By Jazmine Aldrich

If we look at a person’s life like a puzzle, archivists are trying to assemble the puzzle based on scattered pieces found in the records that they leave behind. I challenged myself in this article to learn more about the life of Mildred Waldron, who was born over 100 years ago on January 28, 1924 in East Clifton.

Mildred Ettra Waldron was the daughter of Luman A. Waldron (1868-1951) and Flora A. Cairns (1876-1944). She had one younger brother, Egbert D. Waldron (ca. 1925-1969), as well as three half-brothers and four half-sisters from her mother, Flora’s, previous relationship with George H. Bell (1858-1915).

Mildred was a Townships author and researcher. She published family and local histories of the Compton County area and, in particular, the East Clifton area, such as The Descendants of T. Waldron and M. Morse, The Hills of Clifton, Sheepskin Joe and Descendants of Hugh E. Cairns and Sarah A Waldron. This is all that I knew about Mildred’s life, before beginning my research.

Often, archival records tend to focus around one piece of a person’s life – their career or their strongest interest – but archives do not always give us a complete picture of who that person was. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Waldron, but I feel like I know her a little better after combing through local newspapers, online, for references to her life.

I learned from my research that, from an early age, Mildred’s interest in her community was evident; in 1938, Mildred received a prize in the East Clifton School Fair for her map of Clifton. Let us not forget, however, her other prizes at the same fair for sweet peas, fancy work, painting, a school fair poster, and a collection of insects – such variety!

Mildred was an active member of her community. Over a 50-year span, from the 1940s to the 1990s, she was a member of the East Clifton Busy Bees Society, she was involved with the High Forest Red Cross, and she participated in the activities of the East Clifton Women’s Institute and the Sawyerville Women’s Institute.

She made crafts and displayed them for the Community Activity Day at Sawyerville Elementary School in 1989. She created souvenir books, napkins, and cards for the 125th anniversary of the East Clifton Methodist-United Church and was involved with the Sawyerville United Church women. She was also assistant administrator and one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Second Mile Ministries Senior Centre in Sawyerville, a senior citizens’ home organized by an interdenominational Christian ministry in 1977.

She donated artefacts to the Compton County Historical and Museum Society and participated in their fundraising events and activities. She contributed articles about local history to the Townships Sun. She took pride in her heritage, and celebrated in The Record of May 8, 2001 that there were then six living generations of her Cairns family.

She contributed to many efforts to share local history, happily loaning her extensive collection of photographs and records relating especially to the history of East Clifton to interested parties, and sharing her knowledge in a myriad of forms. She had a keen interest in genealogy and helped many genealogists from near and far discover their Townships roots.

The Social Notes of The Record indicate that Mildred’s social calendar was always full, between visiting friends and relatives and receiving guests, and her extensive community involvement. If there was a card party, birthday party, or anniversary, she was present and helping in whatever way she could.

Mildred moved to the London Residence in Sherbrooke in 2004. She passed away on May 21, 2008 at the age of 84 and is buried at the East Clifton Cemetery.

My takeaway is that we often remember a person as “just one thing” – they were accomplished in a certain domain and their achievements were noteworthy but, as the saying goes, “we contain multitudes” and those multitudes are worth celebrating, too. Mildred Waldron was an accomplished historian and author, but she was also a devoted friend, relative, and neighbour who lived a full life.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Eastern Townships, please contact the ETRC Archives by email at or by telephone at 819-822-9600, extension 2261.