Sunday, August 4, 2013

Those Robinson Girls: Joeannah Robinson Mason Doss

Preston M Robinson married Sarah N Edmonston,  1847 in Washington county Missouri.  To them were born five daughters – Elizabeth Jane Robinson, Mary Alice Robinson, Martha Thomas Robinson, Julia Parkhurst Robinson, and Joeannah Robinson.  This Blog Series on “Those Robinson Girls” gives a brief account of each daughter.

Joeannah Robinson was born 1862 in Washington county Missouri.  She was the youngest of five daughters of Preston McGrady Robinson and Sarah Nugent Edmonston, and my gg-grandaunt.  The interesting spelling of her name "Joeannah" is probably correct as it appears this way in her father's 1903 Will and then again on her tombstone.  Little is known of her childhood.  At the tender age of fifteen she was married to  Ezra Elmo Mason, a young man of about thirty who hailed originally from Virginia.  It is assumed that they married in Washington county Missouri, but no record has been located.  The marriage date of 8 January 1878 comes from a family record. 

Two years after their marriage EE Mason and his young wife Joeannah appear in the 1880 census of Carter county Missouri, in Jackson township.  His occupation is given as manufacture of lumber; no surprise in this growing hotbed of the timber industry.  They have a little daughter Essie Mason.  

Over the next ten years three more children are added to the Mason family, Edna Mason, Lou Mason, and Elmore Mason.  The family probably moved northward to the big city of St Louis Missouri.  In 1891 EE Mason is shown as the president of Clarkson Christopher Lumber Company in St Louis. 

A writeup in "The industries of Saint Louis:  Her relations as a center of trade, manufacturing establishments and business houses"; J. W. Leonard; J.M. Elstner & Co., 1887. (google ebook):

Clarkson - Christopher Lumber Company
EE Mason, President; HC Christopher, Vice-President; RM Fry, Treasurer
Wholesale Commission Lumber Dealers; Office, Northwest Corner of Fourth and Walnut streets.
This is one of the largest and most successful concerns in its line in the city or the West, and has done a large and steadily increasing business from its inception.  They deal very heavily in dressed yellow pine flooring, ceiling, siding, bridge, car and dimension timber and Tennessee yellow poplar, all of which they sell to large dealers, car works and railroad construction companies in car load lots or otherwise, delivered at any point.  They maintain the most favorable relations with manufacturers and are enabled to offer unsurpassed inducements, both in price and quality, to the trade, and do a very large business not only in the city but also throughout Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and other States tributary, in a commercial sense, to St Louis.  They possess unsurpassed facilities, and enjoy the respect and confidence of the trade as a result of their prompt and satisfactory filling of orders.

A family record indicates that EE Mason died 18 July 1891 in Fordyce, Dallas county Arkansas. He would have been forty-three years old.  About this time, Fordyce was opening up as a timber district and it seems likely that Ezra Mason was conducting business there.  Did he meet with an accident?  Hopefully old newspapers in Arkansas or St Louis will produce answers to this question.  

Ezra Mason's early death left his twenty-nine year old widow Joeannah Robinson Mason, with four young children to raise.  It is not known where she went, or who she turned to during her widowhood, but her oldest daughter, Essie Pearl Mason was married five years later, in 1896, in Washington county Missouri, so perhaps the Mason family returned to live near Joeannah Robinson Mason's parents.  I have not been able to identify this Mason family in the 1900 census.  But, when Preston M Robinson wrote his will in March 1903, he named his youngest daughter Joeannah Mason, so we know that she did not remarry before that time. 

In our Clarkson Family Letters there is a letter dated 4 August 1908 from Richard Albert Clarkson to his son Samuel Edwin Clarkson.  He mentions his sister-in-law Joeannah “Josie” Robinson Mason and her son Elmo (Elmore E Mason):  “We enjoyed Elmo’s short visit. A letter from sister Josie received yesterday says he likes Oklahoma so much she thinks she will probably move out with him to Bartlesville.”

Sometime between 1908 and 1910, Joeannah Robinson Mason was secondly married to Frank Doss of Farmington, St Francois county Missouri.  He was a widower, whose first wife Sarah McFarland Doss had died in 1906.  His youngest daughter Nellie Doss was living with Frank and Joeannah in the 1910 Census of St Francois county. 

Frank Doss died in 1932 and is buried with his first wife in Farmington, St Francois county Missouri.  His death certificate shows him as a widower, his deceased wife being Sarah McFarland.  It makes no mention of second wife Joeannah.  The reason for this is not known.  Joeannah Robinson Mason Doss, died in 1945 and is buried with her first husband in St Matthew Cemetery in St Louis, Missouri. 

The four Mason children all married: 
Essie Pearl Mason to Edwin J Bean, an attorney and judge of Jefferson county Missouri.
Edna Marie Mason first to Edward Berryman Barrow, a dentist, and secondly to Arthur C Norwine.
Lou Mason to Edward Butler, living in Ironton Missouri in 1913.
Elmore E Mason, a musician, to Caroline McNaughton of Trumball county Missouri (eventually divorced).

For more details on Joeannah Robinson, visit her page at Family Stories,

Photo:  Farm Woodlot near Farmington Missouri; Department of Agriculture, National Archives Collection.

Aside:  In 1885, Ezra E Mason was appointed one of four executors in the Will of George W Clarkson of Iron county Missouri.  George Clarkson was the cousin of Richard Albert Clarkson, brother-in-law of Joeannah Robinson.  It is noted here to show some of the earliest relationships between the Robinson, Clarkson, and Mason families.

Aside:  For a time I speculated that the RM Fry, indicated as treasurer of Clarkson-Christopher Lumber Company, was my gg-grandfather, Reuben Macon Fry.  But, I have since learned that he is Robert Maxwell Fry – no apparent relationship to my own Fry family. 

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