Hubert Kelly Waldron and his family lived at Ashfort (sometimes spelled Ashford) House in Drumsna, County Leitrim, Ireland. They were Anglo-Irish, King James I having granted Dromellan Castle to Sir Richard Waldron in 1609. This property was later sold by Sir Richard's great-grandson, Henry, who then settled at Catron near Carrick-on-Shannon, Country Leitrim. Another ancestor, Richard Waldron (born 1609), had emigrated to America around 1635, becoming a major in the militia in New Hampshire, dying at the hands of local Native Americans in what became known as the "Cochecho Massacre." Henry's descendent, Elizabeth Barbara inherited Ashfort House and, on September 5, 1816 married her cousin, Hubert Kelly Waldron. They had seven children. The three boys, Francis, Arthur and Hubert all died in infancy. The daughters were Barbara Elizabeth who married John Hamilton, Mary Kelly and Sarah, both of whom married men named Potterson and some of whose descendents emigrated to Australia; and Rebecca Elizabeth, who married William Cullen.
Born September 10, 1795, Hubert Kelly Waldron was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and in 1832 became High Sheriff of County Leitrim, Ireland. His first wife, Elizabeth Barbara Waldron died in 1824, and in December 1831 he married Eleanor ('Ellen') Johnstone. With Eleanor, Hubert Kelly had one more child, a son named Hubert Johnstone Kelly Waldron, who became a captain in the 31st Regiment of the British Army. Hubert Kelly's half brother, Frank Waldron, chose to emigrate to America.
Hubert Kelly Waldron appears to have had a colorful personality; he had frequent money problems and a talent for alienating people. As a Justice of the Peace, he was responsible for collecting taxes to fund the Poor Laws. The Poor Laws Commission called for parishes to be grouped into unions to spread out the cost of poor relief and for a central authority for each to be established. Hubert Kelly Waldron was involved with administration of the local workhouse at Carrick-on-Shannon.
For Ireland's poor, the potato comprised sixty percent of their diet and so the occurrence of the potato blight from 1845 to 1849, on top of previous economic problems, quickly led to mass starvation and emigration, known in Ireland as "The Great Hunger." The population plummeted by nearly fifty percent from 8 million to 4.4 million by 1911. The Great Hunger led directly to open rebellion in 1848 and the Fenian rebellion in 1867. These issues are discussed in some of the correspondence in this collection. Given their family history and position within Irish society, the Waldron family sympathized with the British, more than the Irish, in political affairs. The collection also contains material concerning Hubert Kelly Waldron's son, Hubert Johnstone Waldron's participation in the suppression of the February, 1867 Fenian uprising in Tipperary, which is generally considered to be the first engagement of the Irish War of Independence.
The issue of Irish Home Rule predominated from the 1870s until the partition of Ireland in 1921, which resulted in a majority Catholic independent Irish Free State and a separate Northern Ireland that remained part of the United Kingdom.
On January 27, 1848, Hubert Kelly Waldron was shot and killed at Ashfort House in an altercation with an official attempting to serve papers resulting from a suit brought by Mr. George Church.
Barbara Elizabeth succeeded her father at Ashfort and married Patrick Hamilton in 1852. Their children were Hubert Francis Waldron-Hamilton; John and Elizabeth, who both died young; and Jane Waldron, who married Robert Patterson.