Book: ‘The Boy Governor’

Don Faber chronicles the life – and death – of Stevens T. Mason, the 19-year-old Secretary of the Michigan Territory
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Perhaps Stevens T. Mason had an inkling he would die early, which could explain why he was such a go-getter. At 19, he was appointed Secretary of the Michigan Territory. He forcefully pushed for statehood, helped write the state’s constitution, and was elected governor at 24.

His improbable but fascinating life — he died of pneumonia at 31 — is chronicled in Boy Governor: Stevens T. Mason and the Birth of Michigan Politics (University of Michigan Press, $70 cloth, $26.95 paper), by Don Faber.

Although Mason died in 1843, his legacy endures. A bronze statue of him stands in downtown Detroit’s Capitol Park. The county and city of Mason are named after him.

So are schools in Grosse Pointe Woods, Waterford Township, and Erie Township. Faber’s book puts a face on a name that’s writ large all over Michigan.

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