John Waldron

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John Waldron, ALS
WaldronJ.jpg
Received ALS Commission, 1913
Known for Also a Saskatchewan Land Surveyor


Surveying mineral claims in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba must have been second nature to John Waldron. He performed hundreds of these surveys during his remarkable life as a land surveyor. Imagine how proficient he must have become in locating staked claims, both the good ones and the many that were poorly located on the ground.

His mineral claim surveys commenced in 1922 for Manitoba Metals Company in Group 421 in Manitoba. His surveys came to an end in 1956 when he passed away in his sleep at his survey camp on Anderson Lake near Snow Lake, Manitoba. That's right, he was still surveying at the age of 84!

It is amazing how many of the older surveyors, in bygone days, practiced their profession right up to the end. Men such as John Waldron, K.N. Crowther, O. Inkster, W.T. Thompson, C.D. Brown, J.B. Tyrrell, and many others. The word "retirement" had not been placed in the dictionary for these hardy pioneers.

Between 1910 and 1922 Mr. Waldron practiced his profession out of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (Hammond Bldg.), performing municipal and private surveys and engineering contracts. Moving to Flin Flon, Manitoba in 1922, he continued his practice there.

At one time, he had a branch office in The Pas, Manitoba due to the large volume of mineral claim surveys in that area. In the days when Flin Flon was being organized as a town, Mr. Waldron was the town engineer for five years.

John Waldron performed hundreds of mineral claim surveys in Manitoba and Saskatchewan along with a multitude of other types of surveys and engineering projects throughout his career.

At one time, in 1944, he also worked out of Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba performing mineral claim surveys in that area, returning again to Flin Flon in 1946. To my knowledge he always maintained his permanent home in Flin Flon, after leaving Moose Jaw in 1922.

I have outlined below some of the areas in which Mr. Waldron has left his mark, even though very few of the actual monuments are still visible on the ground. They are, however, perpetuated on plans that have been filed in various government offices.

1922 & 1925 Group 421 (Saskatchewan) Manitoba Metals Co.

1923 Group 421 (Saskatchewan) Cal McKay Exploration

1924 Group 421 (Saskatchewan) Flin Flon Mines & Dion Mines. His work in Manitoba, Group 271, was near the Mafeking-Mossy River area, in Group 371 south of The Pas.

1926 Group 421, for Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd., in Manitoba. Claims for R.H. Chaning Jr. on Schist Lake the Music Maker, Lot 690 Group 421

1933 A.G. Sleight Co. in Saskatchewan H.B.M.&S. Co. in Group 371

1934 Henning-Maloney Gold Mines (Saskatchewan)

1935 Group 124, near Lac du Bonnet area.

1936 In Saskatchewan for Callinon-Flin Flon Mines. He did hundreds of claims in Group 421 (Manitoba)

1937 In Manitoba for Mammoth Mining Co. plus many others

1938-1939 Many in Manitoba, Groups 421 and 422

1939-1944 Many in Groups 421, 422, and 124

1941-1955 Hundreds for H.B.M.&S. in Groups 421 and 422. Some for Gunnar Gold Mines

1946 In Group 124 for Petro Chromite Ltd. in Manitoba

1950 Group 73 P in Saskatchewan for P.A. Prospector's Company in the La Ronge area.

1950-1953 Again hundreds of claims including the Mystery Lake Mine for Canadian Nickel Co. in Groups 473 and 472

1956 Claim surveys for H.B.M.&S. in various areas

Intriguing to note that in 1927, Mr. Waldron surveyed a group of mineral claims into a single parcel, covering 494 acres. (The survey of group claims did not come into prominence, in Saskatchewan, until 1950.) This plan was filed in the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Land Titles Office under plan number BQ 53. Many of the older mineral claim surveys were filed in the various Land Titles Offices and are now on file in the Chief Surveyor's Office in Regina. Another example of his early plans in Flin Flon was his survey which surrounded the Tailings Disposal area for the mine. The parcel was in Township 66 and 67 in Range 30 West Principle Meridian. The plan covered parts of Ross Lake, Flin Flon Lake and the Flin Flon Creek, all in Saskatchewan.

Mr. John Waldron was born in Pine Grove, Ontario in 1872. His early education was in Toronto and he taught school before attending the School of Practical Science in Toronto where he graduated as a civil engineer. Upon graduation he was employed by the H.&S.W. Railway Company in Nova Scotia. His next venture saw him as the resident engineer with the Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway on the construction of electric railways in the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario.

The West must have beckoned John because he went to work for the Dominion Government on township subdivision surveys in Western Canada, after receiving his commission as a Dominion Land Surveyor in 1907. This lasted three years and he decided to try his hand at private practice in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. It must have been rewarding since he stayed in this capacity for the rest of his life. However, to be on your own you must obtain a provincial commission, which he did in 1910 and secured his Saskatchewan commission. Some of his work was in Alberta, thus he wrote his Alberta examinations.

Many of the surveyors who performed mineral claim surveys in the North prior to 1930 signed their plans as Dominion Land Surveyors. This came to a halt when the federal government turned over their natural resources to the western provinces.

It then became necessary to secure your provincial commission if you expected to perform mineral claim surveys. Mr. Waldron obtained his Manitoba right to practice mineral claim surveys and other subdivisions within Manitoba in 1931.

The practical attitude of old time surveyors is portrayed in one example towards officialdom:

Mr. Waldron sent in his 1939 Saskatchewan Land Surveyors' annual fee of $7.50 on a cheque that was filled out in pencil. The Secretary-Treasurer refused to cash the cheque and requested Mr. Waldron to send a new one made out in ink. The correspondence indicated that Mr. Waldron eventually got around to sending a new cheque when he got back to town, with the explanation that he had sent the first cheque made out in pencil from his bush camp since ink was not available in his camp at 30 below.

Mr. Waldron was a member of the 27 Club in Flin Flon. This was an organization whose members came to Flin Flon in 1927 or earlier. The members were all highly respected and widely known men. This group would meet once a year to tell tall tales and renew friendships. They would also lift their glasses in a toast to those members who had passed away. As you can guess, the toasts grew in numbers as members went to the great beyond. I understand that there were only two members left, as of 1993, both living in Cranberry Portage. They were Mr. Sid Hudson and Mr. Algot Mosell.

Source: Jack Webb in "Muskeg, Outcrops And 40 Below"