Be sure to come visit Mason’s two wonderful historic museums this Saturday, August 9th. Both museums will be open from10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. and both will have special events during the day. The Mason County Historical Museum is located in the old grammar school building on the second floor. (The building also houses the Mason Senior Center on the first floor). The Mason Square Museum is located on the north side of Mason’s historic square in the same block as the Chamber of Commerce. Since last week’s article dealt with the Mason County Historical Museum, this week’s will give information on the Mason Square Museum.
The Square Museum boasts exhibits highlighting such famous names as Robert E. Lee, Johnny Ringo, and Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller. The museum is arranged in a chronological timeline. The exhibits cover periods of Mason County history from prehistoric times to early pioneer settlers to contemporary ranching and banking. Whether it’s prehistoric artifacts or exhibits of historical families of Mason County, the museum offers something for everyone. From the War Between the States to the Mason County War (Hoo Doo War), the exhibits allow history to be seen through the eyes of real Hill Country families of Mason County.
One of the most popular items on exhibit is the “gem of the hill country”. The largest light blue topaz discovered in North America was found by Albert Lee McGehee in Mason County in 1904. This topaz is on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. The topaz is the state gem of Texas and is found only in Mason County.
Another interesting exhibit is the pictorial history of the Mason County War (or “Hoo Doo” War) which involved many colorful characters. It was fought between American-born cowboys and the German-born ranchers and covered a number of years after the Civil War. The feud began as a result of cattle rustling and the murder of Tim Williamson. The Texas Rangers were brought in to bring peace, but the feud finally came to an end on its own. Be sure and see this exhibit and learn more about this “civil war” that took place in Mason County.
Another display is of John O. Meusebach, a German colonizer who brought German immigrants to the hill country as part of the Fischer-Miller Land Grant from the Republic of Texas and opened a “gateway” to westward expansion.
An exhibit about Mrs. Anna Martin is particularly interesting as she was the only woman to found a bank in the United States that is still in existence today. There is also a commemorative marker on the eastside of the courthouse lawn honoring her.
Also on display is a replica of the spearhead that killed Mason’s first sheriff. Sheriff Tom Milligan, who took office in 1858, was returning home on February 19, 1860, when he was surprised by five or six Indian raiders. He was mortally wounded within 200 feet of his cabin. The spearhead was removed from his body and has remained in the Milligan family.
These are just a few of the displays and exhibits that you will find at the Mason Square Museum. The Museum Gift Shop will also be open and includes the sales of historical books, artifacts from Ft. Mason, art work and jewelry of local artists and many other items. There will be refreshments of coffee, donuts and cookies.
Both the Mason County Historical Museum and the Mason Square Museum are non-profit organizations. There is no fee to see the exhibits, but donations are always welcome! Mason County Historical Commission members will also be selling Sesquicentennial items at both the museums.
Also, don’t forget the Old Timers’ Exhibition Baseball Game at 10:00 a.m. in Heritage Park!
caption for 0001: Outside view of the Mason Square Museum located on the north side of the Mason square.
0002: Interior view of the Mason Square Museum showing some of the many exhibits on display.
scan.jpeg - Exterior view of the old grammar school which houses the Mason County Historical Museum on the second floor. An elevator is available.