General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Robert Mason

Robert Mason was born in Stepheny Parish near St. Mary White Chapel, the poorest section in London, on April 7, 1757. The area was made famous in the 1800s because of the murders of Jack the Ripper.
 In 1775 Mason Left home and boarded a ship called the Adventurer as an Indentured Servant. Upon arrival in Virginia, Mason moved to Hampshire county Virginia to begin his work as an Indentured servant for the next 3 years.
 After finishing his indenture ship, Mason joined the Virginia 11th regiment under the command of Col. Buford in 1779. On May 29, 1780, Mason participated in the battle of Waxhaw near Buford SC.
Under a white flag of Truce, 110 patriots were killed and 150 wounded when an American patriot fired his weapon and shot Tarleton, the British commander, and his Horse out from under him. Fearing Tarleton was dead along with the dead horse lying on top of him, Christopher Huck, Second in Command under Tarleton ordered the massacre. Tarleton did nothing to stop the massacre after the dead horse was lifted off of him..
The Waxhaw massacre would have the same effect on American Independence that the Alamo would have on Texas Independence or the Civil war battle Fort Pillow would have on Southern Independence. From now on after each patriot victory, you could hear the Cry “Give them Tarleton Quarters”, meaning Kill all the British you see. At Kings Mountain fought five months later, over 300 Tories were killed mostly after the British surrendered in response to what happened at the battle of Waxhaw.
 Mason barely escaped with his life. This would be the last battle he would participate in. In 1783, Mason met Mary King and married her later that year. They would have 9 children from this union. In 1790 Mason moved to Grainger county TN. In 1806, mason moved to present day Bell county KY on a farm in the clear Creek Community. In 1819, Mason applied for a squatter’s land grant since he had lived on the farm for more than 5 years.
On April 25, 1849, Mason died at the age of 92. Before he died He presented his ons the land on the promise they would take care of Mary, his wife. He also had one final request. He wanted to be buried in the cellar of his home. Mason’s home stood at the present day site of the Mason family cemetery. A gravestone now marks the spot where Mason was buried.
 For years, Mason was not approved as a patriot because he had lost his discharge papers some 50 years before and was unable to receive a pension because of this.
In 1995 Descendents of Robert Mason proved he was a patriot by showing that Mason knew all the names of the soldiers in Buford’s company something he couldn’t have done if he hadn’t been there, and did a DAR graveside service for him to honor him as a patriot. In 2005, the General Joseph Martin SAR chapter honored him with a SAR graveside service to honor him as a patriot as well.  In 2006, DAR again refused to accept Mason as a Patriot because he had been turned down by the pension board because he couldn’t find his discharge papers. Descendents of Robert Mason have taken the DAR society to court in hopes of getting this decision overturned.   

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