The Hartricks of Ireland, the preceding web page in this
series, told the story of the Hartrick Clan from their origins in the Palatinate
of Germany, to their relocation in Ireland. This article chronicles the Clan's
history from County Wexford's green hills, through their sojourn in Canada
and their eventual settlement in The United States. In an attempt to
clarify the distinctions between the several Williams' and Charles' in the
clan, I've attached numbers to the individuals. Thus the William who
brought his family to Canada is  and his Son William is , and so on.
The Great Potato Famine in
Although the Rebellion of 1798 was a seminal event in the lives of
the County Wexford Palatines, a far more sinister and devastating event for
the general Irish population was to follow. By degrees, this was to
affect Ireland more than any event before or since. This was the great
Potato Famine. In terms of peacetime lives that were lost, it has been
described as being second only to Europe's Black Plague of the middle Ages.
One million people perished in the Great Potato Famine.
I must add that my ancestors had left Ireland several years before the onset
of the potato famine. Thus they were spared the ravages of this tragedy.
You might say that they had a bit of Irish luck. However, the famine was
of such monumental proportions and had such a devastating effect on the people
of Ireland, that I feel that at least an overview is in order.
The potato blight was caused by the fungus Phytophthora Infestans. It's
devastation was by no means limited to Ireland, but occurred in Europe,
especially in Germany and in America as well. However the degree of
the fungus' havoc was at a maximum in Ireland. Its effect on the potato
field has been described looking as though the field had been destroyed by
fire. It's onset in Ireland was insidious, first appearing in the seventeen
hundreds. In the early 1820's, it appeared in Connacht and Munster.
Although localized, the crop failures in two successive years were
almost complete. Famine relief organizations were established in Dublin
as well as London to aid in the disaster. With the exception of 1838,
there were partial potato crop failures in each of the 1830's. The
main brunt of the famine occurred between 1845 and 1848. Total potato
crop failures were experienced in 1846 and 1848.
An economist of the time noted that the diet of the country people consisted
of potatoes and milk for ten months of the year and potatoes and salt for
the other two months. The two "dry" months were likely the cow's calving
period. He also noted that they had "a little butter." The average
daily consumption of potatoes was eight pounds per person. This meant
that an adult consumed about twelve pounds of potatoes each day, while each
child ate four pounds. With the plethora of foods available to us today,
it is difficult to imagine the sheer boredom of subsisting on a single augmented
staple for ones total diet.
Sir Walter Raleigh introduced the potato into Ireland at Youghal in County
Cork. It was an almost perfect source of food. Its carbohydrates, protein,
minerals and vitamin C, when supplemented with milk, made a complete diet
capable of sustaining a person for an entire lifetime. Thus the Irish
came to rely on the potato almost exclusively, as their soul source of food.
The tool used to dig the holes for the potatoes was a wooden spade
called a "Spud." Thus by association, the potato has become known as a spud.
They were planted in hills that were known as "lazy beds". They
were harvested on an as-needed basis. In this manner their main staple
was secure from foraging armies, in that soldiers and other such marauders
wouldn't take the time to locate and unearth these culinary masterpieces.
From this dependence on a single crop, the degree of disaster that the loss
of the potato wrought upon the country people can readily be seen. The
sufferings of the Irish were greater than those of any other country in Europe
or America. We may tend to think that, like the Black Plague of the
Middle Ages, the potato blight is a thing of the past. Unfortunately
this is not true. A 1993 article in The Chicago Tribune stated in part:
"Variants of the fungus that caused the Irish potato famine 150 years ago
are spreading throughout the world, plant pathologists report. While
experts don't expect the blight to cause famine, they are concerned because
some variants are resistant to metalaxyl, the fungicide most commonly
The Effect of the Potato Famine
on the Palatines.
The Palatines however were largely unaffected by this disaster. Their
ancestors had brought advanced farming methods with them from Germany many
years earlier. Examples were the diversity of crops that were planted.
