Surveyors to Mark Charles Mason’s Grave in Philadelphia with Real Mason-Dixon Stone
Land surveyors, astronomers and history buffs from all across America, England and as far away as Australia will gather at Philadelphia this summer, to mark the nearly-forgotten grave of renowned early surveyor & astronomer Charles Mason.
It was Mason who teamed with English colleague Jeremiah Dixon in the 1760s to lay out the famed Mason-Dixon Line, a colonial boundary that settled long disputes between Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Decades later, after Pennsylvania outlawed slavery, their line became the quasi-legal division between slave states and free, in pre-Civil War America.
On August 31, 2013, in a ceremony open to the public, Charles Mason’s burial place will receive its first-ever grave marker --- 226 years after his death --- in the form of an authentic 1766 Mason-Dixon Stone, from the historic line the two Englishmen themselves placed upon the earth.
Mason died in 1786 and was laid to rest at Christ Church Burial Ground, in the shadow of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. His friend Benjamin Franklin paid for the funeral --- but Ben was too ‘thrifty’ to include a tombstone. As a result, Charles Mason’s grave has remained unmarked for more than two centuries . . . an oversight finally to be corrected this coming August.
The event is part of “Surveyors Rendezvous 2013,” a large annual gathering of land surveyors, antique-instrument collectors and kindred enthusiasts hosted by Surveyors Historical Society. Last year the group ‘rendezvoused’ along the Missouri River route of Lewis & Clark, but this coming summer – August 28 to 31, 2013 - the surveying world will rendezvous in and around the Historic Area of Philadelphia.