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The Hartricks of Ireland

By Lester J. Hartrick

 

The Situation in Germany in the 1600's and early 1700's.

  I have applied mathematical notations to denote the number of "Greats", when referring to my ancestors. Thus my Great Great Grandfather is designated as Great2 Grandfather.

Johan [Hans] Georg Hartrick is the oldest traceable member of the Hartrick Clan and is thus considered the Clan's founder.  He was my Great6 [that's six greats], Grandfather.  He was born in the Lower, or Rheinish Palatinate of Germany about 1657.  Here he married, raised a daughter and one son named George.  Johan and his brother Matthew, were neighbor farmers. Their cousin Caspar Hartrick lived nearby with his wife and three children. A second Caspar Hartrick lived some distance farther away. Outside of a garden and a few animals for domestic use, the main crop for these farmers was grapes, which were, used in the making of wine.
The Palatinate of Germany was one of the states of the old Holy Roman Empire.  It was situated along the Rhine River in what is now the Rheinland Pfalls.  Heidelberg was located in the central portion of the Palatinate. Conditions in this area had been bad for many years.

The General Area From Which the Palatines Emigrated [*].

 Louis XIV of France had completed his palace at Versailles.  This became the standard of grandeur to which the Rhenish princes aspired.  To this end they built ever larger and more imposing castles along the Rhine.  Their lavish lifestyles were matched to their castles.  The funds for all of this excess came from taxes levied on the farmers.  The burden on Johan and Matthew was severe.  Off and on for many years, wars had been fought in this portion of Germany.  Foraging armies, both foreign and domestic, had reduced their food supply to the extent that they were actually on the verge of starvation.  To make matters worse, Johan's wife had passed away, leaving him with two children to raise.

The final crushing blow was the severe winter of 1708/1709.  Even the oldest of inhabitants could not remember a colder, more unrelenting, totally devastating winter.  Cattle were frozen to death in their stables.  Worst of all, the grape vines were frozen and withered.  There was no way to make a living after this, other than to start over from scratch with new seedlings.  It would be years before the newly planted grape vines would be mature enough to bear the fruit that afforded them a living.

The only bright spot in their lives was that they were permitted to worship as they pleased. Generally in Europe, the religion of the ruler became that of the people.  Germany had been Roman Catholic since the days of the Holy Roman Empire, but Protestantism had been making inroads into the religious scene for some time.  In 1546, Palatine Elector Frederick II, [ruler of the Palatinate], became a Lutheran and in 1562 Frederick made the Palatinate Calvinist.  The treaty of Westphalia in 1648, recognized the Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist churches.  The fact that there were still practicing Roman Catholics in the Palatinate over 160 years after Frederick's conversion, attests to the religious freedom practiced there.  Both Johan and his brother Matthew were Catholics.

Queen Anne's Invitation
Finally a light appeared at the end of this dismal tunnel.  In an effort to populate the American Colonies with tax paying citizens, Queen Anne of England sent agents throughout Europe and especially into the Palatinate of Germany, to entice emigration. They distributed pamphlets with gold lettering bearing the Queen's picture.  In veiled language, it promised passage to America and assistance in establishing farms there, to all who would but come. This pamphlet became known as the "Golden Book."  Although the promises weren't specific, the enticement was sufficient for the Hartricks.  They, along with thousands of other Germans, decided to start anew in America.

Now the Hartricks are not known for being bold and impetuous.  On the contrary, they were, and are circumspect, cautiously willing to take a chance, as long as it is on their terms and if the odds are in their favor.  This trait almost cost them their chance at a home in America.  Caspar Hartrick was the first to go.  He and his family safely arrived in America in 1709.

The Journey From Germany to England
There were six parties of Palatines to leave Germany at British expense and two by private means that year.  Johan and Matthew Hartrick and their families were members of the sixth British sponsored party.  Mary Hartrick and her husband waited so long as to be prohibited from emigrating.  So many Palatines were to leave Germany that the Kurfurst, [Elector Palatine to the King], Hans Wilhelm, put a stop to further emigration on pain of death.

In 1723 the British government gave Mary twenty shillings as payment for her travel expenses, for the time when she and her husband would be allowed to travel to England. The records do not indicate that they ever left Germany,and they likely still owe the British government the twenty shillings!

