William E. Mason: Fashion Forward Senator, Author and Joker

William E. Mason

William E. Mason

Billy Mason as a Boy Joker.
Senator William E. Mason always has been a joker. Even when a school boy he never let a chance pass without having his fun at the expense of some one else.
When he was a public school pupil, the boys knew as much about ‘cribbing” as they do now, and it was nothing new for them to conceal needed information on their cuffs or inside their watches.

One day when Willie Mason was taking an examination the keen eyed teacher observed him take out his watch every minute or two. The pedagogue grew suspicious. Finally he strode slowly down the aisle and stopped in front of Willie’s desk.

“Let me see your watch,” he commanded.
“All right, sir,” was the meek reply.
The teacher opened the front lid. He looked somewhat sheepish when he read the single word, “Fooled.”
But he was a shrewd man. He was not to be thrown off the scent so easily.
He opened the back lid. Then he was satisfied. There he read:
“Fooled again.” — New York Journal.

Lima News (Lima, Ohio)  May 21,  1898


Down with Them, Says Mason
Chicago, September 15, 1901 [excerpt]
“Some excuse may be found in hatred or partisan excitement for the assasinations of Lincoln and Garfield; but no such excuse exists for this foul deed. The president was killed by a sane man, who had learned his lesson at the school of anarchy, who had been taught in public places that rulers should be slain, who had been influenced and incited to his deed by the nest of anarchy in Chicago.”

Atlanta Constitution, Sep 16, 1901


Senator William E. Mason as a Glass of Fashion.

The belt vest or vest belt of which Senator William E. Mason is the originator is the new style in waistcoats peculiarly adapted to stout people and to very warm weather, says the Washington correspondent of the New York Evening Post. Like so many of those nice things that we are told about, it is “within the reach of all.”

These directions might suffice: Take an old vest — any closet will furnish one — and with a pair of sharp shears bisect it just above the second button from the bottom. In wearing draw it tightly in front and either button or buckle it in the back. The result is a waistcoat which is at the same time a belt. It conceals the suspender buttons and the upper seam of the trousers and really fills a long felt want. Washington seldom leads in fashions, but it may do so this time.

The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio)  June 27,  1902


Former Senator Mason an Author.
“We have not heard much lately of William E. Mason, once senator from Illinois,” remarked Stanley Higginbothan, of Chicago, at the Raleigh last night. “Mason is not very old, and has always been too active for retirement from political and other paths. Now comes the information that he has writtne a book — but, mind you, a semireligious book — and that seems odd for a politician. Mason did not use his name with the volume when it first came out a year ago. The title of the book was ‘John, the Unafraid,’ and it deals with modern problems in a straightforward way.

“The book has attracted attention, I am told, among clergymen, and, no doubt, some of Mason’s old congressional friends who are not clergymen will be curious to see what their old friend can bring forth in the way of a semireligious literary production. No one who ever knew jolly ‘Billy’ Mason, story teller and raconteur, during his Washington days, would suspect him of writing a book dealing with religious teachings, and with frequent reference to the words of Holy Writ, it is evident that there is hope for the final regeneration of many other statesmen now in the whirl who may enter the literary world once they have finished with political office.”

Washington Post, The (Washington, D.C.)  May 15,  1911

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