Musician and Music Teacher, Orson Lafayette Mason (1849-1923): Descendant of Capt. Hugh Mason in Cheshire County NH

Orson Lafayette Mason, music teacher of Cheshire County NH

Orson Lafayette Mason, music teacher of Cheshire County NH

Orson Lafayette Mason‘s very interesting face looks out from a scratched tintype photograph that I purchased on a popular auction site. He wears a stylish hat, and his mutton chop sideburns add to the impressive look.

He would have appeared very “dapper” during his time.  This photograph at some point belonged to one of his grand children (based on the “Grandpa Mason” written in pencil at the top).  He had progeny, but it is impossible to determine its origin (as you will see from his genealogy later on.

Orson was born in 1849, just before the Civil War in the still small town of Dublin, New Hampshire. His father was a brick mason which must have kept him busy with all the mill buildings being built in this area. 

Old postcard showing main street of Dublin NH

Old postcard showing main street of Dublin NH

Orson was a talented man and had several occupations.  He had started off working in the 1870s making chairs.  By 1880 he was working in a woolen mill.  By 1895 his career had taken a dramatic shift, and he was a full-time music teacher.  He continued with this profession for the rest of his life.  In 1915 he also sold pianos.

From various sources I’ve learned that he not only could play the piano, but that he taught voice (singing) and also composed music.  Two of his sons followed his footsteps–one becoming a musician and a second owning a music store.

Orson Lafayette Mason was a direct descendant of Capt. Hugh Mason of Watertown, MA as shown in the genealogy below.  My intent here, is not to list ALL of the Mason line in New Hampshire, just the one that leads to Orson and his family.

==Genealogy of Capt. Hugh Mason of Watertown MA
to Orson L. Mason of Dublin NH ==

Capt Hugh Mason of Watertown MA. He d. 10 Oct 1678. He m. Hester Welles, daughter of Thomas & Helen (Siday) Welles of Malden, England. She d. 21 May 1692. Hugh Mason, tanner, aged 28 with his wife, Hester, aged 22, came to New England in the spring of 1634 from Ipswich co. Suffolk on the Francis and settled in Watertown MA. He was admitted freeman 4 March 1634/5, held various offices including that of selectman, was a deputy to the General Court for ten years, and captain from 1652 until his death. SEE this history for more details.
Children of Capt. Hugh & Hester (Welles) Mason:
1. Hannah Mason, b. 23, 7, 1636; m. 17, 8, 1653 Josiah Brooks of Concord. Had issue.
2. Elisabeth Mason, b. 3, 7, 1638, probably died young.
3. Ruth Mason, b. 17, 10, 1640, d. Dec 17, 1640
4. Mary Mason, b. 18, 10, 1640; m. 20 May 1668, Rev. Joseph Estabrook of Concord MA, lived at Boston.
5. John Mason, b. 1 Jan 1644; m. Elizabeth Hammond
6. +Joseph Mason, b. 10 Aug 1646; m. Mary Fiske
7. Daniel Mason, b. 19 Feb 1648; graudated Harvard college; physician.
8. Sarah Mason, b. 25 Sep 1651; m. 1668 Capt. Andrew Gardner of Muddy River (now Brookline) MA. They had at least 2 children [Gardner]: Esther who m. John Willis, and Anthony who d. 1704.

Joseph Mason, b. 10 June 1646 Watertown MA, d. 22 July 1702. a tanner, lived on the homestead in Watertown MA. He m. 5 Feb 1683-4 Mary Fiske, daughter of John & Sarah (Wyeth) Fiske. She b. 5 July 1661, d. 6 Jan 1723-4, ae 62-1/2. Admitted to the church 1687. He left a will dated 8 July 1702. They had 3 daughters and one son. [see page 26, Genealogy and history; the family of Hugh Mason, William Mason and allied families]
Children of Joseph & Mary (Fiske) Mason:
1. Mary Mason, b. 22 May 1684; m. Thomas Learned
2. Esther Mason, b. 8 July 1686, m. 10 Nov 1737 Capt. Joseph Coolidge as his 2nd wife. She m2) 1750 Edward Johnson of Woburn MA
3. +Joseph Mason, b. 2 Oct 1688 [6]
4. Sarah Mason, b. 17 Nov 1691; m1) 1709 Thomas Chamberlain; m2d) John Bond of Watertown MA

