Thomas Westbrook Waldron

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Thomas Westbrook Waldronn
Portrait of standing Thomas Westbrook Waldron at three-quarter length
Portrait of Thomas Westbrook Waldron by John Greenwood (1750)
Born(1721-01-06)January 6, 1721
DiedApril 3, 1785(1785-04-03) (aged 64)
Dover, New Hampshire
Occupationmerchant, magistrate, councilor, mill owner, Captain and Colonel of the New Hampshire militia, county treasurer and recorder of deeds, and chairman in Dover, New Hampshire of the New Hampshire Committee of Safety
Spouse(s)Constant or Constance Davis
ChildrenWilliam, Elizabeth, Richard, Samuel, Eleanor, Charles, Abigail, Daniel [1]
Parent(s)Richard Waldron (secretary) and Elizabeth Westbrook

Thomas Westbrook Waldron, a captain in the 1745 expedition against the Fortress of Louisbourg, afterwards a commissioner at Albany, New York, a Royal councillor in 1782[2] and later described as a Colonel,[3] abandoned a close friendship with the last royal governor of colonial New Hampshire, John Wentworth (governor), for the role of a cautious patriot of the new United States.

Residence and property[edit]

"He was born and died in Dover"[4] New Hampshire.

"He inherited the homestead, mill privileges, etc., purchasing the rights of his brother George. ... He lived on the old property, and in the Waldron house ..." [5] This house, which he had built in 1763, was for a time "by far the best in Dover; its joiner work was ornate and elaborate, in every apartment; the furnishings were the best that period afforded.".[6] "... [S]tood in Revolutionary times the mansion of Thomas Westbrook Waldrone, the soldier of Louisberg.".[7]

Career summary[edit]

"Thomas Westbrook Waldron.... was a man of large property and extensive influence, although not so much in public office as father, grandfather, or great-grandfather.... "The town records show him to have been frequently moderator of Dover town meetings... a selectman... townclerk... representative....[8] Described as "a representative at Exeter in 1768 and a councilor in 1773....".[9] "Thomas Westbrook Waldron (1721-85) was a Recorder of Deeds, Strafford County, 1776.[10] He was the Dover, New Hampshire, town clerk from 30 March 1772 until his death in 1785 [11]

In 1748 Waldron's father complained that though Thomas Westbrook Waldron had done much at the siege of Louisburg, he couldn't receive a significant militia commission: "and for which he has been very illy requited by Mr. W--ntw--th" [12] However this situation improved when a different Wentworth became governor. In later life he was described as a colonel.[13]


He has been described as the first volunteer in the 1745 invasion of the French Fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton Island, now part of Canada. "I have engaged for 1,000 men," writes William Vaughan, a prominent early proponent for the invasion. "When I was in New Hampshire, in a ludicrous manner talking of these affairs, your son Thomas desired a Lieut'y and if it go and I shall have a great hand in the nomination of the officers and if it may be that he may go, and be thought equal to a higher part, he may have it, if he can get 50 men. 'Tis proposed that the government find vessels, provisions and ammunition, &c--the men only find themselves and arms, without pay from the province, all to be volunteers. ... Your Kinsman, friend and Humble Servant, W. Vaughan" [14]

Ultimately he became a Captain of militia in the 1745 invasion.

Looking back, his father referred to "...his services at the siege of Louisbourg, he commanding one of the whale boats which first landed in Chepeau-rouga Bay, and being one of the Captains that commanded a Company in sustaining the advance Battery the first day it pla'd on the City, when the Trench was hardly knee deep, and not 200 yards from the City walls, upon which the Enemy kept a continual Fire all the day both with Cannon and Muskets, and the volleys of small shot were like showers of hale...." [15]

His letters to his father describe with some bitterness that the spoils of war did not go to New Englanders and rightly predicted that the men would be "Lul'd along" into occupying Louisbourg through the winter.[16]