These were rotated annually. A portion of their land was left
unplanted each year. This practice of allowing a field to lie fallow,
permitted the land to recover from the preceding years of productivity and
thus regain its fertility. As opposed to the Irish "lazy bed" method
of planting potatoes, the Palatines employed a hopper on their plows, drill
planting their potatoes in rows as the land was being plowed. Also,
instead of hand hoeing, they utilized horse drawn cultivators.
These farming methods were practiced by succeeding generations of Palatines
and when coupled with their native industriousness, resulted in farms of
greater productivity and contributed greatly to the economic advantages enjoyed
by the Palatines.
At least two County Wexford farmers, with whom I talked in September of 1996,
told me that although using modern machinery, they farm using the same methods
that the Palatines employed. As a result, their produce commands higher
market prices, in that they are organically grown. The lessons taught
by the original German Palatines are still alive and well in County Wexford.
Thus, for the Palatine farmers, the potato famine was little more than a
nuisance, in that only the potato crops were affected by the blight. They
had an abundance of other crops and foodstuffs to rely upon for their survival.
They were even able to feed turnips to their pigs and other livestock,
while their potato dependent Irish neighbors were on the verge of starvation.
The bounty of the Palatines was not kept within this close knit society,
but was shared with their less fortunate Irish neighbors. Tales of
their labors in preparing and serving food to the starving Irish are well
documented by Michael McConville in his book, Ascendancy to Oblivion. Dr.
Patrick O'Connor, in his book, People Make Places, tells of a starving Irishman
entering a Palatine's dooryard, looking for food. He was promptly given a
turnip from which he took one bite, but before being able to swallow, died
||A large cast-iron soup kettle remains to this day in the courtyard
of the Ballin Taggart House, a youth hostel, operated by Paddy Fenton in
the Dingle Peninsula. This was used by the British to prepare soup for the
starving Irish. It is now ignominiously being used to collect rainwater.
As with the original Palatines, who were required to take the sacraments
of the Anglican Church before being allowed to
A British Soup Kettle in Dingle.
|remain in England, all that the Irish Catholics had to
do to be fed, was to take these same sacraments. Thus Britain's
bounty was graciously given to the starving Catholic Irish, with the choice
of converting, or starving to death. Those partaking of this British
bounty are referred to as "Soupers".
On a Palatine farm, everyone worked. Boys of twelve years of age would
drive a team of horses by holding the reins, [the straps that controlled
the horses movements], behind their neck, while holding the handles of a
plow. Girls were trained to help with the household chores from the
earliest ages on. They were often in charge of the younger children
and assisted their mother in as many of the household tasks as they were
able. The Palatine wife was really a marvel of ingenuity and versatility.
She was not only the cook and housekeeper for her family, but she planted,
cultivated and harvested the family garden plot as well. She processed flax,
spinning it into linen, which she wove into the cloth from which she made
her family's clothes. She did the same with wool, carding and spinning
it into yarn that was either woven into cloth or knitted into clothing.
She took care of the barnyard animals, churned the butter, gathered
and candled the eggs,
among other such tasks. When she was not busy with these things, or
having children, she worked beside her husband in the fields. Truly,
the gold at the end of the Palatine's rainbow, was his wife.
The County Wexford Palatines Emigrate
My Great Grandfather, Charles Edward Hartrick, was fortunate enough
to not have had to experience the great famine, or any of its side effects.
His father, William Hartrick Senior , of New Ross, County Wexford,
had endured the devastation and bloodshed of the "Rising" of 1798. By
1816, he was able to afford the expense of the journey and was determined
to take his family and seek a new life in the "New World." At that
time, England, Ireland and Canada were all parts of the British Empire.
Thus, emigrating to Canada was no different politically or culturally,
than moving from state-to-state in the United States or county-to-county
in England or Ireland. Of course Canada in 1816, was still a very new
and developing country. Almost limitless land was available and the
cost per acre was to the Irish, unbelievably low. Where in Ireland,
most of the farmers were tenets of large estates, in Canada, a man could
own his own land and be able to reap the full benefits of his efforts. It
was a promise that was almost too good to be true.
The Voyage to
Caspar Hartrick was the first known Hartrick to have emigrated to America.
