Author Gloria Waldron Hukle

New York Historical Book Series by Gloria Waldron Hukle

Waldron Mining Garnet in New York by Gloria Waldron Hukle

The Waldron Connection-Walter Waldron of North Creek.  The following article is the result of my own  'digging'.

 First, a little genealogy...    Walter Waldron b. 1856 was the youngest son of Daniel Waldron and his wife Asenath (Hill)  Walter was a brother to Sally Ann (Isaac) Roblee, William A. Waldron ( Jane Rogers), Jane M. Waldron who married Francis B. Rogers,  Luther Waldron (Eliza Cross), John Daniel Waldron (Nancy Mc Carthy & Mary Pereau)  and Mary Etta Waldron  (Thomas Somerville Roblee).   Walter Waldron was also my great-grandfather, married to Etta Roblee. Like most early Adirondack settlers he was a farmer, but clearly Walter's passion was mining garnet in the Adirondacks.

 Mining has been going on for centuries in the Adirondack mountains of New York, yet the seed for mining garnet around North Creek, New York, seems to have been hand carried to New York City  in the mid 1800s by a mysterious Adirondack man. And I've begun to wonder if that man could have been Daniel Waldron (b. 1812, d. 1871). A portrait of Daniel Waldron and his wife Asenath Hill Waldron can be seen at this site.

From what I've learned, Henry Hudson Barton (destined to become founder of the Barton Mines)  was a young clerk in a NYC jewelry store  when, about 1850, someone from the Adirondack region tried to sell garnet stones to the jeweler, who thought the stone imperfect for his jewelry and turned him down.  Decades later, the memory of this store encounter stuck with Henry Hudson Barton, but the innovative Barton had a new idea and ultimately ground up garnet stone would be used for a superior sandpaper.  A new technology seems to have spawned out of the tiny seed planted in the mind of Mr. Barton.

According to an account by Vernon J. Burns written in 1976, Walter Waldron of North Creek picked garnet by hand methods at a number of pits on Casey Mountain in Hamilton County New York beginning in the year 1890.   This was the same year that his youngest son Jesse J. Waldron (my grandfather)  was born.  Waldron must have been picking at an early age and I suspect that he might have been acquainted with Henry Hudson Barton who had founded the first garnet mine in the Adirondacks in 1878. Later Mr. Barton  bought Gore Mountain in 1887.  

Walter Waldron continued to mine until about 1921.  He died in 1925 at the age of 69, yet mining and a connection to the Barton Mines had by then been planted deep within the North Country Waldron. Several Waldron men worked in the mining industry throughout the years.  In more recent times, Howard W. Waldron, (Howdy) a life-long resident of North Creek and  one of Walter's grandsons,  (Howard passing at age 92 in 2012) had retired in 1983 as Plant Manager after 39 years of employment. A photo of Howard Waldron as a baby seated upon his grandfather, Walter's lap is posted at this website (author Gloria Waldron Hukle)

In 1903 There was an open pit mine started by American Glue Company that was called Creol Mine. In 1917 -the year this author's father William Waldron was born, they built a four story mill there which was very active in the mid- 20s.

Garnet mining was hard work.  The garnet whole pockets ranged from as big as a fist down to pea size and was put into bags weighing about 75 pounds each and sent down the mountain by horse or back packs on the men and later shipped to the American Glue Company of Boston who owned the Adirondack property.  Around 1920, Walter Waldron's son Jesse Waldron became an executive with the American Glue Company.  Later after American Glue went out of business during the depression-Jesse became a general contractor and went on to build many homes in the Johnsburg area.

When World War 1 broke out, garnet became a strategic material and in great demand, especially for the manufacture of large guns. Two companies owning garnet deposits in the vicinity of North River (where Daniel Waldron was married) , companies with a history of hand picking garnet, namely Barton Mines and the American Glue Company started building mills in 1917 for the mechanical separation of garnet from the waste rock.  The American Glue built a mill four stories high. The American Glue property was left in the hands of a caretaker, none other than--Jesse J. Waldron. The total complex consisted of the mill, tunneling operation, office and storeroom, pump house, boarding house and a dam forming a pond with Racket Brook.