Mason Family Gathers to Celebrate the Man

Posted: June 16, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

Descendants of patriot George Mason will gather at Gunston Hall in Mason Neck, Va., for the 2004 Mason family reunion, June 25-27. They will meet distant cousins, dabble in family history, and celebrate the contributions of their ancestor.

It isn’t surprising that a number of people associated with George Mason University will be on hand to assist in these celebrations. Recent graduate Kelly Carter, who received an MA in History in May, is the program coordinator for the reunion. She has been working at Gunston Hall for the last two years as a George Mason Fellow, part of a joint program between the plantation and the university in which the George Mason Memorial Society funds a fellowship for a Mason student to conduct research at Gunston Hall.

“Kelly has put together a wonderful program,” says Robert Hawkes Jr., assistant professor of history who coordinates the Mason Fellow program. Hawkes will address reunion participants at a dinner on June 26 at Sea Sea & Company in Occoquan. In his talk, Hawkes, who frequently speaks about Mason, says he will focus on “what really is the legacy of this man.”

On June 25, current PhD candidate Terry K. Dunn will sign copies of the book she edited, The Recollections of John Mason: George Mason’s Son Remembers His Father and Life at Gunston Hall. Written in the 1830s by Mason’s youngest son, the recollections offer an intimate portrait of life at Gunston Hall.

The reunion will treat participants to a number of tours, including one of the farmyard. In addition, there will be a gathering for family photographs, a bill of rights workshop, hands-on archaeology activities, period demonstrations such as hearth cooking and spinning, a tutorial from the Fairfax Genealogical Society on how to research your family tree, and a game of rounders, an 18th-century form of baseball, among other activities. On Sunday, family members will assemble in the Mason graveyard for a memorial ceremony and wreath laying.

For more information, check out the Gunston Hall web site.

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