After a brief a stopover in London In 1709, the first 3,600 of the original
Palatines to leave Germany were able to secure passage to America. Caspar
Hartrick, a cousin of the founder of the Hartrick Clan, was fortunate enough
to be in that early group. The passage for his wife and himself as
well as a daughter and two sons was both very long and dangerous. Caspar
Hartrick and his family must have survived the ordeal of the Atlantic crossing
in that they were reported in New York in 1709, as having come from England.
Beyond this, there has been no further record of them that I've been
able to uncover. They were just swallowed up into the American dream.
As noted above, the second Casper Hartrick remained in Ireland.
|William Hartrick's  second cousin John Hartrick, was about seven
years his senior. Although it is speculative, it is believed that John
was the first of the clan to emigrate to Canada. The City of Toronto
and the Home District Commercial Directory and Register for 1837", lists
him as "John Hattrick Jun'r.", a member of the "Constables for the Home
With the anchor of the John Hartrick family in Canada secured,
the chain migration that was to follow could begin. The push of
deteriorating economic conditions in Ireland and the pull of a relative,
successfully established in Canada, were both in place. Thus the stage
was set for the immigration of my branch
|of the clan. Let us for the moment consider just what
|| The Emigrant Ship, Dunbrody.*
emigration to the New World meant. First there was the very real danger
of not surviving the voyage. Death rates of 10% and higher were common
in the emigrant ships. They were often called "Coffin Ships".
Shipwrecks too were not an uncommon occurrence. Although the
ship provided water and the fuel for the preparation of their meals, the
emigrants had to bring and prepare their own food. With no refrigeration
and likely vermin to contend with, mealtimes must have presented a real
challenge. For the Irish, this was somewhat less of a problem. Given
a sack of Potatoes, [if they were to be found], they were pretty well set
for the trip, with the type of fare to which they were accustomed.
For the Palatines, who were accustomed to having a well-rounded diet, shipboard
fare must have presented an unappetizing round of monotony. The provisions
for sanitation were rudimentary to say the least. At best, just a pot
and a window through which to empty it's contents. The roughness
of the ride in these little leaky wooden ships must have been sickening for
the landlubber immigrants. The seas, which I encountered once during
a Caribbean cruise, were rough enough to make me loose my lunch. This,
while on board a cruise ship that was literally hundreds of times larger
than one of the emigrant ships. Finally there was the sheer boredom
that such a trip must have meant. After a week on a luxurious cruise
ship, I had enough of the "seafaring" life and was ready to go home. The
emigrants spent as much as two months and more to make their perilous crossings.
In order to compensate for the low passage rates in effect in the 1800's,
the Palatines were literally packed into the emigrant ships. These
were small cramped sailing vessels, which had recently been freight carrying
ships. They were hastily converted into the more profitable emigrant
service. With a long delay in sailing and the long and agonizingly
slow ocean crossing, one shipload of Palatines were on board for six months!
Many of them in their cramped quarters could not get fresh air or even
see the light of day.
The resultant unsanitary conditions and vermin took their toll. The
sick were described by the doctors of that time as having "Palatine Fever".
This was particularly virulent for the younger children, who died in
great numbers from what was later known on immigrant ships as "Ships Fever."
We know this today by the name typhus. It is spread by infected
fleas and body lice and is more deadly than typhoid fever. One 1710
report stated that of the 2,814 Palatines in one convoy, 446 had died; a
death rate of 15.8%! This was partially offset by 30 children being
born on shipboard. The unsanitary conditions of an emigrant ship childbirth
can only be imagined, when contrasted with today's hospital care.
Death at sea was so frequent as to become commonplace and was reported with
almost a cavalier attitude. I quote in part from the diary of Thomas
Alexander Langford, a distant cousin, aboard the New World, on a voyage from
Liverpool to New York. The time frame is October to December 1853.
|"Wed. Oct. 26th. Nice breeze
this morning but in the evening the wind turned contrary and got very rough,
tore one of the sails on the foremast. All night the vessel rocked
dreadfully. We are between England and Ireland.
|Thurs. 27th. At 3:30 a.m.
the wind raged dreadfully, they were afraid that she would run too near the
land. The wind fell after daylight. It got nearly dead calm after
dinnertime and continued so until after dark.
|Fri. 28th. Calm all day
and we have been standing still. This morning at 11 o'clock, a German
lighting his pipe with a match in the steerage, set fire to his bed and only
for the carpenter, the vessel would have been set on fire. This afternoon
I saw a man and a child thrown out, [Buried at sea]. Rained a little
|Sat. 29th. We had a good
breeze last night which continued to-day, rained about four hours this morning.
