Lemuel Bickford Mason

Lt. Lemuel Bickford Mason, 1st and 2nd Regiment, N.H. Continental Army

Lemuel Bickford Mason was born January 14, 1759 in Newington, New Hampshire. He was the son of Robert and Susannah (Bickford) Mason.

Lemuel was still an infant when his father died in 1760, and his mother remarried in 1762. He was only 16 years old when he joined the fledgling Continental Army on November 16, 1776. It is reported that he was taught to read and write by his captain (possibly Captain Reid in whose company he enlisted).

During the Continental Army’s encampment at Valley Forge, Private Mason appears in Captain William Rowell’s company of the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment, Continental Line. He is further marked as “On Furlough” for December 1777-March 1778 and “Present” for April-June 1778.

Private Mason was promoted to Sergeant on December 15, 1779. Sergeant Lemuel Bickford Mason was commissioned as an Ensign on March 30, 1781. He was further promoted to Second Lieutenant on August 30, 1782. When the 2nd New Hampshire was merged with the 1st New Hampshire, Second Lieutenant Mason transferred to the 1st New Hampshire and appeared on its rolls until his resignation in June 1783.

Second Lieutenant Mason returned to Newington in 1783 and from there he moved to New Durham Ridge where in 1786 he married Mary Chamberlain. Together they raised thirteen children.

Establishing new towns was not new to Mason who signed the petition for the new town of Alton in 1788. While there , according to the Alton History, he served as a selectman for several years. Adair Mulligan states in The Gunstock Parish, that in 1797, while living in Alton, Mason bought Governor’s Island for $1200 from John Langdon. The Alton History records the sale of Governor’s Island and Rattlesnake Island by Mason and his wife in 1800 to his sister-in-law’s father Eleazer Davis father of Nathanial Davis, well-known and colorful resident of Governor’s Island.

At some point between 1797 and the early 1800s, Mason moved to Gilford, then the Upper Parish of Gilmanton where he was living in 1812 when he was given the honor of naming the new town. Mason and his growing family lived for many years in Gilford, While living in Gilford he found himself back in the service of his country, having received a commission as captain in the War of 1812. He received a justice’s commission in 1838.

Lemuel Bickford Mason died March 3, 1851 in Meredith, New Hampshire. He is buried in Mason Cemetery in Moultonborough, New Hampshire.

Sources: Nathan F. Carter, The Native Ministry of New Hampshire (Concord, 1906), 18; Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army, (Baltimore, 1914), 383; Frederic Kidder, History of the First New Hampshire Regiment in the War of the Revolution (Albany, 1868), 85; Selected Wartime Service Records for Second Lieutenant Lemuel Bickford Mason.