Watch out! There’s a moose on the loose, and his name is Mason, the official mascot for the “Moose on the Loose” curriculum.
Mason loves all things related to the Granite State. He is five years old, which makes him a teenager in “moose” years, as most moose live to be 15 or 20 years old. He was born on a rainy April day in the forest near Mount Kearsarge. His nearsightedness makes it difficult for him to travel at night and watch movies, and unfortunately, Mason is always misplacing his glasses, although you might see him wearing his monocle or a pair of spectacles from time to time on this website.
Mason's favorite snack is birch bark, and his favorite book is If You Give a Moose a Muffin because he also loves to eat muffins, especially wild blueberry muffins dipped in maple syrup! Mason loves wallowing in New Hampshire's many ponds where he can avoid pesky moose flies. Of course, the thing he likes most is learning about New Hampshire history, so he spends most of his time traveling around the state, searching for the places where Granite State history has happened—which is basically everywhere!
Our moose friend Mason is named after Captain John Mason, the “founder” of New Hampshire who called this land after his home county: Hampshire, England. John Mason and his friend Sir Ferdinando Gorges were granted a charter in 1622 to all the land lying between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers. Seven years later, they decided to split the charter in half at the Piscataqua River, with John Mason taking the southern portion (what become New Hampshire) and Gorges taking the northern portion (what became Maine).
But John Mason never actually made it to New Hampshire. Sadly he died right before he was scheduled to sail from England and never had the chance to see the land that had captured his imagination. Over the years, John Mason’s family lost interest in New Hampshire until many decades later when his grandson Robert Tufton Mason decided to reassert his ancestor’s claim to New Hampshire on his family’s behalf. Although the Mason family’s claim was tied up in the courts for many years, eventually title to large portions of New Hampshire did revert to them.
Robert Tufton Mason’s descendant, John Tufton Mason, sold the last of the family’s New Hampshire holdings in 1748 to a group of 12 prominent men in the colony who dubbed themselves the Masonian Proprietors. With thousands of acres at their disposal, the Masonian Proprietors embarked on a program to establish towns and settle families here. Many New Hampshire towns date their founding to the grants offered by the Masonian Proprietors in the mid 1700s.
Given the Mason family's importance in settling New Hampshire, it's only fitting that our moose mascot is named in their honor. Just as the Mason family encouraged the exploration of this land, Mason the Moose inspires kids across New Hampshire to learn more about the state they love!