We got into the Atlantic to-day. A young woman thrown out this
|Sun. 30th. A nice wind
this morning until 11 o'clock when it began to blow very hard till night,
before nightfall they had to reef all sails. Last night a man died
next room to me, he had a wife and five of a family, was thrown out this
morning with two others. This evening two more children were thrown
Charles' father William  didn't keep a diary
recording the events of his 1816 crossing, but his 3rd cousin, [once removed],
Peter Hartrick did keep track of at least the dates. He left Ireland
on the 16th of April in 1859, arriving in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 62 days
later on the 13th of June!
It is hard to imagine being so desperate to relocate as to knowingly resort
to such a voyage in order to start literally from scratch in an unknown place.
Surely our ancestors were made of staunch material! Their study
has taught me a whole new respect for them ,along with the realization that
I owe them a debt that of course can never be repaid, except perhaps by telling
their story to the present and future generations.
Travel from Montreal to Pickering
With the promise of better economic conditions beckoning, William Hatrick
, with his wife Elizabeth and their sons William Hartrick  and Charles
 and their daughter Mary, left Ireland. Their destination port was
most likely Quebec City in that province of Canada. His final destination
was Pickering Township in Ontario, Canada.
The sea voyage didn't end William's  journey. He, his
wife,[who was expecting a child], and three children had to
travel another 400 miles from Montreal, to reach his final destination of
Pickering Township in Durham County, Ontario. Canadian main roads in
those days were merely 33 foot wide strips of cleared land through the primeval
forest. Although cut close to the ground, the tree stumps remained
in place, so that a wagon had to navigate between or over them as best as
they could. Graveling of even the main roads was not to come until
There were no railroads in Canada in 1816. This meant that the journey
from Quebec City to Duffins Creek in Pickering Township had to be made by
the St. Laurence River and Lake Ontario, or overland by wagon, or walking.
Depending on the wind and weather, a coastal schooner could make the
voyage from Quebec City to Pickering Harbor in Frenchman's Bay, in about
two weeks. If overland, the route of 400 miles most likely would have
taken about 30 hard days of travel. It is most likely that Charles and his
family traveled to Pickering Township by lake Schooner.
The family settled near the village of Duffins Creek, [originally known by
it's French name of Rivirie au Saumon, now known as Ajax], in Pickering Township
of Ontario County, [originally known as York County, now known as Durham
County], in the province of Upper Canada, [now known as Ontario]. Needless
to say, these name changes haven't made the researching of the Hartrick Clan
The Hartricks of
According to William McKay, in his book The Pickering Story, William
Hartrick , married Phoebe Haight when she was twelve years old! This
must truly have been a match made in heaven, in that it lasted throughout
their lifetimes. One family of the descendants of William Hatrick,
, with whom I regularly correspond, are also members of The Irish Palatine
In researching the clan members in Canada, I have found that the spelling
of the surname had taken on a few aberrations. John Hartrick, thought
to be the first to emigrate to Canada, spelled his name variously as Hartrick,
Hatrick and Hattrick. This latter spelling has remained for his descendants
to this day. I correspond with one of his descendants, Mike Hattrick
of Washington state.
William Hartrick  became the holder of substantial lands in the county.
The City of Toronto and the Home District Commercial Directory and
Register, lists William Hattrick , [sic.], and John Hattrick Jun'r., [sic.],
as "Constables for the Home District." He was a much respected magistrate
in Pickering Township for about thirty years. His home, built in 1843,
at 22 Linton Avenue, in Pickering Village, Ontario, has been designated a
Historical Landmark. The street was named after one of William's daughters,
who's married name was Lydia Linton. A third son named Benjamin was born
to them in Canada in 1824.