Young Captain Waldron can perhaps be forgiven for his uncharitable view of Massachusetts Brigadier General Samuel Waldo, who was also part of the Louisbourg campaign and was probably the "Duke Trinkelo" he described unflatteringly to his father. Waldo, his grandfather Colonel Thomas Westbrook's former business associate, was believed responsible for all his grandfather's financial reverses just a couple of years earlier. Bower, perhaps not understanding the Brigadier's connection to Thomas' family, dismissed his comments as a love of "idle talk".[17]

Looked to for encouragement of the first history of New Hampshire[edit]

Waldron's high regard for the future historian of New Hampshire, Jeremy Belknap, led him to loan a horse to him and to not hold him responsible for the death of the horse thereafter.[18] He asked Belknap give a sermon to mustered troops [19] and to educate one of his sons at his home.[20] In turn, Belknap asked Captain Waldron if Belknap should compile a history "because I have such a value for your judgement, and must depend so much on your favor and assistance in the prosecution of such a work...." Belknap states he would abandon the whole project at this point without Captain Waldron's approval.[21]

From friend of the last New Hampshire royal governor to revolutionary[edit]

To the last Royal Governor of New Hampshire he was a "friend who predicted the rebellion".[22] "Ten days after [Governor Wentworth's] commission was read [13 June 1767], he nominated Peter Gilman, John Sherburne, and Thomas Westbrook Waldron for a vacant position on the council. These three men represented families long inveterate enemies of the Wentworths and their interests in New Hampshire. Out of personal inclination, and for obvious political reasons, Wentworth felt it was time to mend broken fences ....".[23] "....Thomas Westbrook Waldron in the years to come became one of Wentworth's close friends and confidents.".[24] He was also one of the Governor's councillors called from his Dover home to sit in council during what might be termed the Portsmouth Tea Party of Sep 1774.[25]

We don't know which of his sons Waldron offered to stay with the approximately seven-year-old Governor's nephew at Belknap's home to receive an education. Perhaps it was Richard, christened 11 Aug 1765. In January 1770 Belknap politely declined to take students from either family.[26]

Despite this friendship with the Governor he threw his lot in with the rebels as the American Revolution approached, and was "named in a list of inhabitants of Dover, New Hampshire who took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and Continental Congress, 1776, published in the Dover Enquirer."

Chosen as a counsellor for Strafford County by the NH House of Representatives on Sat 6 Jan 1776 (See Stan Klos website), Waldron declined in a letter to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety January 15 for health reasons, and at the same time suggested a revolutionary council was unnecessary as "friends of America in England" would assist the revolutionary cause.[27] On Wednesday, January 17, 1776 an "Hon. John Wentworth, Esq., of Somersworth, [was chosen] one of the Counsellors for the County of Strafford, in the room of Thomas Westbrook Waldron, Esq., who was chosen, but did not accept." [28] Governor Wentworth's biographer, Paul Wilderson, suggests Wentworth hoped the American Revolution was temporary and unnecessary and that eventually wiser and more level heads would work together with more flexible leaders in Britain to restore the colonial allegiance to the crown.[29] Colonel Waldron's looking for "friends of America in England" shows he initially shared this view.[30]

Even as he came to accept the revolution as appropriate and necessary, he expressed reservations at how some were treated. By August 19, 1776, as chairman of a revolutionary committee charged with inventorying a Loyalist's property,[31] he wrote to the chief political figure in post-colonial New Hampshire, Meshech Weare, deploring that those who disagreed with the revolution had their property confiscated and expressing the hope that "politeness, justice, and lenity [be] among the shining characteristicks of the American States...." [32]


Waldron's great grandfather was Richard Waldron. He married Constance Davis of Durham, New Hampshire, about 1755. Of their children, two sons and three daughters had descendants.[33] His name was reused by ensuing generations, including two grandsons, one who as consul died in Macao, the other in Canada.

Death and burial[edit]

"[He] died there [the TW Waldron house] April 3, 1785. He was buried in the burial ground west of the Methodist church. After his death, the children were carried to Portsmouth, where they remained for several years.[34]

Globe Tavern[35][36] on the Plains in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, originally belonged to Waldron's grandfather Thomas Westbrook


"[He] made his will Aug 7, 1779. He owned large quantities of land. In addition to the Dover property he owned lands in Rochester, Barrington, Gilmanton, Grafton County, Lebanon, Chichester, Canaan, Kilkenny and the Globe Tavern, The Square and the Training field in Portsmouth, two mill privileges in Portsmouth, and part of the lower falls.

