John Mason was born into slavery in Tennessee in the 1830s and went to Missouri sometime before 1858. Here, he began a relationship with Jane Young. The couple had two sons together before emancipation in Missouri in 1865. John and Jane were legally married in Greene County on August 20, 1865. In 1870 John Mason was living and working as a farm laborer in Polk Township, Dade County, Missouri. He owned no land but claimed personal estate value of $130. By 1880, John had moved to the Ash Grove vicinity, where he was still engaged in farming, according to the U.S. census. John passed away on September 24, 1882 (Russel 2012).
Grave Marker: John Mason's grave marker is a tablet style limestone monument in a limestone base. The text and an image of two clasped hands are located on the west face of the monument. The text includes embossed words ("John Mason") and engraved sections (all other text). The image is in relief in a recessed area above the text. Excluding the base, the monument is 24 x 11 x 2 inches in size. The base is 7 x 16 x 10 inches in size.
West face of marker
South side of marker
East face of marker
Text on west face of marker: JOHN MASON Died Sept. 24. 1888. AGED 51 YEARS
Image and text on west face of marker
Berry Family, Ash Grove, MO; Ozarks Afro-American Heritage Museum; Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, College of Humanities and Public Affairs, Missouri State University