Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cork to America

This story was going to be about just one individual's trek to the states from Ireland, but it started to exploded on me as I gathered the information I wanted to share.  Also, in the process of gathering my notes, I started discovery more information that I didn't have and so the story grew and now much bigger than a few lines.  This story is now about the John and Mary Herrick family of Cork Ireland. Here is what  I know..........

Our story begins In the early 1800's with the marriage of John Herrick and Mary Cronin, both of Cork.  I should say at this point that the name of Herrick is not original to Ireland, but rather they came from England to rule over the Irish, but this was many many many years prior to our story at hand. John and Mary married around the year 1860.  John was about 21 and Mary 19 when they wed. The best I can tell the family was Catholic and their first born was my great grandfather George Francis Herrick, in 1863.  John and Mary had quite a few children that followed after George, it must have been hard raising children through the potato famine years in Ireland, but they did!  I don't know John and Mary's social status, but the Herricks' at one point time were landowners in County Cork, so there may have been some assistance afoot.  George's siblings were;  Hannah 1866, Henry 1868, James 1871, Mary 1872, Edmund 1874 and Bridget 1877.  I believe that were more children that didn't make it past babes.  Now, John and Mary lived into the seventies and never left the Emerald Isle, however many of the children did.  George being the first.

George F Herrick (I)
In 1873, yes at the age of 10, George is reported to have migrated to the states.  Why would anyone allow a ten year to travel to another world by himself is unknown to me, he may have traveled with relatives or the report date is incorrect.  But, he reported to the 1900 census taker that he was in country at that time.  At some point George makes his way to Freeport Illinois.  Here he meets his future wife; Mary Clement Kennedy.  Margaret is the daughter of Michael and Margaret Kennedy. Michael is a railroad man and works for the Illinois Central Railroad company.  Margaret Kennedy is called Maggie by most and keeps a good house for her husband and children; Mary and John and her mother; Catherine Welsh at Monterey St in Freeport Illinois.   Michael and Mag are both from Ireland and have been in country prior to 1860.  How Michael kept himself out of the Civil War is another great mystery as many Irish were ushered straight into the war right off the ships.  Maybe, it was cause the main push of the war was a year or two away.  A priest by the name of Father Mangan of St Mary's Catholic Church in Freeport held the marriage ceremony for George and Mary on 16 February 1887.  George being 24 years of age and Mary was 18 at the time of their marriage.  Our new formed family got down to business and had their first child in April of 1888.  Unfortunately, the child Margaret Mary didn't live past July of the same year.  Her obit reads as "Obit 20 July 1888 Freeport Weekly Democrat. A daughter of George Herrick died today, aged three months and eleven days. The funeral will occur tomorrow morning. Mr. and Mrs Herrick have the sympathy of their friends in their sad bereavement."  It 's sad thing to loose a child.  It had to be specially hard for Mary loosing her first born as it would be for any young mother.   Being young and a good catholic family and the fact live moves along, another baby soon appears.  In May of 1889 Edmund J is born and then George Francis (my grandfather) comes along in March of 1892.  Shortly thereafter, the family moves to the Chicago area and by the 1920 onto Tampa Bay Florida.  George and Mary did have a total of eleven children; Mary Margaret, Edmund J, George Francis (my grandfather), Leo J, Mercedes, Henry J, Mabel, Bernice, Robert, Cyril Paul, and Adelaide was the last child born to this family.  Adelaide came along  in Dec of 1910.  As with George's parents, many of these children didn't past babes.  The children's names were shared in a letter from Adelaide to my mother, Mary Margaret Reynolds, in the 1970's that came to my hands upon my mothers death.   George and Mary rest in Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Tampa.  After reaching Florida the family prospered and many of their children are still living in the Florida area.  

