Historical Marker #1081 marks the site of property that belonged to George Mason, the author of the Virginia Bill of Rights and Constitution. Although he owned about 60,000 acres of land in Daviess County, he died in 1792 without ever having visited Kentucky.
George Mason was born in Fairfax County, Virginia in 1725. After his father died when he was ten, Mason was greatly influenced by his uncle, John Mercer, and his 1,500 volume library. He entered politics in 1759, and became a leader of Virginia Patriots during the American Revolution. In 1787, Mason was a Virginia delegate along with George Washington and James Madison (the latter of whom also owned land in Daviess County) to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. His model for Virginia’s constitution was soon adopted by most of the existing states and also, in part, into the United States Constitution.
Mason objected to the powers given to government over the people in the Constitution and refused to sign it. His criticism of the Constitution helped bring about the Bill of Rights as an addendum, which was approved by a vote of 89 to 79 in 1787. In December 1791, the U.S. Bill of Rights was ratified in time for Mason to put his fears to rest; however, he died less than a year later at the age of 66. Mason County, Kentucky is named for George Mason.