Richard Russell Waldron

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Richard Russell Waldron
Sloop USS Vincennes in the Antarctic, the ship that Waldron sailed in during the Wilkes Expedition
Sloop USS Vincennes in the Antarctic, the ship that Waldron sailed in during the Wilkes Expedition
Born (1803-03-28)March 28, 1803
Died October 30, 1846(1846-10-30) (aged 43)
Occupation Purser, U.S. Navy
Spouse(s) none
Children none
Parents Daniel Waldron and Olive Sheafe

Richard Russell Waldron was a purser [1] "and special agent"[2][3] in the Wilkes Expedition, together with younger brother[4] Thomas Westbrook Waldron (consul). Several landmarks were named after him or his brother. After the expedition was completed Waldron enjoyed some popularity and influence in Washington, D.C.

Youth[edit]

Born March 28, 1803, the oldest son of Daniel Waldron and Olive Huske Sheafe,[5] he would have seen the 1819 bankruptcy of his father, the 1820 loss of the substantial landholdings that his family had possessed continuously since his ancestor Richard Waldron began to acquire Dover, New Hampshire holdings in 1635, and the 1821 death of his father.

Family heirlooms[edit]

By February 1827 he was "of Portsmouth" and he had possession of his ancestor Richard Waldron's papers.[6] In September 1845 he provided Father Sebastien Rale's strongbox, another family heirloom, for safekeeping to the Massachusetts Historical Society.[7]

Wilkes Expedition[edit]

Waldron was a member of the Wilkes Expedition which in 1840 visited Antarctica. Cape Waldron was named after him.

In July 1840 the Wilkes Expedition named a small Fijian island after Waldron.[8][9] This island may be more often referred to by its dual name of Namotu Island.[10]

This expedition also charted much of the west coast of the then-disputed Washington state coast, including the San Juan Islands of present-day Washington State. In May 1841 one of the islands was named Waldron Island. It is difficult to sort out which Waldron brother lent his name to this island.

The expedition also visited Hawaii where "Purser R. R. Waldron and Joseph Drayton ventured inside the crater [ Kilauea Caldera in present day Hawaii Volcanoes National Park] and walked on the dome's hot surface until lava oozed through cracks that formed within fifteen feet of them."[11] Waldron Ledge, which overlooks the caldera from the eastern rim, is a popular twenty minute hike from the park visitor's center where rangers often take groups on short talks.[12][13]

Waldron also witnessed a treaty between the United States (signed by Wilkes) and the Sultan of Sulu in 1842.[14]

Washington, D.C.[edit]

In the months after the conclusion of the Wilkes Expedition, several of the officers found themselves much in demand in Washington society. "Chief among the widely traveled sailors being adoringly feted was Richard R. Waldron ...."[15] "...[T]he well-connected Richard Waldron ... was scheduled to dine with Secretary of State Daniel Webster at the secretary's home that evening [December 24, 1842]."[16]

In December 1842 he was among those credited with assisting the delegation from the Kingdom of Hawaii. They "received encouragement and support from knowledgeable and experienced naval officers, most notably Charles Wilkes and Richard Waldron, who had traversed the immense reaches of the Pacific Ocean and understood the strategic importance of the Hawaiian Islands.... In all, these [and other] insider contacts paved the way for Haalilio and Richards to meet on seven occasions with the reluctant and evasive Secretary Webster. Eventually the Hawaiian delegates also succeeded in having an audience with President Tyler and other members of his cabinet.[17]

Waldron was even linked with Julia Gardiner, future wife of President Tyler. Before that romance flourished, "it seems Julia and sister Margaret often went dancing and that Julia's date sometimes was naval officer Richard R. Waldron, 23, who had been a member of the Pacific explorations of Wilkes. Julia considered him too "boyish".[18] Having passed up Mr. Waldron, Julia Gardiner Tyler became the second wife of President John Tyler a couple of years later, at the age of 24.

Historian Edward Crapol incorrectly characterizes the then-39 year old Richard Russell Waldron as a young 23 year old midshipman[19] in 1842, and Lyle Emerson Nelson follows him in that.[20] It is not known whether Waldron appeared very young for his age, or if his youngest brother Thomas (then 28) was misidentified as him.

Death[edit]

Waldron died unmarried on October 30, 1846,[21] four years after the Wilkes Expedition concluded.