Joseph Mason, son of Joseph & Mary (Fiske) Mason, b. 2 Oct 1688 Watertown MA, d. 6 July 1755; went to Boston MA before the age of 21, where he lived until 1714, when he returned to the homestead in Watertown MA. He carried on the tanning business, and was a deacon of the church., representative of the town, and Justice of the Peace, in addition to other town offices. He m. 14 Sep 1710 to Mary Monck, of South Precinct of Dorchester [now Stoughton. MA[, daughter of Elias Monck. She d. 22 April 1763, age 72. They had 6 sons and 6 daughters, all of whom married. They were buried in the Watertown burying ground.
Children of Joseph & Mary (Monck) Mason:
1. Mary Mason, b. 23 Oct 1711 Boston MA; m1) 1737 Ebenezer Hovey of Cambridge; m2) 1750 to Capt. Caleb Fuller.
2. Joseph Mason, b. 9 Oct 1713; m. Grace Bond
3. Abigail Mason, b. 10 Oct 1715 Watertown MA; m. 1737 Thomas Bisco
4. +Benjamin Mason, b. 14 July 1717 at Watertown MA [15]
5. Elizabeth Mason, b. 3 Feb 1718/19 at Watertown MA; m. 1739 Nathaniel Perry of Sherborn MA
6. Nathaniel Mason, b. 14 June 1721 Watertown MA; m1) Elizabeth Stone; m2) Marthy Clark; m3) Rebecca Fillebrown
7. Elias Mason, b. 24 Aug 1723 Watertown MA; m. Lydia Brown
8. Esther Mason, b. 14 Nov 1725 Watertown MA; m. 1749/50 Jonathan Brown
9. Lydia Mason, b. 6 Nov 1727 Watertown MA; m. 1747 Micah Whitney
10. Susanna Mason, b. 22 Sep 1729; m 1755 Samuel Soden
11. Ebenezer Mason b 1 March 1731/32; m. Elizabeth Bright
12. Josiah Mason, b. 3 Oct 1734; m. Anna Livermore

Benjamin Mason, son of Joseph & Mary (Monck) Mason, b. 14 July 1717 at Watertown MA, died 5 July 1801 in Dublin NH. He m. 28 Sep 1741 to Martha Fairbanks of Sherborn. She d. 4 Feb 1815 in Sullivan NH. About 1765 he removed to Dublin New Hampshire, settling on lot 14, range 9. At first he built a plank house on the top of the hill. He was a master carpenter, and framed many of the houses erected in his neighborhood in his day. At “raisings” he was distinguished for his agility, fearlessness and self-possession. He was selectman in 1771. [SEE History of Dublin NH, page 369]
Children of Benjamin & Martha (Fairbanks) Mason:
1. Betty Mason, b. 15 Jan 1741-42, d. 1767; m. in Sherborn, Middlesex MA on 2 Dec 1762 to Micah Leland. Children [LELAND]: includes Patty, Jeremiah and Micah.
2. Benjamin Mason, died young.
3. Thaddeus Mason, b. 4 July 1746; m. June 1768 Sarah Morse, daughter of Thomas Morse. Had eleven children.
4. +Joseph Mason, b. 1748
5. Abigail Mason, b. 8 April 1752; m. June 1768 Reuben Morse, Esq. son of Capt. Thomas Morse
6. Martha Mason, b. 1755, died young
7. Benjamin Mason, b. 1758, died young
8. Benjamin Mason, b. 28 May 1760, d. 16 May 1840; m. 27 Jan 1783 Phebe Norcross, daughter of Asa. Had several children.
9. Bela Mason, b. 1 Oct 1764, d 6 Jan 1841; m. 12 May 1785 Sally Norcross. Had several children.

