Thomas Williams Mason (1839-1921) was the son of Temperance Arrington and Nathaniel Mason of Brunswick County, VA. He attended boarding school in Warren County, NC, and entered the University in 1854, joining the Philanthropic Society and becoming a charter member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. During his sophomore year he won an award for the best English composition (Battle 1:669). Mason graduated with first honors in 1858, delivering the Latin salutatory. From 1858 to 1860 he attended law school at the University of Virginia. In 1860 he married Elizabeth (Bettie) Gray (1839-97); the couple had three daughters and one son. Mason served on Gen. Robert Ransom's staff during the Civil War, then returned to his wife's parents' plantation Longview in Northampton County, NC. He also managed farming operations in Virginia and Louisiana. Mason was a judge (1877-85), a member of the NC Senate (1885, 1895, and 1915) and a University trustee (1909-13) (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 4:234-35).