Forsyth, Monroe May 2, 1835

(Mason says he is enclosing a copy of his letter to the Commissioners of May 1.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Stevens T. Mason to U.S. Commissioners, Monroe May 3, 1835

(Mason refuses to consider any solution "short of an exclusive jurisdiction" over the disputed territory.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, Washington May 9, 1835 (7 pages (original and typescript))

(Cass admits his own belief that Michigan's claims are correct, but expresses concern lest possible "civil war" erupt between Michigan and Ohio. He says Jackson hopes conflict will be resolved without his interference beyond "advice and remonstrance." Cass advises Mason to "temper the firmness of the community with a due show of moderation.")

Box   1 Folder   7
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary Forsyth, Detroit July 11, 1835 (6 pages)

(Mason says he has convened the Legislature for August 17th and will submit the compromise proposition to the members. Mason recites his determination to remember the rights of the "high minded and patriotic people" of Michigan.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, Detroit July 11, 1835 (2 pages)

(Cass offers to come to Monroe if Mason thinks it would be helpful in averting a "collision")

Box   1 Folder   7
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary Forsyth, Monroe July 17, 1835 (3 pages, 2 copies)

(Mason says he is enclosing affidavits pertaining to the wounding of the sheriff in Toledo and urges action lest delay result in further violence.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Extract of a letter from Secretary Forsyth to Lewis Cass, Washington July 22, 1835 (4 pages)

(Forsyth criticizes Mason for not accepting the recommendations of the President in bringing about a temporary arrangement pending final solution of the boundary dispute.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Lewis Cass to Stevens T. Mason, Washington August 11, 1835 (3 pages)

(Cass warns Mason that his failure to coincide with Jackson's policies may bring about his removal by the President.)

Box   1 Folder   7
Lewis Cass to Mason August 16, 1835 (typescript)
Box   1 Folder   7
Stevens T. Mason to Secretary Forsyth, Detroit August 21, 1835 (2 pages)

(Mason says Michigan will resist by force any attempt by Ohio to exercise jurisdiction.)

 
1838
Box   1 Folder   8
Unsigned note to Mason, dated New York City May 4, 1838 (2 pages (photostat))

(Refers to invitation of a "Judge McGruder" for Mason to visit him on his way through Baltimore.)

Box   1 Folder   8
Stevens T. Mason to Professor Asa Gray, New York October 31, 1838 (4 pages (photostat plus copy of original))

(Mason encloses a copy of a letter giving instructions as to the expenditure of funds ($6500) appropriated by the Legislature to Professor Gray for his trip to Europe.)

Box   1 Folder   8
Acting Secretary of State Aaron Vail to Stevens T. Mason, Washington November 5, 1838

(Marked "Confidential," Secretary Vail encloses a copy of letter from British minister to the United States to the State Department pertaining to threatened invasion of Canada by insurgents based in the United States. Secretary Vail calls attention to that portion of the letter warning of possible attack on state arsenals.)

 
1842
Box   1 Folder   9
[Firm of] Hale and Harding to Mason, Detroit March 23, 1842 (2 pages (photostat))

(Letter refers to lands owned by Col. George W. Owens and V. Ellsworth.)

Box   1 Folder   9
George W. Owens to Stevens T. Mason, Savannah May 4, 1842 (2 pages (photostat))

(Letter deals with personal financial matters.)

Box   1 Folder   9
I. Allen B. to Albert W. Parris, Lancaster, Wisconsin Territory June 14, 1842

(One page letter concerning land taxes.)

(photostat)
Box   1 Folder   9
Albert W. Parrish to Stevens T. Mason, Madison, Wisconsin Territory June 22, 1842

(Two page letter concerning land taxes.)

(photostat)
Box   1 Folder   9
R.W. Owens to Stevens T. Mason, Savannah July 27, 1842

(One page letter concerning land taxes.)

(photostat)
Box   1 Folder   9
Stevens T. Mason to Albert W. Parrish, New York City August 1, 1842

(One page letter concerning land taxes)

(photostat)
 
Undated
Box   1 Folder   10
Undated letter, 1836 or 1840 written in pencil by Mason to certain political leaders in Virginia concerning presidential contest between Harrison and Van Buren 1836-1840, Undated (9 pages)
 
Other papers [series]
Box   1 Folder   11
Notice of election to membership in Michigan Historical Society
Box   1 Folder   12
Essay "Sincerity" by Emily Mason (S. T. Mason's sister); also letter
Box   1 Folder   13
Unsigned draft of defense counsel's pleas before a court
Box   1 Folder   14
Miscellaneous papers
Box   1 Folder   15
Miscellaneous photostats
Box   1 Folder   16
Newspaper clippings
Box   1  
Photographs

Photographs in the Mason papers include prints (ca. 1880s) of a portrait of Mason's sister, Emily Virginia Mason, Mason's grave in New York City, and Mason's home in Detroit, Michigan; portrait of Mason's daughter, Dorothea Mason Wright; photograph of painting of Mason (ca. 1830s); and photographs of statue of Mason.

Box   2 Folder   17
"Artistides" to Augustus S. Porter, "Knight of Black Rock," or undated 1831, 1832 (11 pages)

(letter, very critical of Porter, refers to his "unmanly and disgraceful conduct in the affair with the editor of the Courier")

Box   2 Folder   18
Miscellaneous commissions signed by Mason; land patent and related documents 1800
 
Addresses and messages to the Legislature, etc. [series]
Box   2 Folder   19
To the Legislative Council November 19, 1834 (5 pages)

(re election of delegates to form a constitution for Michigan and the effect of such action upon the border dispute with Ohio.)

Box   2 Folder   20
Message to the Legislature February 1, 1836
Box   2 Folder   21
Inaugural address January 2, 1838

(2 drafts)

Box   2 Folder   22
Message to the Legislature March 8, 1838 (3 pages)

(Governor recommends a loan to the University of Michigan.)

Box   2 Folder   23
Message to the Senate March 22, 1838 (2 pages)

(Governor recommends creation of a state board of loan commissioners.)

Box   2 Folder   24
Annual message to the Legislature January 7, 1839
Box   2 Folder   25
Address to the "free and independent electors of the State of Michigan" circa 1840 (31 pages)

(Address presents Mason's [i.e. Democratic party's] point of view concerning recent Michigan politics.)

Box   2 Folder   26
Address to unidentified association regarding history of the northwest undated