"These quantities of real estate were divided among his children, Charles and Daniel inheriting the Dover property. Daniel was the last owner of the extensive Waldron real estate in Dover. It probably came into the family in 1642 when the mill privilege in the center of Dover was granted to Major Richard Waldron. Upon January 31, 1820, an uninterrupted family ownership of 178 years terminated." [37]

The youngest son Daniel, not yet four years old when his father's will was written, inherited the majority of the family's land in Dover.[38]


His portrait is owned by Historic New England.[39] A copy previously hung in the "council chamber" of the Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion[40] That copy is also owned by Historic New England and is in somewhat less pristine condition than the original.[41] This and other works at the Wentworth-Coolidge house suffered at the hands of the grandchildren of later residents, who admitted they "mischievously touched up the [portraits] with fence paint!".[42]


  1. ^ C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, p.62 at: accessed 6 September 2010
  2. ^ "Pepperell Papers" In: New England historical and genealogical register, (1865) Volume 19, p.223 (footnote). At:" accessed 25 August 2010.
  3. ^ John Wentworth, Wentworth Genealogy, vol 1, p. 165
  4. ^ Lineage Book of Nat Soc of DAR, vol 68, p 221, entry 67630
  5. ^ C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, pp 536-7, which quotes Historical Memoranda, by Rev. A.K. Quint).
  6. ^ "Mr. Scales gives facts on the T.W. Waldron House", Foster's Daily Democrat, 1923, as found in Dover Public Library
  7. ^ Caroline Harwood Garland, "Old Dover, New Hampshire", In: New England Magazine, vol. 23 issue 1, Sept 1897, p. 113 as found at:;cc=newe;rgn=full%20text;idno=newe0023-1;didno=newe0023-1;view=image;seq=00121;node=newe0023-1%3A1 accessed 13 October 2010
  8. ^ C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, pp 536-7, which quotes Historical Memoranda, by Rev. A.K. Quint.
  9. ^ William Allan Wallace, ed. by James Burns Wallace, History of Canaan, New Hampshire, (1910) p.102 at accessed 13 October 2010
  10. ^ Lineage Book of Nat Soc of DAR, vol 68, p 221, entry 67630
  11. ^ Rev. Alonzo H. Quint, Historical Memoranda Concerning Persons and Places in Old Dover, New Hampshire, p.2 at:
  12. ^ Nathaniel Bouton, "Correspondence...Mr. Waldron to Col. Royall", (Sept 16, 1748) In: Provincial Papers: Documents and records relating to the province of New Hampshire, vol 6, pp.60-61
  13. ^ John Wentworth, Wentworth Genealogy - English and American, vol.2, p.
  14. ^ "Letter, William Vaughan to Richard Waldron (Secretary)" Vaughan Genealogy, pp.102-3.
  15. ^ Nathaniel Bouton, "Correspondence...Mr. Waldron to Col. Royall", (Sept 16, 1748) In: Provincial Papers: Documents and records relating to the province of New Hampshire, vol 6, pp.60-61
  16. ^ Nine letters to his father, and two replies are found at Louisburg Siege Collection, 1745-1746, 23 items, Clements Library, University of Michigan, as cited within: Peter Bower, "Chapter VI: The New England Occupation Period" In: "Louisbourg: A Focus of Conflict" (March 1970) At: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-05-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) accessed October 15, 2010
  17. ^ Peter Bower, "Chapter IV, The Siege", In: "Louisbourg: A Focus of Conflict" (March 1970) At:
  18. ^ "In June 1767 Jeremy Belknap borrowed a horse from Thomas Westbrook Waldron, a locally prominent citizen, and galloped off to Boston to marry..." Jeremy Belknap, A Biography at Google Books
  19. ^ Jane Belknap Marcou, Life of Jeremy Belknap, DD, pp.48-51
  20. ^ Jane Belknap Marcou, Life of Jeremy Belknap, DD, p. 57
  21. ^ Jane Belknap Marcou, Life of Jeremy Belknap, DD, pp.47-48
