John Mason

John Mason, (? – 1866), with Jim Henry, was one of the leaders of the Mason Henry Gang organized by secessionist Judge George Gordon Belt, that posed as Confederate partisan rangers but acted as outlaws, committing robberies, thefts and murders in the San Joaquin Valley, Monterey County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County and later in the counties of Southern California.
Little is known about John Mason before he joined the Mason Henry Gang. He was Southern-born and a former stage hostler who had reportedly killed several men in altercations. In the spring of 1864 the gang rode from Belt’s rancho over to Santa Clara County, a center of Copperhead sympathizers, to recruit more members. They returned without success to the San Joaquin Valley. By October, 1864, with the Presidential election approaching and the Civil War on the east coast was reaching a climax, Mason and Henry’s gang quickly deteriorated into brigands but because they called themselves Confederate soldiers, they managed to have support among the Copperheads in the area. They threatened to kill every “black republican” they chanced to meet.

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1 Response to John Mason

  1. Sanders says:

    Fellow and his gang were real pieces of shit, weren’t they? And I’m a Southern sympathizer, as my family is mostly from the Southern states. Like most families, we had people fighting on both sides.

    I really like your historical western links.

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