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Charles H. Mason
H. Mason Tells Of Life In Niles In The 1870’s
Source: Charles H. Mason Centennial Isue of Niles Daily Times,
The Mason Family has long occupied a prominent
place in Niles affairs. Two sons of Ambrose Mason, the
early settler, occupied positions of leadership in the community.
H.H. Mason came to Niles with his father
in about 1835. He attended the district school and helped on the
farm for a while and then accepted a clerkship in Warren and went
there to live. In a few years he returned to Niles and entered
the store which his father had established in partnership with
In 1842 he married Adeliza Kingsley,
and some years later removed to Cleveland for a short period.
In 1866 he was elected the first mayor of the
incorporated village of Niles. He also served on the village council
and in the township offices for a number of years.
From 1873 to 1880 Mr. Mason was cashier of the
Citizen’s Savings and Loan Company. From 1880-1889 he served
as postmaster. The next year he was made president of the first
National Bank of Niles, a position he held for three years.
Hiram T. Mason, brother of H.H. Mason,
was active in county work, serving two terms as county commissioner
and was also active in the Disciple church (First Christian Church,
Charles H. Mason's grandfather was Ambrose
Mason, the first postmaster in Niles; his father was H.H. Mason,
first mayor of Niles. So it is that Charles H. Mason, 207 Vienna
Avenue, is descended from one of the pioneer families of this
Mr. Mason was born October 15, 1855, on the site
of the skating rink on Main Street still in the same building
in which his father operated a store. He recalls that his older
sister, Cordelia, and William McKinley used
to play together in that store when they were children.
View of the H.H. Mason residence as it appeared
in the Fall of 2018.
1859 the Mason family moved into the homestead on Vienna Avenue
and it was there that the elder Mason held court. At that time
his son, Charles was only 11 years old and as he expresses it,
‘was more for having a good time than for attending the
court.” However, one trial made a lasting impression upon
him. It involved two women who had been in a fight on the south
side. The Mason homestead was later the P.J. Sheehan
Mr. Mason remembers that cows, pigs, and chickens
ran through what is now Main Street, that there was a plank road
to Warren and Colgate, that a row of houses stood across from
the site of Central Park, that a footbridge spanned Mosquito Creek
near the grist mill and that workers used to cross the bridge
between heats and go to the saloon, that Charlie Harris
had the first automobile, a Packard, in the vicinity of 1897,
that everyone gathered up rifles and pitch forks when it was reported
that Morgan (confederate army) was coming.
Credit slip from the Young &
Still an ardent baseball fan, Mr. Mason recalls old Oakland baseball
club of 1872-73 which used to play between Pearl and Robbins in
the vicinity of Lafayette and Washington. On the team were Henry
Baldwin, catcher; C.H. Mason, pitcher; Watt
Shaffer, first base; E.A. Biery, second base;
Ed Dickey, third base; Charles Baldwin, shortstop;
J.W. Robbins, George Parker, Jim Carr, and Craig Phillips,
In those days, baseball was somewhat different
from what it is now. Mr. Mason describes it thus: at that time
the pitcher had to hold his arm straight and pitch, he couldn’t
throw the ball. It was hard to control the ball; you never could
tell whether it was going to roll on the groud or go out into
The players weren’t allowed to wear gloves
or other protection, the catcher would stand way back and take
the ball on the first bounce. Then Warren was the only place you
could have a bat turned. Mr. Mason tells that often he walked
to Warren in the morning, had his bat turned, and then returned
to Niles to play a game in the afternoon. The Oakland team played
teams from Church Hill, Mineral Ridge, Girard and other surrounding
View of the Town Hall and
Civil War Monument. PO1.207.
Campaigns of former days were real exciting, according to Mr.
Mason. There were torchlight processions and parades in favor
of the candidates. He tells of one parade in which there was a
float on which nails were made. The nails bore the names of Grant
and Colfax and were thrown into the crowd red hot. [Ulysses S.
Grant was an American military officer and politician who served
as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877.
[President; Ulysses S. Grant; Vice President: Schuyler Colfax
Old-fashioned bob sled parties were popular amusement
in past times, Mr. Mason suggests. Hay and blankets were piled
on the sled and everyone got in and the party rode for several
hours, and finally stopping at someone’s home to eat oysters
and crackers. The party was often concluded at two, three or even
four o’clock in the morning at the close of hours of dancing
to accordion music.
Mr. Mason served as township trustee for six
years. He was holding this position at the time of the erection
of the McKinley Memorial and he helped make the transfer of the
old town hall to the Memorial.
Mr. and Mrs. Mason are the parents of the following
children: Mrs. H.J. Webb, Niles; Mrs. Elva Stewart,
Youngstown; and H.J. Mason, Warren.