Ensign Joseph Mason, son of Benjamin & Martha (Fairbanks) Mason, b 1748, died, killed by the falling of a tree on 11 March 1806. He married 9 Nov 1769 in Sherborn MA to Anne Prentiss/Prentice of Sherborn MA. She d. 1822. [see History of Dublin NH]. They are buried in East Cemetery, Marlborough NH.
Children of Joseph & Anne (Prentiss) Mason:
1. +Capt. Samuel Mason, b. 29 March 1771
2. Hepzibah Mason, b. 2 Dec 1773; m. 9 Nov 1794 Philip Cummings of Peterborough NH; removed to the state of New York.
3. child, died in infancy
4. Nathaniel Mason, b. 8 Feb 1776 m. 16 July 1800 to Sally Stone of Fitzwilliam NH, resided Sullivan NH. Had children: Eliza Ann, Jesse, Sarah, Lyman, Elizabeth Valentine, Nathaniel, Adeline, Hepzibah Cummings, Nathaniel Prentiss, Angelina, Alvina, Nancy Maria, and Lorenzo Walker.
5. Patty Mason, b. 20 Dec 1777; m. 25 Oct 1795 Ephraim Adams of Sullivan NH; removed to New York state.
6. Nancy Mason, b 27 October 1779; m. 16 June 1807 Elijah Willard Jr., removed to Wheelock VT.
7. Joseph Mason, b. 3 Dec 1781; m. 5 June 1804 to Arethusa French of Marlborough NH. They resided in Sullivan NH. Children: Alonzo, Ashley, Sylvester, Ruth.
8. Hannah Mason, b. 15 Oct 1783; not married
9. Sally Mason, b. 9 July 1787; m. 6 Jan 1803 Cyrus Wakefield. She m2) 17 Oct 1811 Josiah Woodward of Roxbury NH, and had 4 sons and one daughter.
10. Mary “Polly” Mason, b. 3 Dec 1789 in Dublin NH; m. 24 March 1809 in Sullivan NH to Oliver Brown. At least 2 children [BROWN]: Alonzo Oliver and Julia M.

Capt. Samuel Mason, son of Joseph & Anne (Prentiss) Mason, b. 29 March 1771. He m. 15 Oct 1795 in Dublin, Cheshire Co. NH to Mary Willard, daughter of Rev. Elijah Willard. He died 2o0 October 1822 “of a fever of which most of the family were sick, and two of his daughters died soon after his decease.” They are buried in East Cemetery, Marlborough, NH.
Children of Capt. Samuel & Mary (Willard) Mason:
1. +Samuel Mason Jr., b 4 Nov 1796 in Dublin NH
2. Martin Mason, b. 6 Sep 1798, d. 7 July 1800
3. Charles Mason, b. 10 Sep 1800, m. 20 Jan 1824 Martha Carlton. Had children.
4. Mary Mason, b. 13 Dec 1802; m. 3 June 1823 Ira Smith, son of Abner Smith
5. Elijah Willard Mason, b. 29 Dec 1804., d. 15 June 1816
6. Rachel Mason, b. 10 April 1807, d. Nov 1822
7. Harriet Mason, b. 11 Aug 1809, d. Nov 1822
8. Rebecca Mason, b. 12 March 1812, m. 4 April 1833 Edward Grant of Kennebunk Maine, had 6 sons and one daughter
9. Martha Mason, b. 24 June 1814; m. 3 April 1833 Josiah H. Knight
10. Merrill Mason, b. 9 Sep 1816; m. 13 April 1842 Mary Eliza Russell of Marlborough, had 3 children.
11. Ursula Mason, b. 5 Jan 1820, m. 16 March 1837 Lyman Russell
12. Anna Mason, b 5 April 1822; m. 31 Oct 1839 James L. Russell

Samuel Mason, Jr., son of Capt. Samuel & Mary (Willard) Mason, b. 4 Nov 1796 in Dublin, Cheshire Co. NH, d. 2 Sep 1862; he married 26 November 1818 to to Anna Kendall, daughter of Joel Kendall. She was b. 18 Aug 1799 and d. 10 Oct 1878. [SEE History of Dublin NH, by Levi W. Leonard & Charles Mason]
Children of Samuel & Anna (Kendall) Mason:
1. Samuel Kendall Mason, b. 18 Aug 1819; m. 13 Feb 1843 Maria Antoinette Whittemore of Pepperell MA; resided Boston.
2. +Stephen Spaulding “Stearns” Mason, b. 8 June 1821 Dublin NH
3. Almira Mason, b. 8 Sep 1823; m. 13 Nov 1842 Ebenezer Russell of Marlborough NH, had several children.
4. Elijah Mason, b. 23 Nov 1825
5. George Washington Mason, b. 13 Nov 1828
6. Mary Ann Mason, b. 24 March 1831
7. Joel Kendall Mason, b. 19 April 1835
8. James Appleton Mason, b. 2 Sep 1839