It appears that Charles Edward Hartrick  never became a landowner in Ontario.
An extensive search of the land transaction records in the Archives of Ontario,
failed to find any mention of him. I have therefore concluded that
he rented or leased his farm in Pickering Township. He is listed as
living on Lot No. 11, with his brother William , thus it is logical that
he rented his property from his brother William . Here he built
his one story log cabin on this land and settled into the business of being
Charles  met Mary, the daughter of Thomas Furghgerd and in
due course they fell in love and were married. In June of 1845, my
grandfather, Charles Edward Hartrick , was born. Charles' siblings
were Margaret, born in 1847, Thomas, born in 1850, John W., born in 1855,
James, born in 1857 and Jenny, of whom I have no further information at this
time. Charles  and Mary's youngest son, Robert G. Hartrick, was
born in the United States in 1861.
|Charles , for reasons yet to be discovered, found himself displeased
with that life in Canada. Perhaps it was the change in climate from
the benevolent temperatures of County Wexford, to the rather harsher Canadian
winters. I personally believe that it was his displeasure with not
owning the land that he worked. When he finally emigrated to the United
|Charles Edward Hartrick , My great
||Mary Fueghgered Hartrick My great
||States and established himself in the village of Royal Oak Michigan,
he owned the land upon which he lived.
The Palatine Demographics in
In Canada, the Hartricks, as well as the other Palatines that they
joined and those who were to follow later, lost their identity as Palatines.
There were no further economic advantages to being so identified.
The favorable rents paid by the early Palatines in Ireland, did not
apply in Canada. In that the Protestants were now in the majority,
the religious separation from their Irish Catholic neighbors no longer existed.
The 1851-52 Census Returns for Pickering Township shows that the
Protestants numbered 4,223, while there were only 519 Roman Catholics reported.
There were an additional 1,207 who reported themselves as having no religious
affiliation. Thus, Catholics were in the minority by a margin of ten to one.
The same census return listed the foreign origin of the inhabitants
of Pickering Township as being 1,035 from Ireland, 823 from England, 441
from Scotland, 11 French Canadians and 89 native Canadians. Apparently
not everyone wanted to divulge his national origin, but of those who did,
the foreign born outnumbered the native born by a margin of over 25 to one.
Thus the Protestant Irish in Canada were in a substantial majority
as opposed to the minuscule minority that they had been in Ireland.
The Palatines were in an area where everyone was essentially on the same
footing. They were largely foreign born farmers, who were, for the most part,
Protestant. Being largely undeveloped, land was inexpensive, thus the farms
were larger. A standard lot was 200 acres. These were generally subdivided
into two 100-acre farms. No longer were they cheek to jowl with their
neighbors, as they had been in Ireland. Thus they were more independent of
each other and there was no longer a reason to maintain the close-knit, closed
Palatine society of the "Old Country."
William  and his family were not the last of the Hartricks to leave Ireland
to come to Canada. As noted above, Peter left Ireland in 1859. His
descendants largely remained in Canada and form part of the population of
present day Ontario. An 1877 map of Pickering Township shows a cluster
of seven Hartrick farms around the village of Duffins Creek, [now Ajax].
During the 1850's and 60's Canada's railroad system was burgeoning.
In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, linked Montreal and Toronto.
In 1860, Toronto was linked with Sarnia, Ontario. This was only
a short ferry ride across the St. Clair River from Port Huron, Michigan,
in the U.S.A. Taking advantage of this latest advance in transportation,
about 1860, Charles , moved his family to the United States.
The "Back Door' into the United
If New York is considered the "front door" to the United States, then
Canada must be considered the "back door". Large numbers of immigrants,
especially Irish, have entered through this "back door". In 1860,
immigration quotas had not yet been put in place, so all that was needed
was to put your foot on American soil, and a simple application made you
a citizen. Being ever cautious, Charles  and his sons, waited until March
of 1880 to apply. It is interesting to note that he spelled his name
Hatrick, as did his father William . In all other of Charles' 
documented records, he spelled the name Hartrick. At that time, the
female members of the family automatically became citizens by virtue of their
father's, or husband's citizenship.
