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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part V - Biographies
John Stevenson McMaster


JOHN STEVENSON MCMASTER, of Jersey City, N. J., was born December 29, 1859, in Pocomoke, Maryland, the second son of John Thomas Bayly McMaster, MD., and Elizabeth Grace Stevenson. His father, Dr. McMaster (1827-1889), was a Union Democrat during the Civil War, served in the Maryland Senate, was Postmaster and Collector of Internal Revenue, first President of the railroad to Pocomoke, and practised his profession of physician and surgeon in Pocomoke for forty years preceding his death in 1889. His brother, Col. Samuel Schoolfield McMaster (1818-1885), was a farmer, school-examiner and State Senator for Worcester County, Maryland.

Mr. McMaster is of Highland ancestry. (Buchanan Clan) on his father’s side and Lowland Scottish ancestry on his mother ‘s side. He has been President of the McMaster Clan of America since its organization in 1911. His McMaster and Stevenson forebears came from Scotland to Ireland, and thence to the eastern shores of Maryland and Virginia more than two hundred years ago. His great-grandfather, Rev. Samuel McMaster (1744-1811), often styled Bishop McMaster in the minutes of Presbytery, came from Scotland or the North of Ireland and was pastor at the same time of the Presbyterian churches at Snow Hill, Pitts Creek and Rehoboth, Md. (his only charges for thirty-seven years, 1774-1811) during the Revolutionary War period. These are the oldest regularly organized Presbyterian churches in America, having been founded by Rev. Francis Makemie, of Ramelton, Ireland, in 1683. Mr. McMaster’s grandfather, Samuel II (1789-1836), was one of seven children of Rev. Samuel McMaster and Ann Quiet, of Huguenot descent, of Accornac County, Va. Samuel II and his wife, Ann Bayly Merrill, resided on a farm near Pocomoke. Their son, Dr. John T. B. McMaster, one of four children, had seven children, of whom three died young: Harriet Ann, who married Herbert H. King; Mary Elizabeth, who married Henry N. Willis, M.D.; Samuel Bayly McMaster, artist and accountant, unmarried; and the subject of this sketch. Mrs. King and Samuel B. occupy the ancestral home in Pocomoke, where their mother lived for seventy-one years until her death in 1903.

Mr. McMaster studied at Pocomoke High School and Delaware College, and was graduated from Lafayette College, 1883, degree of A.B., and was Latin Salutatorian, later receiving the degree of A.M. He taught in Pocomoke High School, 1878-1880, and in Morris Academy, Morristown, N. J., mathematics and natural science, 1883-1888; and while in Morristown, studied law with Vice-Chancellor Henry C. Pitney, and at the University of Virginia in 1885. He was admitted to the bar, Trenton, N. J., June, 1888, as attorney, and June, 1891, as counsellor, and later appointed a Special Master in Chancery and a Supreme Court Commissioner. He practised law in Dover, N. J., June, 1888 to November, 1889, as an associate of Justice Mahlon Pitney, now of the United States Supreme Court. He has since practised alone, in Jersey City, except for seven years (1892-1899), when he was in partnership with Asa W. Dickinson and Charles D. Thompson. Mr. McMaster ‘s practice is largely in the Court of Chancery and in the management of estates. He has also held a number of important receiverships. He served as Private Secretary (Democratic) to President George T. Werts of the Senate, in 1889, and in the same capacity to Speaker William C. Heppenheimer of the House, in 1890; to President Robert Adrian of the Senate, 1891 and 1892; and to Governor George T. Werts, 1893-1896, during his term as Governor of New Jersey. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa; the Washington Association of Morristown, N. J.; the Original Research Society of Maryland; National Geographic Society, Presbyterian Historical Society of Philadelphia and American Bar Association. He has been an elder in the First Presbyterian Church, Jersey City, since 1895, and is an ex-President of the Children’s Society of Jersey City.

His chief recreations are travelling, walking and reading, mainly history and biography. He has been abroad three times; the last time in 1914, when he was accompanied by his wife and two sons. He has made many public addresses on various topics, and some political speeches. He made one of the principal addresses at the unveiling of the monument in Virginia to the Rev. Francis Makemie, May 14, 1908. He is author of Sketch of Rev. Samuel McMaster, Sketch of John S. Stevenson, and articles Makemieland, Land of Evergreens, Purpose of the Old Home Prize, and The Head, Hand and Heart Method.

Mr. McMaster married, May 15, 1894. at Pocomoke, Md., Louisa Jane Dennis, daughter of Hon. Samuel K. Dennis and Sally Crisfield. They have two sons: John Dennis, born Sept. 2, 1897, Princeton, class of 1919; and Alfred Dennis, born April 29, 1903. Their home, since their marriage, has been on Jersey City Heights. Mr. McMaster ‘s business address is 1 Exchange Place, and his residence address is 39 Bentley Avenue, Jersey City, N. J.


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