John Mason and Tracy F. Millard
contributed by Jon Kime
“On Sunday morning July 7,1878 John Mason, who had long sustained a bad character, and was well known to officers of the law, was on his from Cedar Rapids to the house of his sister in Benton Township: near Mills Creek he became alarmed by something suspicious in the brush, and leaped from the buggy. He was fired upon by a party concealed in the woods, and fell mortally wounded in the hip before he could reach the shelter of the woods. It is said that Millard F. Tracy was about to fire at the fallen man again after he fell, but was prevented by Henry Fisher and Mason was taken to Fisher’s house where his wounds were dressed, and then he was started off in a wagon to Tracy’s house accompanied by GF McCoy and Charles Hanover. Between twelve and one o’clock, Sunday afternoon, the wounded man was laying on a bed in the southwest corner of the south room in Tracy’s dwelling. Hanover was sitting on the east edge of the room. Tracy and McCoy, it is said, were seated at a table on the north side of the north room. Tracy and McCoy testified that the assassins fired a volley at them as they sat at the table, but did not injure them. However this may be and their testimony is not received with implicit credence, the murders passed into the south room to the bedside of Mason and perforated his body with bullets. Five wounds, at least, any one of which would have proved fatal, were found by Dr Langstroth, of Vinton”. “It was said John Mason killed many men in his life time”....”After Mason was shot, Mason stated he would kill everyone of them and level the town of Vinton, and they knew Mason ands his gang would do just that. After He was taken to Tracy’s house the men who had ambushed him had a meeting in the other room and decided Mason had to die”....”These men were never convicted, but lived in fear the Mason gang would find-them-out and kill them,”
Tracy F Millard was an ex-Catholic Priest who lived deep in the woods, along the Cedar River, in Benton Township. Jacob Brumwell and later Jim Brumwell hired him to help make hay and haul manure. He sometimes gave sermens on Sundays at the Lower Stone School House, which the Brumwell's attended.
BACK IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS By Edward R Brumwell pages 23,24 & 253.
the Benton County Historical Society has a copy of this book
THE HISTORY OF BENTON COUNTY IOWA 1988 page 41
My Great Grandparents George and Fannie Brumwell Williams knew Tracy Millard.
My Grandmother Freda Faye Williams Rasley Kime also remembered him when she read about the murder of John Mason.