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Hubert Kelly Waldron papers

 Collection 0154-MDHC

The Hubert Kelly Waldron papers span the years 1815 to 1962 and include Waldron's papers as well as those of his mother, children and grandchildren. 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. The papers consist primarily of correspondence relating to day-to-day business and family subjects, including Hubert Kelly Waldron's murder in 1848. But the family also witnessed some of the most turbulent times in Ireland's history, including the potato blight and subsequent famines, mass emigration, and the Fenian uprisings.


  • 1815-1962
  • Majority of material found within 1815-1860

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


8 Linear Feet

18 Photographs

Scope and Content of Collection

The Hubert Kelly Waldron papers cover the years 1815 to 1962. The correspondents in the papers do not often allude to the problems facing Ireland during the time of the Great Hunger. As relatively wealthy landowners, these problems would not have affected the Waldron family as deeply as they did their tenants. However, family members were aware of these issues as shown in letters dealing with relieving distress, and collecting and distributing clothing and food for the poor. Most of the papers deal with everyday issues of visiting, health, farming, births and deaths in the family, and day-to-day family issues. There are also many letters and other papers having to do with Hubert Kelly's business transactions. Important subjects include: potato famine, Fenian uprising, teachings of the Lord, money for passage to America, use of property for Cholera Hospital, flannel garments sent to Belfast for the needy, murder of Hubert Kelly Waldron and testimony at the subsequent inquest. There are also financial documents, recipes and family histories.

Family History

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.


This collection is organized into four series.

Series 1
Family Correspondence
Series 2
Family Interest
Series 3
Correspondence -- other people
Series 4

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Major P. W. Malins, The White House, Puddletown (Dorchester), Dorset, England, deposited the Hubert Kelly Waldron papers with the University of Maryland Libraries in 1970.

Related Material

"The Cochecho Massacre," Dover, New Hampshire Public Library. (

Processing Information

Photographs that were filed in the Biographical Print Files were returned to the collection in July 2011.

Guide to the Hubert Kelly Waldron Papers
Processing by unknown
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742