The History of Taylor County: Chapter 279

Flag Day Is Observed

The Grand Lodge of Elks of the United States a purely American fraternal society with no ramifications in any other country in the world, in a spirit of American patriotism established Flag Day at the meeting of the Grand Lodge in session in 1902 and set aside June 14,1903 for the officers and members of all subordinate lodges to gather on that day and hold patriotic services in honor of the American emblem of freedom. In accordance with the instructions from the grand body the members of Grafton Lodge No. 308 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks convened in their lodge room in the Odd Fellows building on Sunday, June 14,1903 and with Charles H. Straub, exalted ruler, Charles A. Faust, esteemed leading knight, Sidney H. Sommerville, esteemed lecturing knight, Leo J. Rasche, esteemed loyal knight, Thomas E. Joyce, esquire, who building up the replica of the Liberty Bell with appropriate talks as the parts were formed into complete whole.


 William B. Cruise related the history of the flag from its beginning as it came from the hands pf the patriotic Betsey Ross to the present which was the most illuminating and of interest to many of the members present on the occasion of the first Flag Day service which has been religiously observed in all years since and had gained great interest in the open air meetings to which all are invited and at which noted speakers extoll the flag of our nation and all it represents.


At the first service in 1903, Mr. Charles Sanders, a member of the Adair, Gregg and Adair Theatrical company was present and led the members in singing the national anthem and other patriotic numbers.


Henson Mason a descendent of the pioneer settler Thomas T. Mason, who came into the wilderness of Western Virginia from New Hampshire in 1788 died at this home in Pruntytown June 3 ,1903. Henson, Mason’s father, Thomas N. Mason born in that part if Harrison that is now Taylor County in 1794 served the young American nation in the war of 1812. At the close of hostilities Thomas N. Mason returned to his wilderness home and married Lydia Goodwin. Henson Mason born in 1824 was the fourth child of this union. At an early age he apprenticed himself to learn the trade of the harness and saddlery business at Pruntytown and at the journeyman stage established his own shop in the village for fabricating horse trappings of which there was a constant demand prior to the advent of motor vehicles.


He came into political prominence when he was appointed “court cryer” for Taylor County under Sheriff Zackwill Cochran in 1858-1860. At the time of the relocation of  the seat of the courts came from Pruntytown to Grafton in 1878 he operated his harness shop at Pruntytown until April 9,1888. On that date he came to Grafton and established his shop in the old Bradshaw building on the site now covered by the First National Bank of Grafton. He retired from his business in 1894 when the Bradshaw building was being demolished in preparation for the erection of the bank, disposing of his business to his sons, A.J. and L.J. Mason who established themselves in the building at the junction of Main and St. Mary’s street. The brothers increased their line by the addition of buggies and wagons which were in active demand prior to the coming of automobiles and trucks which practically obliterated  the horse drawn vehicle and caused the harness and saddlery business once a flourishing business in the country and gave many skilled workmen employment to become one of the lost arts.


Twice married he was the father of ten children and after his retirement from active business life spent his remaining days at his home in Pruntytown where he passed away and laid among so many of the historic dead who were connected with the history of Taylor County. Of his issue Joseph Mason of Grafton and Pruntytown is the most widely known member and who, following the footsteps if his father, learned the harness and saddlers business successfully for a number of years.


He came into political prominence when announced his candidacy for the office of clerk of the circuit court of Taylor County saying in his announcement under date July 24, 1914:


“I hereby announce myself a candidate for the office of clerk of the circuit court of Taylor County, subject to the action of the Democratic nomination convention of August 8,1914. I solicit the support of all who desire a just and economical administration of that office, and if elected, I shall strive to merit the confidence reposed in me,” Joe Mason.


Without the blare of bands and the usual pyrotechnics that many candidates use in their efforts to elevate them to office he went quietly about his campaign and with the aid of his many Republican friends he was elected to the office in the county overwhelmingly Republican in politics and it can be said of him that he gave the office one of the best administrations ever known.


At the close of his term having vide for the coming years he spends his time partly at the home of his boyhood and partly in Grafton.


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