Stephen Spaulding Mason, son of Samuel & Anna (Kendall) Mason b. 8 June 1821 Dublin NH, d. 16 Dec 1878 in Marlborough NH; m. 20 Sep 1846 to Lucy Ann McCollester/Collister, dau of Charles & Lucy Hale (White) McCollester She was b. 22 Sep 1826 in Marlborough NH and d. 13 Jan 1875 in Marlborough NH. [See History of Dublin NH]. Brick Mason.
1870 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Marlborough
S. Spaulding Mason 48 Brick Mason 800/100 NH
Lucy A. Mason 43 keeping house NH
Hartley G. Mason 22 day laborer NH
Orson L. Mason 20 at work in blanket mill NH
Orren L. Mason 20 at work in blanket mill NH
Ella E. Mason 18 at work in blanket mill NH
Lettie A. Mason 16 at work in blanket mill NH
Willie F. Mason 14 at work in blanket mill NH
Eddy C. Mason 12 at home NH
Myrtie E. Mason 10 NH
Orley S. Mason 8 NH
Fred S. Mason 5 NH
Bertie C. Mason 2 NH
Children of Stephen S. & Lucy (McCollester/Collister) Mason:
1. Hartley Day Mason, b 23 July 1847 NH, d. 11 May 1903 in Keene NH; m. Eliza Bean; m2) 17 April 1886 in NH to Lizzie B. Quinn, dau of John Mclear & Mary.
2. +Orson L. Mason, b. 1 August 1849 Dublin NH (twin)
3. Orren/Orin L. Mason, b. 1 August 1849 Dublin NH (twin), d. 28 Dec 1875 in Marlborough NH, aged 26 years; m. Susan M. Palmer
4. Ella E. “Nellie” Mason, b. 1 August 1851 NH; m. 25 October 1871 in Keene NH to William H. Reyoum, son of Peter & Phoebe.
5. Lettie A. Mason, b. 29 Aug 1853 NH; m. Edwin Hall
6. Willie S. Mason, b. 1 Dec 1855 Dublin NH; d. 20 Oct 1870 Marlborough NH
7. Eddy C. “Eddie” Mason, b 23 Feb 1858 Dublin NH; m. 20 June 1881 in Marlborough NH to Hattie D. Dexter, daughter of Deming S. & Jerusha (Humphrey) Dexter
8. Myrtie E. Mason, b 23 Aug 1860 NH
9. Orley/Orlie Stephen Mason, b. 29 October 1862 W. Harrisville NH, d. 13 January 1925 in Keene NH; m. 15 June 1887 in Winchester NH to Alice M. Clark, daughter of Park B. & Francilea R. Clark.
10. Fred S. Mason, b. 15 Feb 1865 Dublin NH; d. 6 Dec 1930 Concord NH; he m. 29 August 1889 in Nashua NH to Berthia Prescott, daughter of Nathan & Lucy Ann Prescott
11. Bert Collistor “Bertie” Mason, b. 8 July 1867 NH, d. 18 April 1948 in Claremont NH; m. 3 March 1892 in Keene NH to Edith G. Hammond, dau of Lowell W. & Mary (Fairbanks) Hammond. She was b. May 1871 in NH. In 1900 living Fitchburg MA, piano salesman, in 1910 in Rockingham, Windham Co. VT; later resided Claremont NH, the proprietor of a music store. They had 2 children, Vera E. (b Dec 1892) and Paul O (b Aug 1897).

Orson Lafayette Mason [see photograph at top of page], son of Stephen S. & Lucy (McCollester) Mason, b. 1 August 1849 in Dublin NH, d. 2 Feb 1923 in Keene, Cheshire Co. NH. Buried Marlborough NH. He married Martha Adams F. Starkey, daughter of Isaac & Fannie C. (Hemmenway) Starkey. She b 5 May 1853 NH in Marlborough NH and d. 24 April 1920 in Keene, Cheshire Co. NH. The History of Dublin NH (page 305) recalls Orson L. Mason as being one of the teachers of singing in town. He also composed original music [per Report to the State Legislature, Volume 3, page 98]
1875 Keene NH City Directory
Mason, Orson, chair maker, h South Keene
1880 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Marlborough
Orson L. Mason 30 Head NH NH NH works in woolen mill
Martha F. Mason 27 wife NH NH NH
Gertrude R. Mason 1 daughter NH NH NH
Hall, Lettie A. W F 26 boarder NH NH NH
1895 Keene NH City Directory
Mason Orson L. Music Teacher h 47 Taylor
1900 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Keene > Ward 1 > 170 Eastern Avenue
Orson L. Mason 50 Head M W Aug 1849 marr 26 yrs NH NH NH music teacher
Martha F. Mason 47 W F wife May 1853 2 children 2 living NH NH NH
Floyd O. Mason 14 M W son Jan 1886 single NH NH NH
Harriet S. Ellinwood 78 aunt W F Apr 1822 78 widow 0 ch 0 living NH NH NH
1904 Keene City Directory
Mason, Orson L., music teacher, office 33 West, h 170 Eastern Avenue
1911 Keene City Director
Mason Orson L, h 170 Eastern ave
1913 Keene City Directory
Orson L. Mason
170 Eastern Avenue
Piano Salesman
1920 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Keene > 170 Eastern Avenue
Orson L. Mason 70 Head NH NH NH laborer Farm
Martha F. Mason 66 wife NH NH NH
Floyd O. Mason 34 son NH NH NH conductor electric cars
Elenor L. Mason 27 daughter in law NH NH Maine
Neale B. Mason 4/12 grand child NH NH NH
1921 Keene NH City Directory
170 Eastern Avenue
Mason, Floyd O. musician
Mason, Orson L.
1922 Keene NH City Directory
Orson L. Mason, Teacher of Music
Children of Orson L. & Martha (Starkey) Mason:
1. +Gertrude Rutha Mason, b. 31 March 1879 in NH; m. Edward James Bahan
2. Floyd Oren Mason, b 29 Jan 1886 in Swanzey NH, d. 25 Nov 1939 in Keene, Cheshire NH; he m. Elenor Lucretia Kingsbury. Child: Neale Bagley Mason.[See Kingsbury genealogy]