Landmarks[edit]

Cape Waldron in Antarctica,[22] and perhaps two Waldron Islands, one in Fiji and a possible second island in Washington state,[23] are named after him. Waldron Ledge overlooking the Kilauea Caldera in Hawaii is named after him.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rev. Alonzo H. Quint, Historical Memoranda Concerning Persons and Places in Old Dover, New Hampshire, p.407 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=I7zpekVPBsAC&pg=PA407&lpg=PA407&dq=%22nathaniel+sheafe%22+waldron&source=bl&ots=T6NpVMtD44&sig=-AUgSdzibKfBcif-GjKusDPdXoM&hl=en&ei=W3OFTMTWI4-esQPVhu34AQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22nathaniel%20sheafe%22%20waldron&f=false accessed 6 September 2010
  2. ^ Smithsonian Institution Digital Collection, United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 (website) at: http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/usexex/navigation/Crew/crew_display_by_name.cfm accessed 5 September 2010
  3. ^ "Domestic Intelligence - Exploring Squadron - List of officers and scientific corps", In: Army and Navy chronicle, Volume 6, p.142 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Q_kRAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA142&lpg=RA1-PA142&dq=thomas+w+waldron&source=bl&ots=6RkayKhWX1&sig=17mOzD5itIEcDf6alQ7bXQvcIQk&hl=en&ei=b2eDTObQBIX2tgO019j2Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCoQ6AEwBjgK#v=onepage&q=thomas%20w%20waldron&f=false accessed 5 September 2010
  4. ^ C.H. Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family of America, (1892), entry 1390, p.123 at http://www.archive.org/stream/genealogyofcutts00howa#page/122/mode/2up/search/hong+kong accessed 22 August 2010
  5. ^ C.H. Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family of America, (1892), entry 1390, p.123 at http://www.archive.org/stream/genealogyofcutts00howa#page/122/mode/2up/search/hong+kong accessed 22 August 2010
  6. ^ Everett S. Stackpole and Lucien Thompson, History of the town of Durham, New Hampshire (Oyster River Plantation) with genealogical notes, (1913?) vol. 1, p.17 at: http://www.archive.org/stream/historyoftownofd00stac#page/16/mode/2up/search/russell accessed 6 September 2010
  7. ^ "September [1855] Meeting" In: Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 3, p.40 by Massachusetts Historical Society at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=HvYW4PL7yO8C&pg=PA40&lpg=PA40&dq=nathaniel+sheafe+waldron&source=bl&ots=IPmIXKjKM7&sig=5RsDlWKtIwjJx0U5MNaLvzTpgYw&hl=en&ei=21eFTKTWLY7QsAPgx-X2Bw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=nathaniel%20sheafe%20waldron&f=false accessed 6 September 2010
  8. ^ Charles Wilkes, Narrative of the United States exploring expedition: During the ..., Volume 3, p.286 at: http://www.geology.19thcenturyscience.org/books/1845-Wilkes-Expedition/Vol-III/PDFpages/1845-Wilkes-Expedition-III-0286.pdf accessed 29 March 2014
  9. ^ Alexander G. Findlay, A Directory for Navigating the Pacific Ocean ..., London, 1851, Part II, p.935 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=p5tDAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA935&lpg=PA935&dq=malolo+waldron&source=bl&ots=NVHrNcKrlZ&sig=RHIkaEwFernSTWLR0kenoObKg1s&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Tak3U5_tJunuyQHGj4DIDQ&ved=0CDoQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=malolo%20waldron&f=false accessed 30 March 2014
  10. ^ "Waldron Island (Namotu Island)", http://www.getamap.net/maps/fiji/western/_waldronisland/ accessed 29 March 2014
  11. ^ DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER 805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060 The Alfred Agate Collection: The United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 1840 at: http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/exploration/wilkes/wilkes17.html accessed 17 October 2010. Wilkes' own narrative identifies that personnel from the Vincennes were on the trip to Mauna Loa, and therefore Richard Russell Waldron, purser with the Vincennes, would be the Waldron meant in Wilkes' phrase "Messr's Waldron and Drayton" who ventured into the crater. See Charles Wilkes, Narrative of the United States exploring expedition: During the ..., Volume 4, pp.111, 128 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=NnEaAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=wilkes+waldron+lava&source=bl&ots=hBev7m3IEB&sig=a8zxML1g87qzRKBQJz_62y275Ls&hl=en&ei=nOi7TK-3HozmsQOA8ZyXDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false accessed 17 October 2010
