Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tennis Seaborn Mason (1885-1972)

Tennis S. Mason, from the 1913 Mercer University "Cauldron" Yearbook.

   Sporting a name that's also a well-known sport, Hartwell, Georgia based attorney Tennis Seaborn Mason served multiple terms in both houses of the Georgia state legislature. A resident of Georgia for nearly all his life, Tennis S. Mason was born in Bowersville on January 6, 1885, being one of twelve children born to Elijah (1837-1917) and Sarah Walters Mason (1850-1918).  He attended schools local to the Bowersville area and later studied at the Locust Grove Institute. Mason continued his studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he studied law. He would serve as the President of the school's 1913 law class and graduated with his Bachelor of Laws degree in that same year.
   Tennis S. Mason married in Bowersville in November 1917 to Bernice Gaines (1894-1942), and the couple are believed to have remained childless through the entirety of their marriage. In 1918 Mason was elected as one of Hart County's representative in the Georgia State Assembly. Serving during the 1919-21 session, Mason was returned to that body for a second term in 1920 and two years was elected to the Georgia Senate. His time in that body coincided with his service on the Georgia Library Commission, and he resigned during this term, moving "his place of residence from Hartwell, Georgia to North Carolina."
   By the early 1930s Tennis S. Mason is recorded as having moved back to Hart County, Georgia, and in 1937 served as part of a delegation to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the construction of an "electric line" in Hart County. This delegation later led to the establishment of the Hart County Electric Membership Corporation, of which Mason would serve as an attorney and general manager in the mid-1950s.
   Mason would return to politics in 1940 when he was re-elected to the Georgia Senate. He would win a third term in 1946 and is listed as a "lawyer and farmer" in the 1945-50 Georgia State Register. Widowed in 1942, Tennis S. Mason died at age 87 in August 1972. Both he and his wife were buried at the Northview Cemetery in Hartwell, Georgia.

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