Gertrude Rutha Mason, daughter of Orson L & Martha (Starkey) Mason,  b. 31 March 1879 in NH; m. 30 July 1898 in Marlborough NH to Edward James Bahan, son of John & Bridget (Pender) Bahan. He was born 2 April 1875 in Harrisville NH, and died 22 January 1931 in Keene NH. In 1920 he was a patrolman for the electric company in Keene, NH. [His death cert states he was an electrician]. They are buried in Woodland Cemetery, in Keene NH.
1920 US Census > NH > Cheshire > Keene
Edward J. Bahan, b. abt 1876 NH, Ire Ire, Patrolman Electric Co.
Gertrude R. Bahan 40
Alice G. Bahan 19
Kenneth S. Bahan 17
Children of Edward J. & Gertrude R. (Mason) Bahan:
1. son b. and d. 1898
2. Alice Gertrude Bahan, b. 13 May 1900 Marlborough NH; m. 2 January 1927 in Keene NH to William Arthur Yardley, son of William Henry & Grace Ada (French) Yardley.  Buried Woodland Cemetery.
3. Kenneth Stephen Bahan, b. 24 Nov 1902 Keene NH, d. 1986. He m. 25 Dec 1923 in Keene NH to Gladys Helena Bemis. She was b. 1904 and d. 1925. Their daughter Virginia b and d. 1925. He m2d) Irene Margaret Labarre.



The History of Dublin NH, by Levi W. Leonard and Charles Mason, 1855

Genealogy and history; the family of Hugh Mason, William Mason and Allied Families, by Mary Eliza Mason 1854-1929, published 1930

Descendants of Capt. Hugh Mason in America, by Edna W. Mason, 1937

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4 Responses to Musician and Music Teacher, Orson Lafayette Mason (1849-1923): Descendant of Capt. Hugh Mason in Cheshire County NH

  1. Amy says:

    Interesting man! I admire your commitment to doing research of people who, as far as I can tell, you have no familial connection to. I have my hands full just trying to find my own ancestors!

    • Janice Brown says:

      Amy, I’ve been researching my own lines in NH for 35+ years and have researched them into the 17th and some into the 16th centuries. My own lines do overlap sometimes in the stories I write now, but most of the current stories are written for other reasons. I come across interesting tidbits of info about places, events, people. I “save” interesting photographs that are ID’d in some way and I want to know more about them. Everyone has a story, and I am partial to those who had a hand in making New Hampshire the place it is 🙂 Thank you so much for reading.

  2. Katharine (Kip) Mason says:

    Hi Janice, I am so excited to find your invaluable blog and to see my family history so beautifully presented. I may have more info about some of the folks, and I most certainly have a couple of other photos of Orson and his twin brother, Oren (Orren). In my research, every time I find something new, it leads me to more questions!

    I would be happy to share anything I have, if you would like.

    Thanks so much,,
    Katharine (Kip) Mason

  3. Bruce says:

    Thank you for the fascinating history of this family in NH. Orson Mason is a distant cousin to my family and I am also music teacher. Glad to add this to our family tree.

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