Ohio History Journal

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Almost every community of considerable size and age has

furnished one or more characters who have been prominent for a

life and acts that were for the good of that special locality, and

often for the state or nation at large. One who stood in this

threefold relation was Hon. Samson Mason, of Springfield, Ohio.

Mr. Mason was born in the state of New York in 1793. He

attended the public schools of the day, served in the War of

1812 and at its close entered upon the study of law. With a

certificate in hand indicating that he had spent the required time

in such study under the direction of a lawyer, he came to Cleve-

land, Ohio, in 1818, thence to Steubenville, thence to Zanes-

ville and Chillicothe. The Supreme Court of Ohio was in ses-

sion in the latter place. Young Mason presented himself before

that court for admission to the practice of law in this state. But

none of the Judges of the Court nor any of the lawyers present

had ever heard of his instructor, Mr. Thaddeus Wood, the name

of the the attorney affixed to his certificate. No one knew that

such a person existed, so nothing could be done toward his ad-

mission. Neither was there a man in the state who knew Mr.

Mason, and who might testify in his behalf. It was finally sug-

gested to him that there might be one man, Caleb Atwater, Esq.,

who possibly knew Mr. Wood, Mason's instructor. Mr. Atwater

lived at Circleville, many miles away. Young Mason at once

rode to Circleville, called upon Mr. Atwater and told him his

dilemma. Mr. Atwater heard his story, sympathized with the

young man, and though there was a fierce winter storm raging,

he went back with him, stated to the Court that he knew Mr.

Wood and testified as to the credibility of the signature on

Mason's certificate.

In the latter part of 1818 Attorney Mason, now fully

authorized to perform the duties of a barrister, came to Spring-