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Stevens Thomson Mason

Gov. Stevens Thomson Mason

  • January 26, 1837 - January 7, 1840
  • Democratic
  • October 27, 1811
  • January 4, 1843
  • Virginia
  • Transylvania University
  • Married Julia Elizabeth Phelps; three children


STEVENS T. MASON, the first governor of Michigan, was born in Loudoun County, Virginia on October 27, 1811. His early education was attained in the schools of Kentucky, and later at Transylvania University, however he never graduated. Mason entered politics at the age of nineteen, serving as the secretary of the Michigan Territory, a position from which he also served frequently as acting governor. In October 1835, Michigan voters approved a state constitution, however, Michigan was not admitted to the Union until January 26, 1837, when a boundary dispute with Ohio was finally settled. Mason was first elected to the governor’s office in 1835, and won reelection to a second term after the state was admitted to the Union in 1837. During his tenure, a state wide educational system was advocated for; land was secured for the future site of the University of Michigan; and the state’s first geologist was named. Also, internal improvements were halted when the state’s economic conditions deteriorated due to the Panic of 1837. After completing his gubernatorial term on January 7, 1840, Mason retired from political life. He later practiced law in New York City. Governor Stevens T. Mason passed away on January 4, 1843, and was buried in the New York Marble Cemetery in New York, N.Y. His final resting place was at the Capitol Park in Detroit, Michigan.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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