by GF Herrick
Georg F Herrick (II)
George did follow the main family group with his wife Grace R Herrick nee Whitfield to Florida, but then followed a calling to head west.  George and Grace through their travels had five children; one in Chicago; Grace Francis, one in Utah; Ruth M  and three in Tacoma Washington; George Francis (yes another one), Mary Margaret and Cyril Robert. George was 25 and Grace was 21 when they married in Chicago Illinois, Jun 1917.  By September 1918 Grace F Herrick was born. By the 1920's we find George and Grace are also in Florida with the rest of the Herrick family.  They stayed for a short period of time before start their way west.  While in Tampa George worked for the Altantic Tire Company from which a short story was written on company letter head.  You see, George fancy himself as a writer of sorts and actually wrote many story shorts that was collected in a loose binder.  Once reaching Washington they stay, but for a few journey here and thar, but returning to Tacoma. George and Mary lived out their years in Washington.   George rests in the Calvary Cemetery in Tacoma Wa. and Grace rests in the Oakwood Hill cemetery also of Tacoma.  George was both an enlisted soldier and officer in the US Army Guard during WWI.   I don't believe he was called up for overseas duty. As a side note; for some reason George had everyone believing he was born in the state of Washington, but rather it was Illinois.  Many of George's decendants still live in the Washington area.

Jumping back to those that left Ireland for the states, James Joseph Herrick, brother of George F. Herrick (my great grandfather) was at the age of 25 when he decide to leave his home country of Ireland. According to the Umbria ships manifest, James is heading for Monterey St., Freeport Illinois, the home of his older brother, George F. Herrick.   James for whatever the reason, settled in the Cambridge Massachusetts area.  Did James ever visit George as the ships manifest states?  Well to this point there is no evidence that he went any further west than that of Massachusetts.  None the less, in 1897,  James departs Ireland at Queenstown, on the ship UmBria.  And after six short days upon the waters of the north Atlantic, the Umbria docks at New York.  As the 1900 census taker makes his rounds in June, we find James and his cousin living as boarder in the house of John Bradley; 662 Cambridge St., Cambridge Ma.  As a side note, John Bradley is also of  Ireland.  James J and his cousin James are laborers in local factories.  When the census taker next catches up to James, in 1910, we find that James is hosting his brother, Edmund and sister, Mary and cousin James, in his house at 157 Spring Street Cambridge Ma. By the 1920, James (cousin) is married as is Edmund, but James and Mary (sister) are still share a residence, 375 Portland St., Cambridge Ma.  So, we now have George, James J, Edmund, Mary Herrick and cousin James Herrick in the USA.  James J and sister Mary stays in Cambridge Ma. where I loose track on them in the 1930's.  The best I can tell at this point, neither got married.

S.S. Saxonia manifest

We know Edmund came to the states in 1903, crossing the Atlantic abroad the ship;  SS Saxonia. He only had $20.00 in his pocket and was coming to see his brother in Cambridge MA.  In 1915, Edmund marries Mary Thornton in the big city of Boston.  Yes, Mary Thornton is of Ireland too.  We know this is the same Edmund as he listed his brothers address as residence on the marriage register.  Jumping ahead a little, Edmund and Mary will relocated to Mishawka Illinois in 1941. I have not found any records of any children born to this couple.  I have talked with Thornton researchers and they agree that there were no children.  Edmund passed away in 1957 and rests in the Fairview Cemetery in Mishawka Il.  At this point I haven't found Mary Thornton after Edmund's passing, but I am guessing she is near by her husband and other Thornton relatives that rest in the cemeteries of Mishawka.

There is oral history of a visit by Mary Herrick and a sister visiting the Herrick famiy in the Tampa Bay area.  After which they returned to Cambridge Ma.  I know that Mary Herrick came to the states in the early 1900's and lived with her brother for many a year.  Thus far a date of arrival to the state for Mary has yet to be found, but from what I can tell it wasn't to long after the arrival of Edmund. 

I will end this story now, as its starting expand beyond what it already has and what I intended.  I will, however continue digging into the Herrick tree.  If you are interested in learning more about any of the Herrick's in this story, please feel free to contact me.  Also, if you have information to share, I would love to include your information.


  1. Amazing work, Bill. Now, it would be amazing if you could hook up with other descendants that might have more oral history and stories, plus photos. That would fill out the story and give flesh to the bones of these names. In the meantime, you've done a great job! :)

  2. Wow you really have done your work!Great job and I look forward to reading more!

  3. Wonderful and full a lot of information

  4. Bill. Do you happen to know where in County Cork John Herrick and Mary Cronin were from... was it Cork City of somewhere else in the county? Also, do you happen to know John's father's and grandfather's names? Thanks, Greg Herrick

    1. Greg... To the questions you've asked, the answer is no! I've found them in the 1901 Irish census living in the city of Cork. I know their descendants well. we have talked before I am sure. I reached out to you this evening on Facebook. -Bill