As a youngster, I was often asked by my peers, "What are you?" By this,
they meant, of what national origin was my family. In America, unless
you are an Indian, everyone or his or her family came from someplace else.
This is even true of the Indians, except that they have been here so
long that we consider them to be natives. A byproduct of this rather
curious practice, was that the children made each other aware of their family's
national origins. In my case, I didn't know, so I asked my parents.
My mother told me that my great grandfather came to Canada and the
United States, from Ireland. My Canadian born grandfather came with
his father to Michigan. This was the beginning of my life long interest
in my ancestors.
Today there are 128 Hartrick families, in the United States, scattered from
coast to coast. Not all of the American Hartricks are descendants of
the Irish Palatines. In one documented case in 1853, a Friedrich Hartrick
arrived in America, after having emigrating directly from the state of
Hohenzollern, in Germany. Friedrich claimed the distinction of being
a cousin of Germany's Chancellor, Bismark. Henry Hartrick, who emigrated
from Hanover Germany in 1867, founded another branch of the Clan. Henry
settled in Farmingtown Iowa where he was a wagon maker.
|My grandfather, Charles , was just 17, when the American Civil
War broke out in 1862. Just the right age to be a "soldier boy." As
noted in the "Hartricks of Ireland", the Hartricks were not of the stock
of which heroes are made. Taking advantage of a provision of the military
draft law of that time, Charles , bought a substitute for himself for
$300. Thus he avoided the draft and the clan has survived and continued
to grow. After entering the United States in about 1862, Charles  purchased
property in Royal Oak Michigan, a present day suburb of Detroit. His
home was built there in 1880. It still stands at 1305 Hartrick Street
in Royal Oak. Now for a moment from the "Twilight Zone". Originally,
the home was built for Charles and Mary Hartrick. The present owners, [unrelated
to the Hartrick Clan], are also
|named Charles and Mary!
Great Grandfather's Home.
Their attorney in the purchase of the home, was Bruce Hartrick. Charles
Hartrick  and his wife Mary were laid to rest in the Royal Oak Cemetery,
with a monument remarkably similar in design to the Hartrick
monument in the church yard of St. Mary's Church, [COI], at Old Ross, County
Wexford, Ireland. Their descendants include several attorneys
and at least one judge, [George Briggs Hartrick, mentioned above], a
veterinarian, two dentists several respected businessmen, as well as engineers
and educators. Thus Mary and Charles  made a positive contribution to
their adoptive country.
Judge George B. Hartrick's obituary, [Charles 's grandson], provided a
long missing piece of family information. It states that George was
born on "A tiny farm off Woodward Avenue, between Eleven and Twelve Mile
Roads, in what is now Berkley". A 1908 map of Oakland County Michigan
shows the Hartrick property off Woodward Avenue as being quite small; just
a couple of village lots at best. This confirms the family legend that
placed Charles  on a Woodward Avenue farm across the street from what
was later to become the Ford Motor Car manufacturing plant. Actually,
the Ford plant, built in 1910, was located some 6 ½ miles further south
on Woodward Avenue. My Mother, the former Lucy Bezemek, was employed
in that plant as an auto top folder, at the time that she met my father,
Charles Edward Hartrick .
The Ford plant was in it's time, the center of the industrial world. It covered
two million square feet, [almost 42 acres] and employed more than 18,000
hourly employees of 49 different national origins. Together they
manufactured more than 16 million Model T Ford automobiles.
My father met my mother at a local dance. He asked if he might see
her home and she accepted his invitation. On the way home, father proposed
marriage and this too she accepted. A Methodist minister named H. Lester
Smith married them after a two-year engagement. My given name is in
My grandfather, Charles Edward
|| When on his own, my grandfather Charles , rented the Medbury
Park farm, on Woodward Avenue, near Royal Oak. This was less than ½
mile north of his father's home. There is no doubt that he was a successful
farmer and dairyman. He married Esther Livonia McDowel, who bore him a son
that they named Frederick. "Little Freddie"succumbed to scarlet fever
at the age of twelve
|Charles Edward Hartrick .
