Hartley’s Pork Pies of Fall River

I have been asked occasionally if there is any connection between my Hartleys and the Hartleys of Hartley’s Pork Pies of Fall River, Massachusetts. Most recently my son asked me the same question. As far as I know there isn’t, but I am curious if these Pork Pie Hartleys came from the same area of England that my Hartleys came from.

Hartley Pork Pies

There have been many articles written about Hartley’s Pork Pies. Boston.com has an article from 2006 that is informative:

The three establishments are descended from a store established by Thomas Hartley, an Englishman who came to the United States in the late 1800s to work in Fall River’s textile mills. Finding factory work not to his liking, he opened a pork pie shop on South Main Street around 1900.

The business was a huge success, as factory workers — mainly immigrants, including many from the British Isles — would pay a nickel and grab a pie for lunch or a snack when their shifts ended. Their popularity gave rise to a Fall River slogan: “The city of mills, hills, and pork pies.”

The business later would fracture.

After his first wife died, Hartley remarried. He had children by both wives, and after his death, the child of one wife took over the Fall River store. The child of the other wife set up three of his children with stores in Somerset, Lincoln, and New Bedford.

Eventually, the New Bedford store closed, while the other three were sold to non family members.

The surviving establishments say they use authentic recipes from Hartley’s kitchen. The Fall River store has one exclusive claim to history, in that it is in the same building where Hartley ran his business.

The historic Hartley’s Pork Pie location is listed at 1729 South Main Street in Fall River.

Thomas Hartley

I was able to find this Thomas Hartley in the 1910 Fall River Census:

In 1910Thomas is living close to South Main Street and is Elizabeth is his second wife. Thomas is listed as a 51 year old restaurant keeper who immigrated in 1890:

This is likely Thomas’ arrival in Philadelphia in 1891:

Here is Thomas in 1900 when he was still a loom fixer:

Here we also have Albert as per the above Philadelphia shipping record and Mary Thornley who was likely Elizabeth’s daughter from her first marriage.

Where Did Thomas Live in England?

These questions are sometimes difficult to determine. Perhaps there is a clue in Thomas’ son Albert. Here is a World War II Draft Card for an Albert Hartley:

If this is the right Albert, then Thomas would have been from Burnley, England. I think that this is a good guess. I also see an Albert Hartley marrying Amy Deakin in 1908 in New Bedford:

This Albert was the son of Thomas Hartley and Nellie Brown. I assume that Nellie died and Thomas remarried before coming to Fall River.

Thomas’ son Clement’s World War I draft card has him born in Burnley also:

Burnley is not too far from where my ancestors lived in Trawden:

Thomas Hartley’s Parents

Above, I had assumed that Thomas married Elizabeth before coming to the Fall River. Based on the marriage record below from 1897, I was wrong:

This is a good record as it gives Elizabeth’s maiden name and former married name which I assume to be Flint and Thornley. Also we have Thomas’ parents who were John Hartley and Martha Hardacre. These could be good clues. I see what happened. It was Ellen on the ship with Thomas from Liverpool to Philadelphia. Ellen died in Fall River in 1896.

Thomas Alvin Hartley

Thomas had a son by his second wife in 1900. Here is Thomas Alvin’s World War I draft card:

From this, it appears that father and son were both Thomas Alvin Hartley.

Thomas Hartley’s First Marriage

This places Thomas and Ellen in Blackburn:

This may be Thomas in 1861 in Blackburn:

He was born in Blackburn, but his older sister Sarah was born in Colne. Here is the rest of the family on the previous page – all born in Colne:

That is not unusual. Many roads lead back to Colne for Hartleys.

Here is the family in 1851 in Colne:

John was born in Trawden, but the rest of the family was born in Colne. At this point, I better quit, knowing that there are hundreds of Hartley families in the area at this time.

Summary and Conclusions

I was curious as to where the Hartley’s Pork Pies Hartleys came from. I looked at Thomas Hartley who was the founder of Hartley’s Pork Pies. I found him in the 1910-1930 Census records in Fall River. I also found his departure shipping records from Liverpool and arrival records in Philadelphia. Thomas had children said to be born in Burnley by his first wife. However, it appears that Thomas was born in Blackburn, Lancashire. Thomas’ other siblings and mother were born in Colne from what I can tell and Thomas’ father was born in Trawden. So based on what appears to be the case, this Hartley family had its roots in the same small Town of Trawden that my Hartley family did. Research in Trawden is difficult as that is where the mother-lode of Hartleys were in the 1800’s.  I could do more research, but it would probably result in diminishing returns. Plus I set out what I wanted to do.

Now I will have to try a Hartley Pork Pie.






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