MASON, John Young, a Representative from Virginia; born near Hicksford (now Emporia), Greensville
County, Va., April 18, 1799; was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in
1816; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1819 and commenced practice in Hicksford, Va.;
member of the State house of delegates 1823-1827; served in the State senate 1827-1831; elected as
a Jacksonian to the Twenty-second, Twenty-third, and Twenty-fourth Congresses and served from
March 4, 1831, until his resignation January 11, 1837; chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs
(Twenty-fourth Congress); appointed United States district judge for the eastern district of Virginia in
1837; delegate to the State constitutional conventions of 1829 and 1850; appointed Secretary of the
Navy in the Cabinet of President John Tyler and served from March 14, 1844, to March 10, 1845,
and again in the Cabinet of President James K. Polk from September 9, 1846, to March 7, 1849;
Attorney General of the United States from March 11, 1845, to September 9, 1846; resumed the
practice of law in Richmond, Va., 1849-1854; appointed United States Minister Plenipotentiary to
France on January 22, 1854, and served until his death, in Paris, France, on October 3, 1859; his
remains were conveyed to the United States and interred in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Va.
BibliographyWilliams, Frances L. The Heritage and Preparation of a
Statesman, John Young Mason, 1799-1859. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 75 (July 1967): 305-30.