William Horlick, of Racine, is numbered among the constructive business men of the country, as he founded and has built up the Horlick Malted Milk Company, of which he is now treasurer. He was born in Gloucestershire, England, February 23, 1846, and is the youngest of the nine children born to his parents, James and Priscilla (Griffiths) Horlick. The family is one of the oldest in England and the following account of its history is taken from Burke’s Peerage: “The family name of Harlech or Horlick is of Norman-French derivation, and the natural conclusion drawn is that the Harlechs or Horlicks were primarily inhabitants of Normandy, and on leaving their own country settled in the country of Merionethshire, Wales, on whose coast the castle of Harlech now stands, partly in ruins. And in the long wars that followed the subjugation of Wales, the Harlechs were compelled to leave and settle in England, which they did in Gloucestershire, where members of the Horlick family have long resided (N. 3 The Rocks Southwood), also Painswick, three miles from the ancient city of Gloucester, which is known by the numerous tombstones bearing the said name, Cranham, three miles from Painswick, same County, Ruardean, etc. Harlech Castle is now (1889) inhabited by one William Richard Ormsby Gore, who, having purchased the castle and being knighted, took the title of Baron Harlech. The castle of Harlech was built in the reign of Edward I, in the year A. D. 1244, and stands on the northwest coast of Merionethshire. The lord lieutenant of County Leitrim, Connaught, Ireland, is Lord Harlech. Harlech or Horlick (The Rocks formerly) Southwood or Southernwood, County Gloucester, now represented by Isaac John Webb Horlick or Harlech, of the Rocks, Esq., a magistrate of Gloucestershire. son and heir of the late William Webb Horlick of Ashwick House and the (Rocks) by Anne, his wife, daughter and co-heir of Thomas Smith of Mormantown, Norville County, of Leicester, Esq., and grandson of Isaac Webb Horlick of Ashwick House, Esq., by Lucy Webb, his wife, heiress of Ashwick of the family of Major-General Webb, distinguished in Marlborough Wars.”
Peter Horlick, great-grandfather of William Horlick, removed from Pains-wick to Ruardean and there James Horlick, the father, was born and reared. He married Priscilla Griffiths, also a native of Ruardean, and for many years he served as an official of his parish and Township. He was a saddler by trade and conducted business along that line for a considerable period. Both he and his wife were members of the Episcopal church, to the faith of which they loyally adhered until called to their final rest, both passing away at Ruardean, the grandfather at the age of seventy years and the grandmother when sixty-eight years of age. They had a family of nine children and two of these, James and William, became the founders and promoters of the Horlick Malted Milk Company. The former is now managing the branch of the business in England from which is supplied the trade of Europe, Africa, Australia and India, while William Horlick remains a resident of Racine.
William Horlick grew to manhood in his native country, but in 1869 came to the United States with his uncle, Joseph A. Horlick. The following year he returned to England, but in 1872 came again to America and joined his father-in-law, J. A. Horlick, and his brother-in-law in the conduct of a lime, stucco and cement business in the Township of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, under the style of J. A. Horlick & Sons. He afterward conducted a branch of that business in Chicago, but in 1875 began the manufacture of a prepared food for infants, invalids and aged, although he still at the same time retained an interest in the lime business. The original food manufactured required to be mixed with milk. The growth of the trade demanded enlarged quarters and William Horlick purchased ten acres of land adjoining the city limits of Racine. A full history of the business is given on another page of this work. It has grown in volume and importance until it stands today as the foremost food product manufactory of this kind in the country, with its trade extending to every part of the world. With the establishment of a branch house in England, James Horlick returned to that country to take charge of the business, while William Horlick has always remained in Racine and continues as the treasurer.
William Horlick was married in Racine on the 16th of November, 1870, to Miss Arabella Horlick, a daughter of J. A. Horlick, and on the day of their marriage they started on a trip to England, in which country he was born. After remaining there two years, however, they again, came to the United States. They have become the parents of four children: Alexander James, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; William, Jr., who is now secretary of the Horlick’s Malted Milk Company; Emma Mabel, and Alice Priscilla, who died at the age of eleven years. Mr. Horlick is independent in politics, and has never taken an active part in governmental affairs, as he has given his entire time and energy to the management of his important business interests.