Happy 281st birthday to my great-great-great-great grandfather, George Mason IV of Gunston Hall. On the occasion of Mason’s birthday on Dec. 11, let’s celebrate his most important contribution to our nation — the Bill of Rights.
Although James Madison is credited with drafting our Constitution’s Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments), it is important to remember that he modeled them after George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights. Regrettably, historians sometimes overlook this very important fact and do not give credit where credit is due. Also, Mason is often forgotten because he died in 1792, just when the leaders we usually recognize — Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe — were in the forefront of our emerging nation.
There is much more about George Mason to celebrate. Not only was a he a brilliant statesman and scholar figuring prominently in our nation’s history, he was also an admirable husband, father, and friend. Devoted to his family, Mason always put them first. He adored his beautiful wife Ann Eilbeck Mason and was heartbroken when she died in 1773 at the age of 39, leaving him with nine young children to rear. I often wonder if this great loss influenced his politics.
So on this occasion of his birthday, I extend a heartfelt “Thank You” for George Mason’s insistence on a Bill of Rights to our Constitution that ensures and protects our freedoms. Helen Hill Miller is the author of a biography entitled “George Mason Gentleman Revolutionary”, and indeed he was – “A Gentleman Revolutionary.”
A very proud descendant,
Marion Dawson Robinette,
The writer grew up on Seminary Hill - Quaker Lane. Her parents were Cooper and Franny Dawson.