As part of my research I joined the rootsweb Mason email list group: http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/surname/m/mason.html and put out an inquiry if there were any others researching the same Masons.
I received a reply from Karen Dale mentioning that she was of the opinion that Bluford was listed as Beaufort, son of Francis, in the 1850 Pickens County, SC census.
So, I gave it a spin.
1850 Pickens Co SC; Western Divison:
Francis Mason age 43 M b. SC
Cele 46 F ""
Eliza 20 F ""
Asa 19 M ""
John 18 M ""
Richard 16 M ""
Matilda 14 F ""
Merrel 12 M ""
Beaufort 10 M ""
Other than Beaufort being the correct age, and having a brother named Merrel also the correct age, and the sister, Matilda, being the right age as Martha/Patsey, nothing gives us any fer shures.
I need to move to 1860 census records.
1860 Pickens County, SC:
There is a Francis Mason, age 53....however, he has had a sex-change operation and is now a woman.
Just kidding. But that's apparently not our Francis.
I did a search of all the census records by name, and found no other likely Francis Mason's anywhere in the US for 1860.
Assuming maybe he died and either the wife died also, or may be living in the household of one of the boys, I did a whole census search - all states, all years - for the oldest son, Asa.
An Asa turns up in Crawford County, Indiana in 1870:
Asa Mason age 39 b. SC
Seliah 47 ""
Martha 15 GA
Eliza 11 ""
Seliah E. 7 ""
Mary E. 3 IN
Fannie E. 3 ""
Ah-ha! We see Asa has children born in GA, prior to 1860. So I did an all-county Georgia search in 1860, and found in the Bells District, Cherokee County, GA, Canton P.O.:
A. Mason age 28 b.SC
S. 28 ""
M. ?L? 5 ""
(Yeah, yeah, I know, the ages and birth states don't match up, but that's not terribly unusual)
In the Little River District, Cherokee Co GA, Freemansville PO (which I believe was in the old Milton County) we find Thomas King and wife Martha, age 22, b. SC.
I believe this is Bluford's sister aka Patsey.
Although I can't find the rest of the family in the 1860 census, we do know that Bluford and Merrill both joined the Confederate Army in 1862. They joined in Dawson County, but Bluford listed his residence as being Cherokee Co, GA.
Then Merrill married Sarah Thaxton/Thackston in Cherokee Co, GA in 1866, and Merrill and family are listed in Cherokee Co, GA in the 1870 census.
The only names I have been able to come up with for Bluford in 1870 is a B.B. Mason in Wake County, NC, age 25, born in NC, who I'm pretty sure isn't ours.
The other is B.B. Mason, age 30, born SC, living in the household of Edward Wheeler in Texas County, MO (Missouri).
I don't know who Edward Wheeler is, but his oldest child, George, age 7 or 2, was born in Indiana....where, if you recall, is the state Asa Mason was living in in 1870.
Bumping along, stuck here, checking out other things....I ran across Bluford's youngest daughter, Addie Mason Lacy, in the 1930 Cherokee Co, GA census....where she claims her father was born/came from Indiana.
Of course, we know he wasn't, but that's not the point. The point is, Indiana is the thread tying stuff together here.
Francis had a son named Asa
Asa lived in Indiana
B.B. lived in MO with a family that had previously lived in Indiana
Addie thought her father came from Indiana
Too much coincedence tends to become no coincedence at all.
But don't write any of the above in stone!
1880 Crawford Co, Indiana Patoka Township Census:
Asa J. A. Mason age 49 SC/SC/SC
Cela 49 Wife SC/SC/SC
Eliza ?C? 22 Daughter GA/SC/SC
Elizabeth 17 Daughter GA/SC/SC
Mary 12 Daughter IN/SC/SC
James M. 9 Son IN/SC/SC
George W. 4 Son IN/SC/SC
No 1890 Census
1900 Crawford County, Indiana Patoka Township Census:
Asa J. Mason age 60 Feb. 1831 m. 48 yr. SC/SC/SC
Celia 69 Mar. 1831 10 children-4 living SC/SC/SC
Gracie Belcher Servant age 21 Feb.1879 Single IN/IN/IN
David ?. Mason age 29 Dec.1870 m.5year IN/IN/IN
Anna 39 Nov.1860 6 children-3living IN/IN/IN
Isaac A. 4 Oct. 1895 "
John W. 2 Oct. 1897 "
Leora ?Ratter? Servant age 21 Feb.1879 IN/IN/IN
(I don't know who David is, but keeping him around for later, just in case.)
1910 Crawford County, Indiana Pakota Township Census:
Andrew Robison age 40 m.22 years IN/IN/IN
Elizabeth C. 49 7 children-5 living IN/SC/SC
James Son 18 IN/IN/IN
Bluford Son 15 "
Ethel C. Daughter 8 "
Asa J. Mason father-in-law 79 Wd. SC/SC/SC
James brother-in-law 40 Single IN/SC/SC
George brother-in-law 34 Wd. SC/SC/SC
1920 - No Asa Mason's in Indiana
43rd Regiment, Georgia Infantry
43rd Infantry Regiment, organized at Big Shanty, Georgia, in April, 1862, contained men from Cherokee, Pickens, Cobb, Hall, Forsyth, Jefferson, and Jackson counties. The unit moved to Tennessee, then Mississippi where it placed under the command of General Barton in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. It took an active part in the conflicts at Chickasaw Bayou and Champion's Hill, and was captured when Vicksburg fell. After being exchanged, the 43rd was assigned to General Stovall's Brigade, Army of Tennessee. It was prominent in the numerous campaigns of the army from Missionary Ridge to Nashville, and ended the war in North Carolina. In December, 1863, it totalled 283 men and 251 arms, and in November, 1864, there were 130 fit for duty. On April 26, 1865, the unit surrendered. Its commanding officers were Colonels Hiram P. Bell, Skidmore Harris, and Henry C. Kellogg, and Major William C. Lester.
|Asa Mason (First_Last)|
|Regiment Name 43 Georgia Infantry.|
|Soldier's Rank_In Private|
|Soldier's Rank_Out Private|
Film Number M226 roll 38
Mason, Asa - private May 7, 1862. Roll dated April 30, 1864, last on file, shows him present. No later record.
Mason, Jackson J. - private March 10, 1862. Captured at Barbourville, Ky. September 4, 1862. Paroled and released there same day. No later record.
(I don't know who Jackson J. Mason is, but I thought I better write him down while I had him, since I might need him later...like Asa, who I overlooked before.)