(1725–1792), American farmer and statesman. The eldest son of a prosperous Virginia tobacco planter, Mason was nine years old when his father drowned in a boating accident. Thrust into early maturity, Mason quickly learned the lessons taught by his Scottish tutors. He developed into a shrewd businessman, shipping crops to England from a private wharf on the Potomac. Unlike many planters, whose expenses often outran their income, Mason accumulated wealth as he continued to read the classics and built up a sizable library. An advantageous marriage, along with his business acumen, enabled him to amass a comfortable fortune and to build (1755–1758) an elegant home that he named Gunston Hall, an architectural gem that still stands.
From Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945).