Second Mayor of the Borough of Vineland By Ex-Mayor Joseph A. Conwell
Joseph Mason was for many years one of Vineland's best known citizens. He came to our town in 1872 for his health, and was so pleased with the place and its people that he made Vineland his home for the remainder of his life. Joseph Mason was the son of George and Keziah Mason, and was born in Essex, England, on April 20th, 1829. His school education was obtained chiefly at the town of Walthawston.
While a school boy he became interested in the practical study of horticulture and the growing of flowers from a business standpoint. After leaving school he served as a clerk in a grocery store for several years. Having grown to manhood he went to London and was connected with a collection house, beginning at the bottom and eventually becoming chief manager.
He came to America in 1854 and settled in West Hartford, Conn., where his brother, Stanley Mason, conducted a nursery business. The brothers became partners and did a flourishing business until the outbreak of the Civil War. Following the war he represented an Insurance Company for some years.
After settling in Vineland in 1872, he became interested in the Insurance and Real-Estate business and various other enterprises.
He established "Mason's Monthly" a publication devoted to horticulture, farming, real-estate and the interests of Vineland generally. Historical matters, chronologically arranged, were an interesting and instructive feature of the paper.
For some time Mr. Mason was interested in the manufacture of shoes, but did not find it profitable to operate in a small way, such as his limited resources demanded.
In 1873 Mr. Mason was married to Mrs. Charlotte E. Ruhl, of Barnes, Essex County, England; she, as his widow, is still residing in Vineland.
As a citizen of Vineland, Mr. Mason was one who took an active interest in everything calculated to benefit the town or its people. He was an enthusiastic advocate of fine shade trees, shrubbery and flowers. He delighted to work in the open among growing vegetation and he was devoted to his garden until the very last.
Joseph Mason was twice elected Mayor of Vineland and served from 1881 to 1883 and from 1900 to 1902. He served for a time as Borough Recorder, receiving his appointment from his successor Mayor Conwell. He was a Justice of the Peace for a number of years.
Mr. Mason was an active member of the Board of Trade and as publisher of "Mason's Monthly" he greatly aided that organization in establishing manufacturing enterprises in our midst. He was an active member of the Episcopal Church and was a lay-reader for many years.
After a lingering illness Joseph Mason expired on May 23d, 1909. He will be remembered by those who knew him, as one of that large number of early settlers who came to Vineland to live and labor, so that those who came after them would find it a pleasant and profitable place in which to live.