McLean County, Illinois
JUDSON R. MASON, Secretary and General Manager of the Bloomington Mutual Life Benefit Association, and one of the self-made and wealthy men of Bloomington, is a native of New York, having been born on a farm in Oswego County, in September, 1841. His parents were Stephen R. and Sallie (Johnson) Mason, both of whom were born and reared in Massachusetts. Stephen R. Mason was a farmer of modest means, with a family of ten children, of whom our subject was the youngest. The latter remained on the farm with his parents until he had nearly reached his majority, having pursued his primary studies in the common schools and completing them in the academy at Mexico Village near his home. He then went to Syracuse, N. Y., where he became bookkeeper for the firm of Phelps & Chase, manufacturers of pianos and organs, in whose employ he remained until 1865, in which year he came to Bloomington. He still continued in the employ of the old firm after reaching this city, as a salesman of their pianos and organs.
Mr. Mason was afterward employed by Gillett & Steere, and in 1866 began operating in local fire insurance. During that year he was also appointed State Agent for the Phoenix Fire Insurance Company, of Hartford, Conn., and in this capacity proved himself master of the situation. He had charge of about 800 agents, and was the principal adjuster in case of loss. The insurance business proved very remunerative, and Mr. Mason continued in it for a period of seventeen years. The company lost heavily in the great Chicago fire of 1871. In May, 1883, Mr. Mason was appointed General Manager of the Bloomington Mutual Life Benefit Association, which is fast becoming one of the substantial institutions of the city, principally owing to the discreet and wise management of our subject. The company operates over a wide extent of territory, including the States of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Dakota.
Judson R. Mason was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Rowan, of Bloomington, in 1865. Mrs. M. is the daughter of Martin B. Rowan, Esq., and grand-daughter of Dr. Isaac Baker, of Bloomington. Of this union there was born one child Harry R.
Mr. Mason has served in many important positions connected with the Masonic fraternity, and has held all of the offices in the Sunday-School Union in the State Sunday-School Association, and is one of the most active members of the First Baptist Church of Bloomington, having officiated in its Sabbath-school as Superintendent for the past ten years. He is also President of the Board of Water Works, and at present acting Mayor of the city, also Chairman of the Financial Committee and Alderman of the First Ward. The association with which Mr. Mason is connected has grown from a few members to the number of 9,000 and is represented by nearly 1,000 agents. Mr. Mason has evinced financial ability equally well in his private affairs, as he came to Bloomington with scanty means and is now the possessor of a fine property, including one of the finest residences in the city. He has in contemplation the erection of a fine business block the coming season, and is accounted one of the most useful and enterprising members of the community.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 539. Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.
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