Mason Brayman was born in Buffalo, New York, on May 23, 1813. At the age of twenty-two he was editor of the Buffalo Bulletin and in later years edited newspapers in Illinois and Kentucky. After admission to the New York bar, he settled in Monroe, Michigan, where he was city attorney for a time. Moving to Illinois in 1842, he practiced law. Among other activities he wrote an introduction to the Revised Statutes; attempted to settle the disputes between the Mormons and their hostile neighbors at Nauvoo; served as a regent of the University of Illinois; reported the proceedings of the state constitutional convention of 1847 for the St. Louis Union; and acted as general solicitor for the new Illinois Central Railroad, whose right-of-way he helped secure. Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, Brayman volunteered for service and in August, 1861, was commissioned major of the 19th Illinois Infantry. He was advanced to colonel in April, 1862, and was appointed brigadier general of volunteers to rank from September 24, 1862. Brayman fought at Belmont, Fort Donelson, and Shiloh and commanded the post at Bolivar, Tennessee, until 1 June, 1863. Thereafter he commanded Camp Dennison, Ohio, and, during the last year of the war, the post of Natchez, Mississippi. Brevetted major general for gallant and meritorious services, General Brayman retired to private life. He lived in Missouri and Arkansas for a time in connection with some railroad interests. He then became editor of the Illinois State Journal. In 1873 he moved to Wisconsin, but three years later was appointed governor of Idaho Territory. Returning to Wisconsin upon the expiration of his term of office, he moved some years later to Kansas City, where he resided until his death on February 27, 1895. He is buried at Ripon, Wisconsin.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.