Stevens Thomson Mason was born October 27
. The following year, his father moved the family to Lexington, Kentucky
to seek his fortune. By 1820
, his father had managed to make, and subsequently lose, a good deal of money. Stevens was eventually forced to quit school and find work as a grocer.
In 1830, his father was appointed Secretary of Michigan Territory by President Andrew Jackson, and the family moved to Detroit. Assisting his father, Stevens quickly became an adept politician, and when his father left the post for a new appointment in 1831, Stevens became the new Territorial Secretary at just 19 years old.
Within a month, a new Territorial Governor was appointed. However, the new Governor, George B. Porter, took little interest in the position, and Stevens was left to run the show. Although Porter technically served as Governor
until 1834, it was Mason that was addressed as Governor, or as the press liked to call him, the "Boy Governor". Even though he was not of legal voting age when he took office, he hated the nickname, and when he came across the editor of the newspaper that coined the name on the streets of Detroit, Mason gave him a sound beating.
Assaults on the press aside, Mason was an effective leader. When Congress ignored Michigan's petition for statehood, Mason called for a territorial census, and later petitioned the Territorial Council for a constitutional convention, which convened in 1835.
By October of that year, Michigan voters had approved the state constitution, and Mason was elected as governor. However, Congress refused to admit Michican into the Union until the territorial dispute with Ohio, dubbed the "Toledo War" was settled. In 1836, a compromise was reached, in which Michigan relinquished its claim on the Toledo Strip in exhange for a large portion of the Upper Peninsula. On January 26, 1837, Michigan was admitted into the Union.
Mason was reelected for a second term, but the Panic of 1837 left him in a dire political situation. Mason decided to quit while he was ahead, and cited national precedent for not seeking a third term. He becan a law practice with
an old friend, leaving for New York City in 1840.
However, Mason's old enemies were not quite done with him. William Woodbridge, now Governor of Michigan, fabricated a charge of bribery against the ex-governor. Mason returned to Michigan to defend himself, but in 1841 left for good. While attempting to establish a law practice in New York, he
contracted pnuemonia and died on January 5, 1843.
Mason was interred at Marble Cemetery in New York City until 1905, when he returned to Detroit, buried below the site where his office once stood.