The Route of the Palatines From the Palatinate to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, [*].

The Hartrick families spent between four to six weeks on their journey down the Rhein River to Rotterdam.  Along the way they were subjected to various departure taxes and to frequent tolls. This severely depleted the meager funds generated from the sale of their personal possessions.  Charitable countrymen along the way made small donations to assist them in their journey.

They encamped for a time In Rotterdam, while awaiting a ship that would take them to England. This would be the second leg of their long journey to the "New World."  The five preceding parties of emigrating Palatines had not left the tentage and campgrounds in the best of condition.  Also at this point, the resources and patience of the Dutch charitable organizations had been stretched rather thin.  Fortunately their encampment was brief.  The British ships that carried troops to the war of Spanish Succession, were diverted to Rotterdam on their way home, to transport the Palatines, [as émigrés from the Palatinate of Germany were known], to England.  On the 27th. of July 1709, the sixth and last party of emigrating Palatines boarded their awaiting troopship.  The next day they sailed for England.

Sailing between Rotterdam and London took between six to eight days.  Landing at St. Catherine's dock, they were transported to campgrounds at Camberwell and Blackheath, near London.  As opposed to moving into an empty campground as they had in Rotterdam, these campgrounds had a population of 10,000 Palatines already encamped there. These latest arrivals and those to follow were to swell these numbers to 13,500!

The Encampment Near London
If the Hartricks thought that they had seen hard times up to this point, they were mistaken.  Their hard times were just beginning.  London's population at this time was only 600,000.  The influx of Palatines represented a substantial increase that had to be fed and housed, as well as be provided with medical and sanitary needs.  Nearly 1,000 of the Palatines died during this encampment!

This figure represents almost 10% of the remaining Palatine population during a relatively short encampment.  Rising food prices, diseases, overcrowding, air pollution and a host of other ills were all blamed on the Palatine intruders.  Feelings ran so high that at one point, a mob of 2,000 Londoners attacked the Palatines in an effort to drive them away.

Not being the stock of which heroes are made, the Hartricks, during this fray, made themselves scarce and thus survived.  This same skill has served the clan well in many other wars and uprisings.  Thus the clan has prospered and survived to the present day.

During the encampment, some of the Palatines found it expedient to claim that religious persecution had caused them to come to England.  This may have been true in a few cases, but generally the claim was made for their own personal advantage.  They were seeking the favor of local charitable religious groups.  They were soon to learn more of religious persecution from the British than they had ever suffered in Germany.

The British had a little surprise awaiting the Palatines.  They were required to swear allegiance to the British Crown and become British subjects. Now this seemed reasonable enough, in that their destination, America, belonged to Britain at that time.  The British however, imposed a second requirement.  In addition to being naturalized, the British required that the Palatines become Protestants.  This, by taking the sacraments of the Anglican Church, before a witness.  This was acceptable to the expedient Johan and he became, "A poor Protestant, saved by the Queen".  This however, was unacceptable to Johan's brother Matthew.  Rather than change his religion, Matthew and his wife chose to be returned to Germany.  He was given five gilders expense money and along with 2,250 other Catholics, was sent back to Rotterdam.  From there they were to make it on their own to the fatherland, as best they could.

Now the Hartricks had emigrated from the fatherland to make a new start in America and wanted no part of camping out in England.  Other Palatines had been transported to America from there.  Caspar Hartrick and his wife were part of group of 3,000 Palatines that had been transported to New York.  Another 600 Palatines had been sent to Carolinas. Johan and his two children were awaiting their transport to America, as others had before them.

The Journey from England to Ireland

However, the resources of the British government for this enterprise had been exhausted. Substantially more Palatines than had been anticipated, responded to the invitation of the "Golden Book".  Considerable time was spent by Parliament, "muddling through" the problem of what to do with the excess of Palatines.  Finally, the Irish Council offered to accept a number of Palatines into Ireland.  Hans and his children, along with 3,070 other Palatines, were taken by wagon across England to Chester.  There they boarded ships that took them to Dublin.  The first group landed in September of 1709; others followed in October.

