Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


Among the names of those who in recent years have taken an active and influential part in the development of the general commercial and industrial interests of this region, that of M. Clinton Mason, capitalist and landowner and a retired manufacturer and contractor now living on the old White place at Watsonville, occupies a prominent place, for since taking up his residence here Mr. Mason has been actively interested in many ways in pushing the general development of this fair region, a place which he found so much to his liking on the occasion of a commercial visit here fifteen years ago that he decided to make it a place of permanent residence.

M. Clinton Mason was born at Carthage, New York, and is a son of M. P. and Harriet (Angell) Mason, both members of old colonial families in America and both now deceased. Thomas Mason, the American progenitor of this line of Masons, came to this country from England in 1652 and settled at Dedham, Massachusetts, and his descendants in the present generation form a very numerous connection, represented in widely separated sections of the country. Clinton Mason's mother was of that family of Angells which has made its impress in various representative ways and in a quite definite fashion upon the social and cultural life of the country and this family is also of the early colonial stock. Two of her greatgrandfathers, Colonel Ephraim Wheelock and John Pardee rendered conspicuous service in the Continental army during the Revolutionary war. The Pardees are of one of the Huguenot families that sought refuge on this side of the Atlantic following the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685, and this family also is widely represented throughout the country. M. P. Mason died in 1909, and his wife in 1911. He had long been engaged in woolen manufacturing at Hagamans Mills, New York, following there a line that had been established by his father, and he also operated lumber mills but his chief industry was the manufacture of woolen goods. He had large timber holdings in the west.

M. Clinton Mason, who is the only child of his parents who grew to maturity, completed his schooling in Williams College at Williamstown, Massachusetts, and in 1904 was graduated from that institution. He was for some time interested with his father in the latter's manufacturing enterprises and then engaged in business as a building contractor. In 1907 in Connecticut he erected what is believed to have been the first large reinforced concrete factory building erected in the United States, a five-story structure, three hundred feet by sixty feet in ground dimension, built for the Hockanum Mills Company, which about that time was extending its operations. Five different woolen plants were absorbed by this company and Mr. Mason was made purchasing agent for the same, a position he occupied until he took up his residence in California. It was in. 1911, while touring this state in behalf of his company, that Mr. Mason became so greatly attracted to Santa Cruz county that he decided to take up his residence here. With that end in view he bought the old White place of three hundred and sixty-two acres at Watsonville and has since made it his home, carrying on general ranch operations and also looking after his extensive financial interests, these including considerable real estate in Los Angeles and elsewhere. The place now owned and occupied by Mr. Mason is the establishment founded at Watsonville in pioneer days by William F. White, father of former United States Senator Stephen F. White of California. For three years beginning in 1914 Mr. Mason was engaged quite extensively in the rice business at San Francisco. When this country took a hand in the World war in 1917 he bought a thousand-ton vessel and entered the coastwise shipping business, handling government contracts in coffee and lumber in the traffic between San Francisco and Mexican ports. He is now vice president of Jones Brothers and Company, Inc., manufacturers of vinegar and apple products.

In 1920, at San Francisco, Mr. Mason was united in marriage to Mrs. Georgia Steirly, of that city. They have a very pleasant home at Watsonville and take a proper interest in the general social and cultural activities of the community, Mrs. Mason being one of the active members of the Woman's Club of that city. Mr. Mason is a member of the Masonic fraternity and is also affiliated with the local lodge of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks at Watsonville and with the Bohemian Club of San Francisco. He has for years been deeply interested in rare editions of books and has come to be recognized as one of the leading collectors in California, his library containing many valuable old books as well as manuscripts carrying the signatures of many of the world's greatest personages. Mr. Mason has been an extensive traveler not only throughout this country but abroad and has made several European trips.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.