Milltown Mills, Ferns - Wexford Guide and Directory, 1885

About “Wexford County Guide and Directory,” 1885

George Henry Bassett produced 7 Irish county directories in the 1880s: Antrim, Armagh, Down, Kilkenny, Louth, Tipperary and Wexford. Each provides useful history of the respective counties as well as lists of office holders, farmers, traders, and other residents of the individual cities, towns and villages.

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The directories are naturally an invaluable resource for those tracing family history. However, there are a few points to bear in mind.

  1. This online version of Bassett’s Wexford County Guide and Directory is designed primarily as a genealogical research tool and therefore the numerous advertisements in the original book, many full page, and quite a few illustrated, have been excluded.
  2. The text has been proofed with due care, but with large bodies of text typographical errors are inevitably bound to occur.
  3. Be aware that there were often inconsistencies in spelling surnames in the 19th century and also that many forenames are abbreviated in Bassett’s directories.

With respect to the last point, surnames which today begin with the “Mc” prefix, for example, were often formerly spelt as “M‘,”. For a list of some of the more common forename abbreviations used in the directory, see Forename Abbreviations.

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ON the left bank of the Bann, near the railway station of Ferns, is situated one of the most interesting of the well-developed industries of the County Wexford. The Bolgers have been residents of Ferns many centuries, and for generations have been workers in iron and steel, but it was reserved for the present representatives, Messrs. David Bolger and Sons, to make their merits manifest throughout the United Kingdom. At the Dublin and Cork Exhibitions highest prize medals were awarded to them for the general superiority of exhibits, including sickles, scythes, hay knives, reaping and mowing machine knives, billhooks, hoes, patent hooks, chaff, straw, and turnip cutting machine knives. To have obtained a position so exalted in the opinion of eminent judges speaks volumes for the inventive genius and skill of the Milltown firM. More than forty different kinds of spades are required to enable a wholesale spade merchant to do business in all the counties of Ireland. The manufacturers of hooks and sickles have to provide even more liberally, and to secure a prominent place in the estimation of those who use them necessitates constant attention and unlimited experiments. This remark applies forcibly to the case of Messrs. David Bolger and Sons. Their iron works at Milltown have grown to extensive proportions from a modest beginning in the neighbourhood by Mr. Thaddeus Bolger, father of Mr. David Bolger. During the lifetime of Mr. Thaddeus Bolger sickles had become such a prominent feature of the business as to have obtained recognition for the name nearly all over Ireland. It was claimed that the Bolger sickle had no equal in temper, quality, and proof. Mr. T. Bolger died in 1862. In 1870 Mr. D. Bolger, recently deceased, bought the interest of the late Mr. Kinch in the Milltown Mills, and secured thereby splendid water-power. Messrs. David Bolger & Sons continue to keep the mills at their original work. A new iron water-wheel and new machinery were added, and the mills now grind for the general public, and make oatmeal and Indian meal for the trade. Connected with them are nine acres of land, and of this the forges alone cover half an acre. There are some twenty fires and three buzz furnaces. A special department is devoted to ornamental and general smithwork. The machinery in the different shops is driven by water. A considerable amount of space is occupied by new buildings, in one of which is a packing room 80 feet by 25 feet. Messrs. Bolger & Sons (Thaddeus Bernard, John, and Patrick) are in active competition with the best scythe and hook makers in the United Kingdom, and by none of them are they outdone either in style or finish. They are the only scythe makers in Ireland. Four years ago this branch of industry was added.

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