The Palatines Route From Rotterdam to London, Chester and finally Dublin. [*]

The Palatines found conditions in Dublin to be far worse than they were in England.   Dublin was a town of only 60,000 at that time, so the influx of over 3,000 Palatines was proportionally more than twice that experienced by London.  Merchants were charging the Palatines inflated prices for food and passed counterfeit half pence coins to them as change.  This, while they were being sold watered down milk.  These and other such frauds and hardships were practiced to such an extent, that the Lord Mayor of Dublin issued a proclamation promising prosecution of future offenders, "with the utmost rigor of the law".  

This is the point at which Johan's fortunes were finally to turn for the better.  Since the earliest times, Ireland had been enmeshed in wars, uprisings, clan fights, foreign invasions and civil strife.  However from about 1700 on, all of this ceased and an unaccustomed peace settled over the land, that lasted almost 100 years.  During this century, the Hartrick Clan grew and flourished in Ireland.  The specific turning point was the selection of Palatine tenants by their Irish landlords.  This was accomplished by drawing lots and it was Johan's good fortune to be drawn by the honest, if not benevolent landlord, Able Ram of County Wexford.  The second Caspar Hartrick was settled in County Limerick. Nothing more is known of him or his family.

The Palatine Settlement at Old Ross, County Wexford, Ireland.

The Ram estate in County Wexford was located in arguably the most desirable portion of Ireland. The area around Old Ross in particular, is especially suitable for "the art of high tillage", practiced by the Palatines there. The land is not rocky as in western Ireland, but is gently rolling rich farmland, protected from storms approaching from the west by the Blackstairs Mountains.

County Wexford's Verdant Farmland.

This is an area very reminiscent of the Palatinate of Germany in which Hans must have felt quite at home.  His farm even had a peat bog from which he was able to cut fuel for his fire.  Johan and his Palatine neighbors formed a small, close knit, closed community. They were Protestant [even if newly so], German speaking, hard working farmers.  They used different tools and farming methods and were conspicuously more successful than their Irish neighbors.

In all, seven Palatine families were assigned to the Ram estate and all seven remained.  This was not so with other Palatine families.  Their landlords often treated their tenants badly and a number of families left Ireland. By February 1711, fully one third of the Palatine families had left.
The Hartrick home in the Townland of Moorfields, near Old Ross, in County Wexford, Ireland.  Built circa 1709, burned during the "Rising" of 1798 and then rebuilt. Note the German style of building the stables onto the house in order that the animals would provide some of the heat for the home. This is the last remaining example of a Palatine home of this style in existence in County Wexford.  

The Hartrick Farmhouse and Stables.

 As protection against their more hostile neighbors, Hans and his Palatine neighbors had each been given a musket.  These were called "Queen Anne's," after the ruling British monarch of the time.  The Palatines were enrolled in The FreeYomenry of Ireland, which was a home guard or Militia.  They were known as "The German Fusiliers", or more commonly as "The True Blues".

The venerable John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, preached to the Palatines at Old Ross in 1787.  Until that time they had been under the religious guidance of the Church of Ireland. The impact of his preaching is not recorded ,but it must have been akin to the enthusiastically fervent reception of the Palatine communities in County Limerick.  The message of faith that he brought has endured for all of the succeeding generations of Hartricks, even to this writer.

Genesis of the Hartrick Clan.

The Hartrick Clan was remarkably devoid of inspiration in their choices of given names for their male offspring.  Boys were almost all named either John, George or William.  This made sorting them all out a difficult task indeed.  I liken the process to knitting a sweater out of barbed wire; you must proceed very slowly and very carefully.

By ca. 1710, George Hartrick, [my great5 grandfather], married and by 1720, he was registered on the Ram Estate, at the Townland of Moorfields, near Old Ross, in County Wexford, Ireland.  In due course his children were born. These were, Matthew, [after his repatriated Catholic uncle], born ca. 1710, John George, born ca. 1712,and William, my great4 grandfather, born ca 1714.

About 1744, William married and had two sons.  John, born about 1744 and William, my great3 grandfather, born about 1745.  About 1775, this latter William married and had a son William, [my great2 grandfather], in 1778.  He also had two daughters, Catherine and Anna, born to him in Ireland.

The Rising of 1798.

