Hartigan, William (c.1766–1812), surgeon, was born in Dublin, only son of two known children of Edward Hartigan, apothecary, member of the barber surgeons and freeman (1749) of the city of Dublin, and his wife (née Heron). Educated as a surgeon, he began practice c.1778 and was elected member of the Dublin Society of Surgeons (1780). He was granted ‘letters testimonial’ by the RCSI, before being elected surgeon under its new charter in 1784, and member of the court of examiners. Appointed to the founding chair of anatomy and physiology (1789–99), he was elected to the presidency of the college (1797–8) and the chair of surgery (1798–9). He resigned both appointments to lecture in anatomy (1799) at TCD, where he was awarded an hon. MD (1802) and appointed professor of anatomy and surgery (1803–12). Twice presented with complimentary addresses by members of the RCSI, he was popular with students and tribute was paid to him in an anonymous poem (ascribed to William Norcott (qv) or to Andrew Blair Carmichael), The metropolis, part 2 (1806), 78–9: ‘By custom guided, and by method taught, / His knowledge spacious, tho' not deeply sought, / The words of H-t-g-n convey his meaning / Precise and obvious, without mist or straining.’
Hartigan was appointed to the household of the lord lieutenant and was one of the surgeons who ministered to Lord Edward Fitzgerald (qv) in 1798. An agreeable personality, he enjoyed a large practice, and, fond of cats, was accompanied on his rounds by two kittens ensconced in his coat pockets. He lived at 3 Kildare St. (later the Kildare Street Club) and, following his death on 15 December 1812, was buried in St Ann's Church, Dublin. He married first (1780) Isabella Steward, and secondly (1787) Anne Elizabeth Pollock; their eldest son, Edward Hartigan (b. 1790), was apprenticed to William before abandoning surgery and entering the church. Their daughter, Charlotte Hartigan, married Sir Matthew Barrington (qv) in 1813 and brought him a large dowry, including lands in Co. Limerick.