  12. ^ Kathy Morey, "Trip 27 - Waldron Ledge Loop" In: Hawaii Trails: Walks Strolls And Treks on the Big Island, pp.152-4 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=UI1HEiiwoboC&pg=PA152&lpg=PA152&dq=waldron+lava&source=bl&ots=GQjFekzFXo&sig=i1BwAOcDkJNmemwnJ6oLl7wxeb8&hl=en&ei=iua7TPydIJO4sAPZzqXaDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=waldron%20lava&f=false accessed 17 October 2010
  13. ^ "Waldron Ledge Hike, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park " at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WP-v62oY10 accessed 17 October 2010
  14. ^ TREATY BETWEEN THE SULTAN OF SULU AND THE UNITED STATES, 1842 http://www.royalsulu.com/history.html
  15. ^ Edward P. Crapol, John Tyler: the accidental president, (2006) p.147 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Zu6_JDAR0_sC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=richard+waldron+(secretary)&source=bl&ots=hUVIPbcE_r&sig=6Yeaj9WcD_B1IbOzryNI69reZAQ&hl=en&ei=rrCOTJL6D4OksQP3w_yXDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=richard%20waldron%20(secretary)&f=false accessed 13 September 2010
  16. ^ Edward P. Crapol, John Tyler: the accidental president, (2006) p.152 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Zu6_JDAR0_sC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=richard+waldron+(secretary)&source=bl&ots=hUVIPbcE_r&sig=6Yeaj9WcD_B1IbOzryNI69reZAQ&hl=en&ei=rrCOTJL6D4OksQP3w_yXDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=richard%20waldron%20(secretary)&f=false accessed 13 September 2010
  17. ^ Edward P. Crapol, John Tyler: the accidental president, (2006) p.149 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Zu6_JDAR0_sC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=richard+waldron+(secretary)&source=bl&ots=hUVIPbcE_r&sig=6Yeaj9WcD_B1IbOzryNI69reZAQ&hl=en&ei=rrCOTJL6D4OksQP3w_yXDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=richard%20waldron%20(secretary)&f=false accessed 13 September 2010
  18. ^ Lyle Emerson Nelson, John Tyler: A Rare Career (2008), p.137 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=CfzdJBmCWIsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=John+Tyler&hl=en&ei=qMSPTM_jLJOisQOE3-CxDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=7&ved=0CFAQ6wEwBg#v=onepage&q=waldron&f=false accessed 14 September 2010
  19. ^ Edward P. Crapol, John Tyler: the accidental president, (2006) p.147 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Zu6_JDAR0_sC&pg=PA149&lpg=PA149&dq=richard+waldron+(secretary)&source=bl&ots=hUVIPbcE_r&sig=6Yeaj9WcD_B1IbOzryNI69reZAQ&hl=en&ei=rrCOTJL6D4OksQP3w_yXDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBMQ6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=richard%20waldron%20(secretary)&f=false accessed 13 September 2010
  20. ^ Lyle Emerson Nelson, John Tyler: A Rare Career (2008), p.137 at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=CfzdJBmCWIsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=John+Tyler&hl=en&ei=qMSPTM_jLJOisQOE3-CxDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=7&ved=0CFAQ6wEwBg#v=onepage&q=waldron&f=false accessed 14 September 2010
  21. ^ C.H. Cutts Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family of America, (1892), entry 1390, p.123 at http://www.archive.org/stream/genealogyofcutts00howa#page/122/mode/2up/search/hong+kong accessed 22 August 2010
  22. ^ "Cape Waldron" In: "Antarctic Gazateer" (website) at: http://data.aad.gov.au/aadc/gaz/display_name.cfm?gaz_id=296 accessed 5 September 2010
  23. ^ ‘was probably intended for Thomas W. Waldron, Captain’s Clerk of the brig Porpoise of the expedition. However, it is possible that two men were honoured in the one name as R. R. Waldron was Purser of the Vincennes, another vessel of the expedition.’ (Meany, E. S. (1923). Origin of Washington Geographic Names, University of Washington Press, Seattle, as cited in Patrick J. M. Waldron, "Waldron Family History", June 30, 2009, pp.5, 8 at: http://www.binary.co.nz/WALDRON3.PDF accessed 5 September 2010)