The luck of the Old Ross Palatines and Ireland's century of peace ended the night of June 5th, of 1798.  Civil strife is called a "Rebellion," if it succeeds and a "Rising," if it fails.  The Hartricks of Old Ross were well aware of the oncoming Irish revolt against the British, [and Protestants in general] and had fled to the safety of the heavily defended town of New Ross County Wexford.  There they were "given accommodations", by Charles Tottenham, who was a Church Warden of St. Mary's Church, [Church of Ireland], in Old Ross and was also Sovereign of the town of New Ross.  Captain Tottenham, [later Colonel], had just finished construction of several new homes on the Rosbercon side of New Ross and these were made available to the refugees.

Others of the Palatine community weren't so fortunate. George Hornick of Killanne, was the victim of a revenge slaying. He was the first target of the rebels, led by Fr. Philip Roche, one of the priest-leaders of the "Rising."  Phillip Hornick was captured by the rebels and was shot at Scullabogue, of Whitechurch.  After his ritualistic execution, his body was stripped and then cut into quarters. The pieces were then burned. His remains were identified by his distinctive watch that was found in his clothing.

This has been handed down from generation to generation for

The Hornick Watch.

almost 200 years. I was fortunate enough to meet the present owner of the watch and to photograph his historic relic.
The only church to be burned during the "Rising"' was St. Mary's Church, [Church of Ireland], at Old Ross.  Also burned were all but four of the community's 100 homes.   However, by far the most heinous of the rebel actions, was the holocaust of Scullabogue Barn near Old Ross.  The rebels rounded up over 120 of the local population and herded them into a thatched roof barn.

St.Mary's Church; [COI], Old Ross.

This they set afire. Those in the barn
who were not suffocated or trampled to death were burned alive.  Those attempting to escape were piked to death outside the barn by the guards.  Although the victims were mostly Protestants, about 15 Irish Catholics, who were the household servants of the Protestant families, were included in this group.

When the Hartricks returned to Old Ross, they found their homes had been reduced to smoldering ashes.  Their livestock had been burned ,along with their provisions and personal possessions.  All that they had were the clothes on their backs and what they were able to carry with them when they fled.

The personal qualities of independence, hard work and thrift however, could not be burned. These came to the fore and served them well during the reconstruction to follow.  They petitioned the government for compensation for their losses.  Their own hands rebuilt their homes and stables.  The mutually beneficial relationships with one of their Catholic neighbors, undoubtedly provided them much help and succor in their hour of need.
The Catholic Cloney family operated a water powered mill on the townland adjoining the Hartrick occupied townland of Moorfields.  This was appropriately called "Millquarter".  The Hartricks and the Cloneys had a close interdependent relationship.  The Hartricks raised grain that needed to be ground into flower to be marketable.  The Cloneys needed grain to be brought to their mill, in order to make their living.
Thus it was the Cloneys that helped the

The Cloney Mill, Townland of Millquarter.

Hartricks and other local farmers to get back on their feet, after they were burned out by the rebels.

During a trip to Ireland in September of 1996, I met the present owner of this mill.  Although not operated in half a century, the mill remains just as it was when it ceased operation in 1946.  The son of the owner, who is a prominent County Wexford historian and author, gave me a personalized tour of the mill.  I was able to photograph both the mill's interior and exterior.  A mill has been located on this site since 1170 AD.

The Palatines of County Wexford survived, but the Rebellion of 1798 was to prove a turning point in their lives and fortunes.

The Hartrick Genesis Continued
About 1803, William, my great2 grandfather, married Elizabeth and they had two sons, William in 1803 and Charles Edward, my great grandfather, in 1815.  They also had a daughter, Mary.  These children were all born to them in Ireland.  In 1816, William, with his wife Elizabeth and their three children, emigrated to Ontario Canada. In Canada, a second daughter, Catherine,was born in 1816 and a third son, Benjamin in 1824.
Gt. Grandfather's Headstone.

I correspond and visit the descendants of William, who

are now living in Michigan. The descendants of Charles Hartrick, [my line], are chronicled in the following article entitled, The Hartricks of America. This details the Clan's fortunes in the "New World."

* Maps courtesy of Dr. Patrick J. O'Connor, Newcastle West, County Limerick, Ireland.              Photographs by the author.

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  The Hartricks of America.

Last Modified August 25, 2001.