  22. ^ Brian C. Cuthbertson, The Loyalist Governor - Biography of Sir John Wentworth,(Petheric Press, Halifax, 1983), p.20, cites letters Wentworth to Waldron in: Collections, Mass Hist Soc, 6th Series, vol.iv, pp. 45,66,70,74 covering 1773-5)
  23. ^ Paul W. Wilderson, Governor John Wentworth and the American Revolution - The English Connection, Hanover, 1994, p. 137
  24. ^ Wilderson, footnote 6, page 305
  25. ^ Letter of Governor Wentworth to Earl of Dartmouth, American Archives, Vol. 1, p. 513
  26. ^ Jane Belknap Marcou, Life of Jeremy Belknap, DD, p. 57
  27. ^ "Letter from Thomas W. Waldron to the New-Hampshire Committee of Safety", (Dover, New Hampshire, January 15, 1776), American Archives Series 4, Volume 4, Page 0685, At: accessed 13 October 2010
  28. ^ Nathaniel Bouton (ed)., Documents and records relating to the State of New-Hampshire: during the American Revolution, p.28 at: accessed 17 October 2010
  29. ^ book description of Governor John Wentworth and the American Revolution: The English Connection, by Paul W. Wilderson (2004); also as summarized at
  30. ^ "Letter from Thomas W. Waldron to the New-Hampshire Committee of Safety", (Dover, New Hampshire, January 15, 1776), American Archives Series 4, Volume 4, Page 0685, At: accessed 13 October 2010
  31. ^ Background of the Mitchell or McMarster store and the confiscation of the goods in it, is discussed in George Wadleigh, Notable Events in the History of Dover, New Hampshire, from the First ... pp. 164-5 At: accessed 13 October 2010
  32. ^ "Letter from Thomas W. Waldron to Meshech Weare" (Dover, N. H., August 19, 1776) At "American Archives": accessed 4 April 2016
  33. ^ He was father of the late Daniel Waldron Esq of Dover NH. "Pepperell Papers" In: New England historical and genealogical register, (1865) Volume 19, p.223 (footnote). At:" accessed 25 August 2010. Thomas Westbrook Waldron's eldest son was William Waldron, whose son, another Thomas Westbrook Waldron, became the progenitor of a Canadian branch of the Waldron family. Birth, marriage and death dates are from C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America (Albany, N.Y.: Munsell's Sons, 1892), pp 34, 62, 536-7
  34. ^ C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, pp 536-7, which quotes Historical Memoranda, by Rev. A.K. Quint.
  35. ^ "Globe Tavern at the Plains, Portsmouth, New Hampshire" at:
  36. ^ C.S. Gurney, Portsmouth, Historic and Picturesque, (1902), p.59 at:
  37. ^ C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, pp 536-7, which quotes Historical Memoranda by Rev. A.K. Quint, paragraphing altered
  38. ^ Brother Charles passed away soon after their father. C.H.C. Howard, Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, p 62
  39. ^ "Portrait of Thomas Westbrook Waldron ", accessed 16 October 2010
  40. ^ Charles W. Brewster, "Brewster's Rambles about Portsmouth #17 - British Governors Wentworth" At: accessed 16 October 2010.
  41. ^ E mail from SPNEA
  42. ^ "A grandchild of the house says: "No one valued ancestral possessions in those days and we rummaged in the garret to our heart's content. We were allowed to dress our dolls and ourselves from the contents of the hair-trunks: cobweb laces, exquisite brocades, high-heeled satin slippers, ivory and sandal-wood fans, and to play 'house' in the lofty council chamber. Some one of us would impersonate the stately Lady Wentworth Waldron, wife of the Secretary of State, and play with haughty air on the fine, old spinet, and - it must be confessed - we mischievously touched up the Copleys with fence paint!" pp.260-1 at,%201623-16331.pdf accessed 7 November 2010. Copley appears to refer to an artist who was mistakenly believed by some to have painted the portraits of Secretary Waldron, his wife Elizabeth Westbrook (not Wentworth) Waldron, and their son, Thomas.

External links[edit]