Lydia Tetley Hartrick
|and their two other children
died in infancy. Esther died at the tender age of 22, in 1878.
Charles  then married Margaret Brown who bore him two children,
Carrie and Lewis, before her passing. Lewis holds the clan record for
longevity, having survived to age 90. Finally, Charles , married
Lydia Tetley. She bore him three children; Mable in 1886, my father,
Charles Edward , in 1892, and Gladys in 1897.
|Through "hard work and strict economy", [quoted from his obituary],
Charles , while renting the Medbury Park farm, was able to save enough
money to purchase his own farm near Rochester Michigan. This was known
as the Knight property. It had been an original land purchase from the Federal
Government, by Mr. Peter Knight. Here, Charles , operated a dairy,
delivering milk to the residents of Rochester Michigan.
||My Grandfathers home at Rochester, Mich.
He was a strict "tea-totaler"; so much so that he wouldn't raise rye
wheat on his farm, for fear that someone might make it into whisky. It was
he who lit the spark that would result in generations of engineers. He
took my father into nearby Rochester Michigan, to watch the Corliss steam
engines operate at the sugar mill there. This resulted in my father's
fascination with machinery and things mechanical. Charles  died
suddenly in 1907.
My father, Charles Edward Hartrick
|| In retrospect, my father, Charles , was truly a renaissance
man. It was he who made the quantum leap from the agrarian life of
his ancestors, into the machine age. Later this included the electronic
age as well. As a boy, his imagination was already at work. When
the farm's windmill blew down, he salvaged the ladder and constructed a high
dive at the swimming hole on the farm's creek. In true Hartrick tradition,
Charles E. Hartrick .
Lucy Bezemek, my mother.
|he didn't dive from it, but some
of his older friends did. The tracks of the interurban Detroit United
Railway crossed the creek at the back of his father's farm. Hooking a wire
from the overheat trolley line, he dropped the other end into the creek and
was thus able to electrocute fish. Truly there is a providence that looks
after boys, otherwise none would survive.
With only a grammar school education for credentials, in 1910, he left the
farm for Detroit, Michigan where he was employed in a drafting room trimming
drawings. After attending a few night school courses, he became a draftsman
and finally a mechanical engineer. During World War I, he was a civilian
employee of the Navy Department, engaged in the design of aircraft engines.
Thus another Hartrick escaped military service. After the war
he married my mother, Lucy Frances Bezemek. She bore him two sons,
Charles Edward , in 1920 and myself in 1928, as well as a daughter, Doris
Mary in 1922. My father's final employment was as the chief mechanical
engineer for The Chicago Motor Coach Company.
To list but a few of his accomplishments, in the 1930's he designed an automatic
transmission for busses. To my knowledge, this was the first of its
kind. This used the principle of centrifugal force that he had seen
as a boy, in the governors of the Corliss engines, that his father had taken
him to watch. The patent for a recording fare box, that was able to discriminate
between legitimate and counterfeit coins, was granted, listing him as the
inventor. He originated the design for glassed in smoking compartments
for busses in the early 1930's. He designed the public address systems
that were used by bus drivers to identify bus stops by calling out street
names. The complete design for the big six cylinder bus engines was also
He employed his innovative genius during Chicago's severe winter of 1933-34.
The heating boiler at the huge bus complex ,where he was employed, failed
in sub zero [Fahrenheit], weather. Railroad tracks passed near the
bus barn, with a spur siding serving the facility. Father made arrangements
with the railroad company to have a steam locomotive spotted on the siding.
Steam was then piped from the locomotive to heat the building, while
the repairs to the boiler were being made.
|As a side business during the early days of radio, he designed and
custom built receiving sets. Custom recordings were made on the "Hartrick"
label. Our bathtub at home was used in the developing and printing
of his photographs. For his own amusement he was an amateur cartoonist.
The list could go on and on, but is presented here to show the environment
in which I was fortunate enough to have been raised. In the back of
my mind was the thought, "If he can do it, so can I".
The "Hartrick" label.
