The Mason Square Museum provides a self-guided overview of the events and people that formed the history of Mason County, Tx.
Exhibits at the Mason Square Museum
OPEN FRIDAY & SATURDAYS 10am-4pm
Mammoth Tusk & Pre-Historic Hill Country
Standing as tall as 14 feet and weighing 20,000 pounds, Columbian mammoths roamed across what is present day Texas until they went extinct 11,700 years ago. The harder fossils such as teeth and tusks of these animals have been found in Mason County, and are on display.
Gem quality Blue Topaz, the State Gem of Texas, is only found in Mason County.
The largest blue topaz discovered in North America was found here in 1904. Weighing 6480 carats, the stone is on loan from the Smithsonian Institute of Natural History, and on display in the museum.
John O. Meusebach & German Settlers
The German immigration into the Hill Country land grant was stymied in the mid-1840’s by the Comanches that controlled the territory.
John O. Meusebach, representing Germans immigrants, travelled from Fredericksburg into the Mason area, and successfully negotiated the first treaty between the immigrants and the local Comanche tribes. This allowed the initial migration of settlers into the Mason area.
Native Americans & Captive Children
Despite the treaty and the protection of Fort Mason, conflicts between the Indians and the early settlers still occurred.
This led to more than a few young men and women being taken captive by the Apache and Comanche; some went to their deaths, some were released, and several literally became Indians.
General Robert E. Lee & Fort Mason
Fort Mason was established in 1851 to provide protection for the early settlers. But the Fort also played a significant role in training the future military leaders that later served on both sides of the Civil War. In total, 32 Civil War Generals were stationed at Fort Mason at various times prior to the war. General Robert E. Lee’s last command post in the U.S. Army was at Fort Mason.
The Hoodoo War & Johnny Ringo
Conflicts between early settlers to Mason County (generally associated with cattle rustling) erupted into The Hoodoo War in 1875-76. The violence entailed a series of mob lynchings and retaliatory murders involving multiple posses, vigilantes and law enforcement factions, including the Texas Rangers. The conflict took the lives of at least 12 men.
It was in The Hoodoo War of Mason County that Johnny Ringo (prior to his runin with Doc Holiday and the Earp brothers) committed his first murder.
Anna Martin & Mason County Women
Women played crucial roles in the settlement of Mason County. Anna Mebus Martin (1843-1925) was one such example. Shortly after the birth of their second son, Anna’s husband became disabled. Anna found herself caring for her husband, raising two small children, and struggling to support her family.
From that humble beginning, she built a ranching empire covering 50-60,000 acres, and became the first woman in North America to both found and preside over a commercial bank. She was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2011.
In addition to the museum exhibits, the Mason Square Museum’s gift shop includes numerous historical books covering the people and the events that make up Mason County. In addition, art, jewelry and other souvenirs from local artisans are for sale. All profits go to the support of the Mason Square Museum.
130 Fort McKavitt
P.O. Box 203
Mason, Texas 76856
Hours: Friday & Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The Mason Square Museum is a 501(c)3 and all donations are tax deductible.
A direct method of donation will be coming soon.
Also, if you’d like to donate your time, docents are always appreciated.