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The Hartricks of New Ross, County

Wexford, Ireland.

By Lester J. Hartrick


By what gauge do we measure the success of an individual, or of a group? The first that might come to mind would be wealth and property. With a bit of reflection we may consider power to be a more accurate gauge. Finally, the love of his fellows might be considered as the ultimate measure.

 By all of these measures, the Hartricks of New Ross have proven themselves to be one of the most successful of all of Queen Anne's transplants into Ireland. Many Irish Palatines have become successful, even prominent, after emigrating from Ireland. The Hartricks of New Ross however, were able to become successful while still in Ireland.

Now for those of you who think that I might be trying to exalt myself by association, I hasten to add that when I first wrote this article, I did not think that the New Ross Hartricks were not my ancestors. Inasmuch as my ancestors were farmers in Canada, I believed that they were of the plain farmers of Old Ross, County Wexford, Ireland. As Mark Twain expressed it, to do otherwise, would be like, "Getting drunk off the smell of someone else's cork". I have since come onto positive evidence that my ancestors were not of the Old Ross branch of the Clan, but were actually of the New Ross Hartricks, the subjects of this article.

The Irish Palatine Story.

For the sake of those not familiar with the story of the Irish Palatines, I'll recap briefly. In the early 1700's, Queen Anne of England sought to populate America with tax paying citizens. She sent agents into the Palatinate of Germany to induce the people there to emigrate to America. This effort was so successful, that more Germans arrived in England than the Queen could afford to send to America. At the invitation of the Irish government, many of these German families were sent to Ireland. These people and their descendants to this day, are known as Irish Palatines.

Let us consider for a moment, what it meant to be one of these early German transplants. First of all, they were foreigners who spoke neither English nor Gaelic. They were all Protestants in a land that was almost exclusively Catholic. To encourage these industrious immigrants, their landlords charged them less rent than their Irish neighbors. With this latter favorable condition and the advanced farming methods that the Palatines had brought with them from Germany, the Palatines soon became more prosperous than their native Irish neighbors. Thus they were separated from the Irish culturally, economically, socially and religiously.
Yet, these barriers were dramatically overcome by the New Ross branch of the Hartrick Clan. Arriving in Ireland in 1709 as "strangers in a strange land", within 31 years, they had established themselves in a plumbing business at 45 South Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, that was to last for over 200 years! This feat demanded a constantly maintained high level of competence and integrity that was passed down from generation to generation. The founder of this prominent branch of the clan was John George Hartrick, grandson of Johann [Hans] Georg Hartrick, the original Palatine emigrant. John's grandchildren are the earliest to have been researched in depth.

45 South St. New Ross.

Fortunately for historians, county and town directories and guides from centuries past, are a rich source of information that is available to us for research. These give us glimpses into the day-to-day activities and the occupations of the people. From these we can begin to have insight into who these people really were and their position in the society, as well as the history of their times.

The occupations of the New Ross Hartricks were many and varied. They ranged from what we would call "blue collar" workers to the professions of educators, merchants, politicians and even one who was a ship owner.

I am deeply grateful to Mr. Bertie Gordon of New Ross, for copies of his research, from which I have excerpted freely.

New Ross Business Directory Entries.

Pigot and Co.'s. Directory of 1824, lists George Hartrick on North Street as a "Merchant". Most likely George's son, Standish Hartrick, who was 20 years old at this time, worked with his father in the family business.

Sherman's Commercial Guide for 1839, records the firm of George Hartrick and Co. [which includes his son Standish], as being "Ship owners at the Quay". John Hartrick is listed as a "Black and Whitesmith" [tinsmith], on Sugarhouse Lane. Standish and George Hartrick, [the above George's sons], living at 59 South Street, in New Ross, are both listed as "Free Burgess' of Ross", which was an elected position. The exact scope of the duties and authority of this office is subject to additional research, but I think that the position was similiar to that of an alderman here in America. It was an elected position.

59 South Street, New Ross.

The New Ross Terminal and Commercial Directory, for the years of 1840, '41 and '42, list both George and Standish Hartrick as "Burgesses". George Hartrick and Co., is listed as "Bacon Merchants" and separately, as "Ship Owners" on the Quay. John Hartrick is listed under "Black and White Smiths".

Slater's National Commercial Directory, for 1846, lists Mary Hartrick as Mistriss of the Crochet School, Hill, Barack Lane, New Ross. George Hartrick [Jr.] is listed as as "Master of Boys", at "Schools of the Friends of Education", on South Street. Hartrick, [George Sr.] and Co., is listed as being "Agents for the Waterford Steamer Shamrock at the Quay". William Hartrick is listed as the operator of the "Black and White Smithing" business, formerly operated by John Hartrick, his first cousin, [once removed]. By this time, William has relocated the shop to Marsh Lane. The firm of George Hartrick and Co. is listed as "Bacon Merchant" at the Quay.

