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Thomson Francis Mason and Thomas Swann Families papers

 Collection 0143-MDHC

This collection encompasses the business dealings and personal lives of the extended family of Thomas Swann (1809-1883), the governor of Maryland from 1866 to 1869. The Swanns and Masons were an extended family with a long history in Maryland and Virginia. The invoices, correspondence, checks, and land deeds and indentures in the collection cover such subjects as politics, the Clapham family, and the Virginia connection between the Swann and Mason families.


  • 1745-1930
  • Majority of material found within 1745-1912

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


2.75 Linear Feet (1 Holligner box, 1 half-Hollinger box, 1 oversize box)

1 Items (Mapcase 15)

Scope and Content of Collection

The Thomson Francis Mason and Thomas Swann Families papers cover the years 1745 through 1930, with the bulk of the material dating between 1745-1912. The collection contains family correspondence, financial, and legal documents. The correspondence includes topics of love, condolence, illness, and travels. The financial documents include invoices, checks, and receipts for clothing, school tuition, boarding of horses, and everyday purchases including horse equipment. The legal documents consist mainly of 18th century indentures and land records.

Family History

Thomson Francis Mason (1785-1838), a grandson of George Mason, the Virginia patriot, was a prominent Virginia lawyer whose home, "Colross", was near Alexandria, VA. In 1817, he married Elizabeth [Betsey] Clapham Price (1802-1873). Elizabeth was related to Josias (d. 1803) and Samuel Clapham (d. 1826), Virginia landowners. Following the death of her husband, she purchased "Chestnut Hill", Loudon County, Virginia and maintained it and "Colross". Thomson and Elizabeth had nine children, including John Francis (1828-1897), a doctor, and Caroline Betty (1832-1919). John Francis married Carolina Rodriguez (1842-1912). Carolina's sister, Alice (d. circa 1886) was married to John Lapham Bullis (1841-1911), a U. S. Army officer posted to the Indian Territory (now Texas and Oklahoma) in the 1880s.

John Francis Mason and Carolina Rodriguez had two children. Their son, Thomson Francis (1868-1946) was a judge. Their daughter, Carita Douglas (1867-1889) married Thomas Swann (1864-1896) in 1887. He was the son of Thomas Swann (1848-1866) and Ellen Penrose (1843-1916) and the grandson of Thomas Swann (1809-1883), a governor of Maryland. Carita and Thomas had one son, Thomas (1889-1961).

Following the death of her husband in 1866, Ellen Penrose Swann married Ferdinand C. Latrobe (1833-1911), a mayor of Baltimore. Latrobe's first wife was Louisa Sherlock Swann (1838-1865), a daughter of Thomas Swann, the governor. They had one son, Thomas Swann Latrobe (1863-1894).


The collection has been divided into four series.

Series 1
Biographical Information
Series 2
Series 3
Financial Documents
Series 4
Legal Documents

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The Thomson Francis Mason and Thomas Swann Families papers were purchased from John Gach Book Service by the University of Maryland Archives in 1982.

Processing Information

The papers were placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes.

Guide to the Thomson Francis Mason and Thomas Swann Families papers
Processed by Terry Ann Sayler, July 2009 (initially October 1982).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742