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The Hartricks of America

By Lester J. Hartrick


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 [1] and his Son William is [2], and so on.

The Great Potato Famine in Ireland.

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 used."

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 of starvation.
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". 

Day-to-Day Palatine Life.

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 to Canada.

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 [1], 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 Canada.

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 [1] 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 District."

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 this day.
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 evening.
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 out."

Charles' father William [1] 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 Township.

With the promise of better economic conditions beckoning, William Hatrick [1], with his wife Elizabeth and their sons William Hartrick [2] and Charles [1] 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 [1] 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 much later.

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 any easier.

The Hartricks of Canada.

According to William McKay, in his book The Pickering Story, William Hartrick [2], 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, [2], with whom I regularly correspond, are also members of The Irish Palatine Association.

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 [2] became the holder of substantial lands in the county.  The City of Toronto and the Home District Commercial Directory and Register, lists William Hattrick [2], [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 [1] 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 [2], thus it is logical that he rented his property from his brother William [2].  Here he built his one story log cabin on this land and settled into the business of being a farmer.
Charles [1] 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 [2], 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 [1] and Mary's youngest son, Robert G. Hartrick, was born in the United States in 1861.
Charles [1], 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 [1], My great grandfather. Mary Fueghgered Hartrick My great grandmother. States and established himself in the village of Royal Oak Michigan, he owned the land upon which he lived.

The Palatine Demographics in Canada.

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 [1] 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 [1], moved his family to the United States.

The "Back Door' into the United States.

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 [1] 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 [2].  In all other of Charles' [1] 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 [2], 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 [2], 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 [1] 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 [1] 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 [1] made a positive contribution to their adoptive country.

Judge George B. Hartrick's obituary, [Charles [1]'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 [1] 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 [3].

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 his honor.

My grandfather, Charles Edward Hartrick [2].

When on his own, my grandfather Charles [2], 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 [2].

Lydia Tetley Hartrick

and their two other children

died in infancy.  Esther died at the tender age of 22, in 1878.  Charles [2] 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 [2], married Lydia Tetley.  She bore him three children; Mable in 1886, my father, Charles Edward [3], in 1892, and Gladys in 1897.
Through "hard work and strict economy", [quoted from his obituary], Charles [2], 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 [2], 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 [2] died suddenly in 1907.

My father, Charles Edward Hartrick [3].

In retrospect, my father, Charles [3], 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 [3].

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 [4], 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 his.

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 Sayings.

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 Myself.

My older brother Charles [4] is a retired electrical engineer and his son Charles [5], 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 [5] 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 16, 1987.
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 to chronicle.

* 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.

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The Hartricks of Ireland.

The Hartricks of New Ross.

Last Modified: May 1, 2003.