Revolutionary Hero, Builder and Mariner
By Lucy Davidson, former trustee
In 1755, Noah Mason was born to Melatiah Mason and Rebecca Millard in Dighton, Massachusetts. He and his family were British subjects, but following the deeply disturbing invasion of Lexington and Concord by the British in 1775, Noah enlisted in the Continental Army.
According to Long Island historian, Benjamin Thompson, his military career was an active one. Mason helped build forts at Dorchester Heights in Massachusetts and on the Hudson River at Tarrytown, New York. He participated in the Battle of Long Island and was wounded in the autumn of 1777 at the capture of General Burgoyne during the turning-point Battle of Saratoga. He was discharged in 1778.
Mason then moved to Connecticut and sailed a merchant ship from New London. On December 14, 1786 he married Lucretia Kinnie (1770-1855) in Preston, Connecticut. He worked at sea for another 20 years. Noah and Lucretia had three children: Sally (1788-1845), Mary (1792-1867), and Albert (1798-1871).
It is impossible to discuss Noah Mason without touching on the lighthouse he built in Sands Point, New York. During his time at sea he likely lamented the lack of dependable beacons in Long Island Sound to warn ships of danger. In 1789, the first Congress of the United States gave the Treasury Department responsibility for erecting and maintaining lighthouses. US Senator Samuel Mitchell of Plandome sponsored a bill to build a lighthouse on Sands Point and in March, 1809, the Treasury awarded the contract to Noah Mason, who submitted the winning bid. By November of the same year, the work was completed.
Mason was appointed lighthouse keeper, but he and his family did not live at the lighthouse, as some do. Instead, he had his own farm at the end of what we know today as Hoffstots Lane, then called Mason’s Island. Upon his passing in 1841, his wife, Lucretia briefly acted as keeper until a successor could be found.
Noah Mason is buried in the Sands Family Cemetery, Sands Point, New York. His grave marker is distinctive because of the lack of funerary artwork which was so common before and during the Revolution. However styles were changing, materials were changing and the United States of America was taking its place in the world. Below is his epitaph:
who died Feb ye 27th 1841
in his 84th year
a Soldier of the Revolutionary Struggle
Farewell to all my days are ore
With you on Earth I meet no more
Ceace to weep or shed a tear
Surviving wife and children dear
“Sands Point (the Mitchell Light) Lighthouse,” NewYorkLighthouses.com
“Lighthouse History,” Port Washington News, Nov. 7, 2015
“Sands Point Lighthouse, New York,” lighthousefriends.com
“Sands Point: Its History, Its People, Its Places,” Joan Gay Kent
“Memento Mori: The Gravestones of Early Long Island,” Richard F. Welch
“Captain Noah Mason,” ancestry.com
“Noah Mason,” findagrave.com