George Hartrick, [Sr.], passed away about 1846. The family business of Bacon packing and ship agent, was then operated by his son Standish until his death May 23,1852. Standish's son George Standish Hartrick, who was married two months earlier, sailed for Australia, on the ship, Bengal Merchant, the day after his father's funeral. There he founded the thriving clan of Australian Hartrick's. The commercial directories make no further mention of the firm of Hartrick and Co.

Slater's Commercial Directory, for 1856, lists William Hartrick at his new March Lane address as a "Blacksmith [& white]". A black smithing business is to this day, operated from this Marsh Lane shop. The original forge is still in use. This was innovative in that the hearth could be raised and lowered to accommodate varying sizes of metals to be worked.

I have been told that it was William Hartrick who built the sheet lead covered dome on the Tholsel, [City Hall], in New Ross.

The dome has remained in service since it was first built.

The Hartrick Forge.

Slater's Commercial Directory, for 1870, lists Sarah Hartrick as a "Faculty Member" at the "Endowed School", on Priory Street. William Hartrick was still smithing at the March Lane address.

Wexford County, Guide and Directory, published in 1885, now lists William Hartrick as a "Shipsmith" and also under ''Smith [Forges]'' at the Marsh Lane location.

George Hartrick is listed as an "Agent" in Priory Lane.

The New Ross Standard Almanac, for 1911, advertises Jonas Hartrick as performing "Repairs" on "All classes of machinery", as well as a "Special shop for cycle fitting". Jonas' bicycles were hand made in order to custom fit them to each customer.

With this evidence at hand, the Hartrick Clan of New Ross can be established as not only being in the trades, but to have been in commerce and Industry, as well as education and politics.

W. & F. Hartrick, Plumbers and Sanitary Engineers

The firm of W. [William] and F. [Frederick] Hartrick, list themselves as "Plumbers and Sanitary Engineers". They were said to have been very clever men. Mrs. Mary Doyle, who operates an excellent Bed & Breakfast in New Ross, knew of Frederick Hartrick and said that "He could fix anything".  She related a story that to me, best exemplifies "Irish cute".  The town of New Ross needed manhole covers and the firm of W. & F. Hartrick submitted the low bid and were awarded the contract. They designed the covers and had a foundry in Manchester England cast them.

Gaslight Ad. for 1907-1908.

When delivered, they bore the inscription, "W. & F. Hartrick, Plumbers and Sanitary Engineers".  Thus, the firm had free advertising for the life of the covers, which is estimated to be about 75 years.

Their firm was also purveyors of toilet sets.  These were of the overhead cast iron tank types, with a pull chain and knob. Emblazoned across the tank was the name "Hartrick" and that same name was on the enameled pull chain knob.  Some of these toilets are said to still be in service in New Ross. Thus, with each use, the name was brought to mind. This was especially so for the male members of the family. The firm of W. & F. Hartrick also made their own specialized hand tools for their trade. One was a portable thread die. This tool was used to restore the threads on screws and small bolts. It was made from a file that they had heated
and hammered flat. Several holes of varying sizes were drilled in

Toilet Flush Knob.

the blank and threads were cut into these. The tool was then case hardened. This is a process of tempering which leaves the surface of the metal hard so that it will retain it's sharpness, but it leaves the metal below the hardened surface malleable, so that the tool was not brittle. Similar tools were made for tapping threads into metal. Until 1998, these tools are still in use in a similar business, operated from the South Street address.

Their business was not limited to plumbing work for individuals in their private homes. They also installed gas piping for home and commercial lighting. Most importantly, they were under contract to the New Ross Urban District Council to provide complete maintenance for the water distribution system, both inside and outside of the district. This included every thing from the excavation of streets for the extension of existing water mains and for the repair of broken underground piping, to the installing faucet washers. The work was to be performed on an as needed basis, round the clock and seven days a week. Thus the Hartrick plumbing business was actually the precursor of New Ross' public works. Truly, this was indeed a work of major importance to the town. The town's confidence was well placed.

William Hartrick was also a lay preacher in his Protestant church. He is said to have entered St. Mary's and St. Michael's Catholic Churches by a side door, which led into the church's mortuary. This was a small ante-room used to house the casket prior to a funeral. From this vantage point, he could listen to the priest's sermon and take notes from which to prepare his own sermons. It is not clear whether he criticized or emulated the priest's sermons, but his even handed fairness would suggest that he did a bit of both.

A local newspaper, notes that Frederick was an "Assistant Parish Clerk." This is from an article titled, "Rosbercon, County Wexford, Appointment of Parochial Nominator."

The Good Ship, The British Queen.

A clan legend from some turn of the century letters, has it that the firm of Standish Hartrick and Son, [Dublin and Liverpool], were engaged in international shipping. Their ship, The British Queen, or more familiarly, The Queen, was is said to have sailed to America, as well as India., Some fairly extensive research has failed to turn up any corroborating evidence, [aside from the 1840-1842 reference above], of the Queen's existence.

The Hartrick Properties.