The Irish Roots of my Father's
My father had several mannerisms whose roots can be traced back to
his forefathers in Ireland. If we children were noisy, he'd say, "Stop
that Bedlam in there!" This was a direct reference to the infamous
Bedlam Insane Asylum in England. When someone would sneeze, he would
give them a sort of anti-blessing by saying, "Bad cess to you". The
root of this saying goes back to the Black Plague of the middle ages and
other later plagues that were to ravage Ireland. Sneezing marked the onset
of the plague, so literally the saying meant, "A bad tax on you for having
gotten the plague".
Finally, when we children were naughty, father would say, "I'll snatch you
bald." The root of this stems from the form of torture used by the British,
on the Irish. When a person was suspected of having information that they
considered valuable, and that person was reluctant to talk, the British,
during the Irish Rising of 1798, employed what they called "Pitch Capping".
A hat or cap was filled with hot liquid tar and then crammed onto
the hapless victim's head. When the mass had cooled, it was removed,
along with the victim's hair and scalp, by snatching it off his head from
the rear forward. Pitch Capping was also employed by the British on
the American colonists during the Revolutionary War.
Now I'm quite sure that my father didn't know the root meaning of the phrase,
or he wouldn't have used it. But it is interesting to know that these phrases
were passed down from father to son from all the way back to the "Ould Sod".
My Siblings, My Family and
My older brother Charles  is a retired electrical engineer and his
son Charles , is an executive with an engineering firm. His field of expertise
is computer assisted drafting, [CAD]. This however is where the family
tradition of the name Charles Edward ends. Charles  named his son
Patrick Edward. Has a little bit of old Erin remained to the present
day? My older sister, Doris Mary, became a teacher, and was an inspiration
for my efforts at writing. Her encouragement and guidance were taken
to heart and aided me considerably. She passed away without issue, October
||Our family built a summer home in the upper peninsula of Michigan
during the early 1930's. This later became our year-round home.
Thus, most of my grammar school education was in a one room country
school. High School was in a near-by small town. Like my father,
I left home at 17 years of age, to seek my fortune in the city.
|Our Summer Home in Upper Michigan.
In Chicago I was employed by a boiler company as a draftsman for a few
years before being employed by the City Of Chicago. There I worked
as a draftsman until being appointed as an engineer in 1965. I then
headed the group that performed the mechanical engineering for Chicago's
three airports. You see, my father had taken me to watch Corliss engines
run in a sugar mill, as had his father. After 38 years of service with
the City, I retired.
In order to fulfill my military obligation to the draft laws still in effect
after World War II, I joined the Illinois Army National Guard. In true
Hartrick Clan fashion, I enlisted on the last day that this option was available.
After a little more than 40 years of continuous service, I retired
as a Lieutenant Colonel. Thus another Hartrick has successfully escaped
full time military service and the clan continues on.
In 1950, I married Dorothy Howe. We had two children, William Henry,
born in 1953 and Jeannette Marie, born in 1964. Dorothy passed away
in 1988. I now share my life with my friend, Sophia Konieczski.
In the family tradition, I took my son, William Henry to watch steam engines
run in one of Chicago's water pumping stations. He holds a bachelor's
degree in chemical engineering, but after graduation, decided to follow his
first love; railroading. He currently drives locomotives for the
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. He too fulfilled his military obligation
through service in the Illinois National Guard.
My daughter Jeannette was employed by a Michigan Avenue, [Chicago], advertising
firm. She is married to an attorney. One of Jeannette's ideas
for a television commercial was aired. The story line was that by using
the telephone, [the service of the client], Jeannette, of Hartricks Boutique,
could inform her customers that the merchandise that they were seeking had
come in to the store. She has since become a full time homemaker and mother.
Thus I have three times become a grandfather.
The story of the Hartricks of America ends here with the present generation.
I leave the continuation of the Hartrick saga to the future generations
* The Painting of The Dunbrody at the Quay in new
Ross, is reproduced here by the kind permission of the artist,
Mr.Brian Dennington, County Wexford, Ireland. All other photographs owned
by, or photographed by the author.