On the morning of Tuesday, April 4, 1882, the chairman of the Ramsey County Bar Association appeared before the Minnesota Supreme Court and offered resolutions adopted by the Association honoring the late Henry F. Masterson. They were accepted and ordered entered into the minutes of the Court by the Chief Justice. This is one of the few times in the 19th century when the Court adopted memorials of deceased lawyers who had never served on the bench.
Masterson and Orlando Simons, his friend and law partner, arrived in Minnesota Territory in 1849. The firm developed a general practice, while Masterson began to concentrate on railroad law. He helped form railroad companies, secured rights of way, defended them in various suits, lobbied the legislature and even drafted laws that benefited the roads. He became known as the state's "first railroad lawyer." His most famous case was Farnsworth v. Minnesota and Pacific Railroad Company, 92 U. S. 45 (1875).
On March 13, 1882, while crossing railroad tracks in downtown St. Paul, Masterson was struck by a train engine. He died on March 19, at age fifty-six. In memorial proceedings for the Ramsey County Bar Association, General Sanborn recalled him:
"Mr. Masterson appeared at his best when arguing abstruse questions of law, so frequently occurring in the early history of the state. It was his delight to get such cases, and by patient work illustrate when the darkness ended and light commenced. In such cases he doubted if the state ever had Mr. Masterson's equal. And it was not for the peculiar consideration that he delighted in these cases. This fact was strongly illustrated in a case involving only about $200, but in which the decision reached mainly through Mr. Masterson's untiring researches, had resulted in a decision of great benefit to the people of the state. One of his latest, and probably the greatest effort of his life was before the United States Supreme Court in Washington in the old St. Paul & Pacific cases, and it delighted him at the time to be told by Justice Field that, although the case had to be decided against him, he had given the court more trouble to get over the points raised than in any case ever before them."