Henry Waldron - Town Father

Henry Waldron brought a dedicated work ethic and entrepreneurial daring to the "west."  He settled in Hillsdale in 1839. Henry's financial success came in part from a large real estate business and the establishment of a bank with his friends John P. Cook and Charles T. Mitchell. He earned the admiration of his fellow citizens through his actions: becoming a force in local, state and national politics and helping to usher Hillsdale College into being.  

By 1862, Henry had served three terms in the United States House of Representatives.  When the Union Army under General George McClellan suffered devastating losses, President Lincoln called for an additional 300,000 men.  Henry assumed the responsibility for organizing a regiment. In two months Henry had brought over 1000 men into the newly organized 18th Michigan Infantry.  The regiment encamped and trained at Lewis Emery's farm, east of where the park bearing Emery's name is located today.

In Oak Grove Cemetery a neglected vault, now bricked up, marks the final resting place of Henry Waldron and his family.  Nothing about it speaks to the high esteem in which Henry was held and to the respect paid to him at his death with a banner stretched across Hillsdale Street that read "Hillsdale Mourns her Dead."  Only his grand home on North Street, now owned by the Elks, gives us any clue about the position of importance that he held in the young village of Hillsdale.

JoAnne P. Miller