Masque of Honor - Armistead T. Mason

Armistead T. Mason

Photo from Gunston Hall

Armistead Thomson Mason was born August 4, 1787 at Armistead’s in Louisa County, Virginia. Son of Republican U.S. Senator Stevens Thomson Mason and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Armistead. Armistead graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1807. He engaged in agricultural pursuits until he became colonel of Virginia Volunteers in the War of 1812 and general of the Virginia Militia.

At the age of 28, Armistead became the second-youngest person to ever serve in the U.S. Senate even though the age requirement for the U.S. Senate in the constitution is 30 years old. He served from 1816-1817 and was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William Branch Giles. He married Charlotte Eliza Taylor in May of 1817 and had one son.

Armistead then moved to Loudoun County, Virginia where he was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Fifteenth Congress in 1817. The bitter campaign is what led to the duel in Masque of Honor with Armistead’s second cousin and brother-in-law, John “Jack” Mason McCarty at Bladensburg Dueling Field, Marylandb. Armistead died on February 6, 1819.