Although no access to the personal financial records of the clan exists, there is a very good indicator of their personal wealth in Griffith"s Primary Evaluation of Ireland, 1853. This document lists the individual real estate holdings of that time in some detail. The term "Offices" in the Evaluation, refers to the out-buildings, other than the house itself, which were located on the property. These might be barns, workshops, sheds and similar structures. All of the properties are listed as being in the Parish of St. Mary's.

George Hartrick is listed as owning a house, offices, yard and garden.

George Hartrick is also listed as owning slightly over two acres of land and garden.

William Hartrick is listed as owning 20 houses, each with yard and garden.

Standish Hartrick is listed as owning 2 houses, with yard, and small garden.

It does appear a bit odd, but despite considerable holdings, [at least in the case of William], each of these men are recorded as having leased their actual place of residence.

The Downturn in the Hartrick Fortunes.

Fortunes did not always fare well for New Ross Hartricks. The coming of the railroad to New Ross in 1844, greatly diminished the number of passengers using the slower river steamship, Shamrock. Passage from New Ross to Waterford on the Shamrock, was one shilling in 1885. As agents for the ship, the firm of George Hartrick suffered a reduction in income.

Samuel Kough opened a bacon curing factory on the Quay in 1835. The standard method of bacon, [pork], curing at the time was heavy salting. About this time, tastes were beginning to change from heavy salt to "mild cure". Kough introduced "ice curing" to the bacon industry in New Ross. This product took first place in the London England Market.

Although it is with a bit of conjecture, I believe that with this newer and more popular product in competition, Standish Hartrick's bacon business began to falter. This coupled with the decrease in the steamship line business, put him into financial difficulties. In order to shore up his business' financial health, he took on some new partners. This proved to be a major mistake. They were dishonest men and were said to have "diddled" him oft of his business. Standish was said to have behaved magnificently in this financial crisis, using his own personal funds to protect his investors. He is said to have died, [at the age of 48], a broken man.

The Full Measure of Success.

By far, the most difficult achievement of being a success, is that of winning the love of your fellow man.  This is especially so when engaged in a business located in a small town.  This demanding measure is that in which the Hartricks of New Ross excelled.  I offer the following in evidence:

In the interior of St. Mary's Church, [Church of Ireland], there is a plaque to Standish's memory. It reads:


This monument a tribute of affectionate regard to

the memory of

Standish Hartrick


has been erected by a few of his attached friends

who in life prized him for

his generous disinterestedness* his

integrity of character and his illimitable liberality* but who now mourn

his premature removal from the circle

to which his presence ever added pleasure

O B** 23d May MDCCCLII

aet*** 48

*In his contact with his fellows, he was not concerned with their religion or national origin, but treated all alike.
** He died.
*** At the age of.

The following is an extract from the lengthily obituary of William Hartrick, dated Sept. 6, 1918. "There passed away on the 25th ultimo*, a popular and highly respected citizen of New Ross in the person of Mr. William Hartrick of South Street, son of the late Mr. W. H. Hartrick, plumber, New Ross. On account of his ill health some years ago, his brother, Mr. Frederick Hartrick joined him in business. He was a member of a family whose connections with the town extend back to close on 200 years. He was held in esteem by every class and the large and representative character** of the funeral to St. Mary's Cemetery, was expressive of his popularity and that of his family.

Standish Hartrick Plaque.

 * In or of the month preceding the current one.             **Both Catholic and Protestant attended the services..

 The service was conducted by Very Reverend Canon Gibson LL.D., assisted by  Reverend L. A. P. Hunter."
Thus the Hartricks of New Ross were fully integrated into Irish society. These latter Hartricks were of the fifth generation to have been born in Ireland and of course able to speak the native tongue, whether it be Irish or English. Most likely they had no idea of their German heritage. From the above, it is evident that they were able to transcend the religious barrier between Catholics and Protestants and live in prosperous co-existence.

What then became of these prosperous and loved Palatines? It has been said that Ireland's principle export was its people. Some of the Hartricks emigrated to Canada, America and Australia. My own line chose a more circuitous route to Canada. They immigrated to the United States and petitioned the Canadian consulate in New York, for a grant

of Canadian land.   They then settled in Canada and were eventually given a grant of 200 acres of land there. 

St. Mary's Church,  [C.O.I.], New Ross.

Some of the Hartrick ladies married in Ireland and thus took up their husband's surnames. Other Hartrick families weren't blessed with any children. The last of the Hartricks living in Ireland, of whom I have any record, died in Wexford Town in 1991.

This is but a glimpse into the lives of an exceptional clan. It would be unconscionable to let it's story fade away into antiquity. With this small bit of their history brought to light, I hope that their story might be preserved for yet a little while longer. The Hartricks of New Ross were, to the extent of my research, one of the most successful of all of the Irish Palatines in Ireland.   For my own personal measure of success, I'd like to quote a line from a poem written by Arthur J. Stanley;

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much".

Photographs by the author.

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Last Modified June 30, 2003.