Daniel Webster Mason (1856-1934)
Lydia M. Fogg (1853-1920)


Daniel Webster Mason was born July 22, 1856 in Monroe, Maine. His family were some of the first settlers of this tiny town, a fact that was not lost on Daniel. Daniel was apparently quite proud of his lineage. Kind of makes me wish he was still around to help fill in the gaps! I seem to have a lot more information about Daniel than I do his wife Lydia. He was a farmer in Monroe, very active in local politics and a devout Baptist.

He owned the first Model T Ford in the area. One day, his grandson, Joe Bryan Kelley, completely disassembled the car causing a bit of disconsternation in the family. Can you imagine Daniel's reaction at seeing his car in pieces! He then proceeded to completely rebuild it. As the story goes, after this episode, Joe Bryan never found a machine he couldn't master.

On March 21, 1879, Daniel married Lydia M. Fogg in Bangor, ME. She was born April 13, 1853, the daughter of John Fogg and Esther Davis. Daniel and Lydia had three children:

Bessey E. Mason, born March 25, 1885, died abt. 1971

Janie Mason, born April 4, 1880, died January 21, 1889

Walter Lee Mason, born August 25, 1887, died January 15, 1946

Daniel farmed for many years in Monroe. But in 1914, he sold a farm he had purchased only three years earlier to his daughter Bessie and son-in-law Robert Kelley. He bought the farm for $1000.00 and then sold it to Robert and Bessie for the same price, which kind of leads us to believe that Robert may not have been able to swing the price on his own when he first decided to farm. Daniel helped them out by getting them started and then accepted payment when Robert and Bessie had the means to handle it.

Daniel apparently smoked a clay pipe almost continuously and is said to have carried with him a rather robust (and foul) aura of tobacco.

He was also a died-in-the-wool Democrat. His interest in politics was a mixture of passion and a little sleight of hand. He is said to have enjoyed throwing a wager or two on various elections and used to travel to Brooks, Maine to get the election returns from the telegraph. As is the case today, the town meeting was the first Monday in March. One year, a great storm prevented the outlying farmers from getting to the village for the Town Meeting. Daniel, and a few others, went by snowshoe to the village to force an adjournment for a week or two so that all could participate.

Apparently, in those days, there was a large box at the top of the columns on the ballot that voters could check off if they wanted to vote a straight ticket. The Republicans had supplied pencils with very hard lead to the polling places that would leave a noticeable crease on the back of the ballot. This enabled the Democrats to estimate the direction of the vote. Daniel and some of his friends responded by providing reliable Democrats with soft lead pencils and a hairpin. They could vote the straight Democratic ticket with the soft lead pencil and press the hairpin down on the Republican straight ticket box, leaving the tell-tale crease. The Republicans were misled into expecting a landslide. They got slaughtered!

I'm going to quote here from a story I received from one of Daniel's great grandsons, Rick Kelley. He writes, "Sunday was quite a day. All the farmers broke out their straight razors and did their best to hack off a 6-day growth of beard, with various degrees of carnage. [My] Dad recalls sitting in church and surveying the bloody faces of his neighbors to see who had done the most damage to themselves." What a fun story. If I was a young boy and saw all that, I'd dread the day I had to start shaving!!

Daniel lived with Bessie and Robert Kelley late in life. He is said to have lost a leg in the years prior to his death, although I do not know why. Lydia died February 6, 1920. Daniel lived another 14 years before passing away on Nov. 24, 1934. They are buried in Mount Rest Cemetery in Monroe, along with their little daughter Janie.



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