December, 1906 THE RAILROAD EMPLOYEE. AN HONORED VETERAN. Life Story of Henry P. Mason of the New Jersey Central—By Lineal Descent a "Jersey Yankee"—Entered the Railroad Service in 1866. When Employees Were Compelled to Pay Their Fare—His Progress in Railroading—Noted as a Story Teller. ONE of the best known and most highly respected veterans connected with the Eastern railroad service is Henry P. Mason, chief clerk of the maintenance of way department of the New Jersey Central. Mr. Mason was born at Somerville, N. J., October 22, 1850, and is a lineal descendant of Captain Hugh Mason, who, with his wife, Hester, sailed from Ipswich, England, in April 10, 1634, in the "good ship Francis," bound for New England, and was one of the first settlers at Watertown, Mass., figuring prominently in the early history of that colony. Mr. Mason's father, Pethuel Mason, was born at Unity, Maine, June 10, 1809. He afterwards settled in Boston and moved to New York in 1832, and to Somerville, in May, 1838. His mother, Susan H. Ramsay, was born at Rumney, New Hampshire, January 31, 1821, educated at New Hampton, N. H., and removed to New Market, N. J., in May, 1843, where she taught school until July, 1845, when she married. Pethuel Mason, who was an expert watchmaker, and who instructed the man who afterwards became superintendent of the great Waltham Watch Co.'s works, at Waltham, Mass. Henry P. Mason can, therefore, be said to be a "Jersey Yankee." He received a common school education at Somerville, first at the "Old Academy," and then at the public school. Mr. Mason was employed by the Central Railroad of New Jersey for a short time during 1866, as an attachee of the freight office at Pier 14, New York, and was assigned to the delivery of freight notices to the business concerns in the lower section of the city. This was when B. J. Spalding was freight agent. He was again employed by the company in the fall of 1870, as switchman at Green Brook. At that time the employees were charged a special rate of fare to ride between their homes and their work, and Mr. Mason paid $2.50 per month for a ticket between Somerville and Dunellen. He resigned this position in July, 1871, to care for his father, who was stricken with paralysis, and after his death in February, 1872, Mr. Mason was appointed assistant post master at Somerville, which place he occupied until September of that year, when he again entered the railroad service as clerk to Roadmaster Geo. W. Abbott, whose office was for a number of years located at Somerville. Mr. Mason remained with Mr. Abbott until January, 1883, when he was transferred to the superintendent's office, then located at Elizabeth. When the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company leased the Central, June 1, 1883, W. H. Peddle was appointed division roadmaster, and afterwards division engineer, and Mr. Mason was selected as his chief clerk. When Mr. Peddle was appointed superintendent upon the resignation of W. W. Stearns, in the fall of 1888, Mr. Mason was continued as chief clerk in charge of the roadway department, while Charles D. Tull was chief clerk of the transportation department. Mr. Peddle resigned January 1, 1898, and was succeeded by Geo. H. Frech, the present superintendent of the New Jersey Southern Division, and in the latter part of that year Mr. Mason was appointed chief clerk of both transportation and roadway departments. Then came the days of the Warren regime. C. H. Warren, who was vice-president and general manager, instituted radical changes in the administration of affairs. He, among other things, established an accounting department at Jersey City, to which department Mr. Mason was transferred. After the passing of the Warren-Wentz "nightmare," and the advent of the present management, the accounting office was abolished, the work distributed among the various departments, and Mr. Mason was appointed chief clerk to Mr. Twining, engineer of maintenance of way, which position he still occupies. During these long years of service, Mr. Mason has accumulated a fund of information concerning persons, places, and the various structures erected by the company, which renders him a valuable man for the corporation. He has a genial disposition, is polite in his intercourse with the public, vein of natural wit in his composition, and some ability as a story-teller, which appears to be a characteristic of the Mason family. Mr. Mason has a host of friends not only in railroad circles, but in other directions. Notwithstanding the fact that his has been, and is, a busy railroad life, he has found time to serve the church and community where he lives. He was a member of the board of education of Somerville, N. J., for fifteen years, most of the time secretary, and district clerk. He is a prominent Royal Arcanumite, having occupied the highest position in his council. He has been a member, of the Baptist Church for 40 years, eighteen years as treasurer, twenty years as superintendent of the Sunday School, and is at present deacon and church clerk. This is truly a case where the place has sought the man, for every position which Mr. Mason has occupied, has come to him unsolicited. May he be spared to many more years of usefulness in the service or a corporation, the present management of which realize that loyalty and faithfulness are assets beyond price in the successful conduct of corporate affairs.
Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.
Henry is 27 degrees from Rosa Parks, 25 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 19 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.