River Portal (East Portal), Colorado

I'm Irish & I'm a Mason...and I have a story to tell.

Sit By The River - Share My Journey

These entries document the stories of the men, women and children who lived at River Portal, Montrose County, Colorado while working on the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel - a historic pioneering project that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2009.

Please read from the first entry forwards as I tend to have my own writing style that's more like reading a book than an entry that can be read individually. Reading the posts separate from each other doesn't really convey the story properly. :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Children of John Patrick & Anna (Phillips) Mason





It's so beautiful and peaceful sitting here by the river! I could do this for hours and hours! Oh yes...that's funny...I HAVE done this for hours! When I sat down here to share my stories I thought that you might all get bored and leave. I'm so glad you didn't! If we need sleep breaks there's a little campground over there. You can't see it very well from here. I'm sure it will accomodate us. Aren't you glad you brought your camping and fishing gear?

Our little group has grown. I'm really thrilled to welcome my cousin John William Mason! I told you about him. Remember? It's taken him a little bit to get here but he's brought his two little ones with him. My goodness...they've grown so much! The years pass so quickly! John loves being out in nature too and he loves to bring his son John Jr. and his daughter Jamie Jo on his treks. It's really fitting to have the children here with us. They're the future. We pass the past on to them. It's their heritage.

I want to tell you about the children of John and Anna Mason. Four of their children lived here at River Portal. Three were born here. One died here. I shared this picture before but I'd like to share it again. This is the only picture we have of the family when they lived at River Portal. That's my great grandmother Anna standing there looking so elegant with her hand resting on the back of my great grandfather John Patrick Mason. My grandfather John Joseph Mason is standing there in a cute little hat. My great aunt Theresa is standing on the other side next to her daddy. She's got a hat on that I wouldn't necessarily call cute. Maybe interesting - but not cute. It's big. I'll give it that. Maybe that was the fashion of the day. On my great grandpa's lap is little James.

The 1910 census for River Portal shows the family at household #17. John is listed as "John G." instead of "John P." He's 30 years old; born in Ireland; immigrated in 1905; has his naturalization application pending; and is a driller on the tunnel. Anna is also 30 years old; born in Ireland; immigrated in 1906. The census shows that John and Anna had been married 8 years. My grandpa is listed as 5 years old; born in Ireland; immigrated in 1906. Theresa is listed as being 3 years old and born in Colorado. James is listed as 1 yr. 3 mos. and born in Colorado. (Church records from Montrose show he was baptized at River Portal. Daniel is listed as being 2 months old. He died the same year.

In 1912 daughter Mary joined the family in Provo, Utah. The family had left River Portal that year and were on their way to Idaho. There were likely family members already in Utah as many extended family members had immigrated to America and spread all over the country - from coast to coast. Many were miners - as John Patrick had been before he came to America and after.

Thomas joined the family in 1914. Anna came along in 1916. Finally Michael was born in 1920. These three were all born in Cambridge, Idaho.

Where did they end up?

John Joseph Mason married Gladys Electa Brown. Here's a picture of them together. This other picture of my grandpa reminds me of how we Masons love to sit just about anywhere out in nature. The picture of him fishing is sad now but it reminds me that he loved fishing. He died in 1975 in Tillamook, Oregon. He drowned while fishing in the Trask River.

Theresa married at least twice. One was to an unknown Collins. The other marriage was to Francis Paul Favre. Theresa died in 2001 in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.

James died in 1994 in Weiser, Idaho.

Daniel died in 1910 at River Portal in Montrose County, Colorado.

Mary married Roy C. Blakley. She died in 1989 in Weiser, Idaho.

Thomas died in 2001 (shortly after helping my cousin John get those pictures and letters to me). He also died in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Anna married John Henry Higgins. They had a tragic ending. Anna and John and one of their sons - Paul - were all killed in a house fire in 1976.

Michael married Betty Jo Howland and died in 2002 in Baker City, Oregon.

These are the eight children of John Patrick and Anna (Phillips) Mason. They live on through their many descendants. I take comfort in knowing that John Patrick and Anna only knew the grief of losing Daniel. They didn't live to know of the tragic deaths of their son John Joseph or their daughter Anna (Mason) Higgins & grandson Paul Higgins. I believe their faith would have carried them through anything though. They were very strong people. I'm proud to be one of their many descendants.

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