This branch of the Austrian Hesch family is descended from Johann Hesch and his wife Marya (Schlinz) Hesch, who came to America from Oberschlagles, Bohemia with three sons: Paul, Mathias, and Anton. +++Johann & Marya settled in Buffalo County, Wisconsin but moved to Pierz, Mn in about 1885. .+++Mathias settled in Waumandee, Wisconsin and moved to Pierz in 1911. +++Anton never married but farmed with his dad in Agram Township, where he died in 1911.+++And Paul, my great grandfather, settled five miles away, in Buckman, Minnesota. He died there in 1900.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dreaming of relatives

I woke up laughing this morning after a sweet dream:

I was sitting at the table in Aunt Fronie's kitchen.  Dad was next to me, and Uncle Henry to his left.  Across the table was Uncle Reinhard, then Aunt Fronie with Uncle Leo next to her, across from me.  Aunt Fronie was reading a newspaper, and the rest of us were talking over coffee.  Uncle Reinhard leaned over and said, "I know you wanna--go ahead"...and I realized I was holding an empty  wax-paper roll.  I thwacked him on the head, which made Curly laugh.  Then Aunt Fronie said, "I wonder when that silly custom started?", and I said, "As soon as they invented wax paper" and thwacked HER on the head--Poook!   Uncle Leo dissolved laughing when he saw the look on her face--his white-haired head just sank to the table, his shoulders shaking, and that made everyone else laugh, except Aunt Fronie, who looked...surprised. 

So good to remember them as they were, and what a gift to wake up laughing.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Beautiful Button Madonna

A few weeks ago, I heard about a Madonna, made of buttons, in a church in Little Falls, Mn.  Since I've been sewing "button art" lately, it seemed like something I'd be interested in--but WOW!  The Madonna is delightful, and the story is even better...

It was made by fifty-three  3rd and 4th grade students in 1951-1952.  Their teacher, Sr Elvan Drayna, used the Madonna as a "unique motivational learning project" for those kids.  If they finished their work or were especially good, they'd get to go sew a button or two.  But first, they had to collect the buttons--the prettiest buttons came from all over as parents, relatives, friends and neighbors got involved.
Yesterday, I stopped by Our Lady of Lourdes to see for myself.  It's hanging on the south wall in the basement...probably 8 feet by 4 feet or so?  It's protected by glass, so photos have a reflection, but still...just look at the lovely (and kind of familiar) variety of buttons.  (Click the pics).
Here's the class who created the Madonna--they would have been born around 1942 or so and would be in their 70s now.  Do you recognize any of them?
Thanks, John! 😊

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Makes me laugh

Talking about 40's music with Larry today--he finds the strangest things πŸ˜„

Monday, September 4, 2017

Planting and harvesting

On the way home from the cities one day last summer, Mog and I noticed something interesting about a corn field.  The first few rows of corn were harvested all the way around, as far as we could tell.  We speculated, as you do, about why.  Maybe to allow more air circulation to help dry the crop...or maybe the farmer was getting low on feed for the cows, that could be it.  Hmm, maybe the outside was the least productive or something...none of it seemed right, because we saw another field like that, and two more.  With a mighty shoulder shrug, we figured we'd find out the real reason eventually.

So hooray! Mog called this morning and had the answer.  She's been at her sisters house, and happened to talk with a farmer friend.  He said no, none of the above ☺.  He said you plant the straight rows and turn around at the end of the field, within the field.  Then the last pass is around the outside of the whole field.  
In the fall, you harvest that outside ring first, so again, you can turn around within the field.  Isn't that cool?

A bit later, Larry and I were talking on IM, surprise! ☺.  I told him the crop saga, and he was suitably impressed.  It reminded him of the biblical admonition to save the corners for the poor.  Wha...?  I must have missed that chapter:
“And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner"  Leviticus 23:22
I said "Huh?" and Larry mentioned the painting by Jean-Francois Millet called The Gleaners (here's the zoomable version--I highly recommend it).    
The more we talked about the story in the painting, the more familiar it seemed.  There are upwards of 20 men in the background, harvesting shocks of grain--stacking them on the wagon to be piled on the--wow, there are 12 or so mountains of shocks.  There's an overseer on a horse, and farm buildings in the way-background.  Three women are picking up the leftovers in the foreground.

Which relative had this print on their wall? Look at the small, snug bundles behind the women, and the bend in their backs.  One online description of the painting said the women were well-dressed and healthy looking, as tho this was a lark for them, just something to pass the afternoon.  But no--zoom in--these women need every kernel.  I doubt they thought of the landowner as particularly generous....and then, you know, this scene happened all over Europe in those years, and definitely in Bohemia.  Wow, these really are the values we grew up with, if you ignore the dire poverty part:  "Work together"..."Get all you can"..."Don't whine"...."A little sweat never hurt anybody"...."work is noble"..."waste not, want not"

...it's your own fault if you go hungry because it's there to be gleaned...

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Anton Otremba's immigration card

Look what Larry found!  It's full of clerical mistakes, but it's the record of one part of our family arriving in the US.

Anton Otremba, 40, was accompanied by "Cathe-46, Marie 15" (actually, Catherine Schalwig Otremba was 36, and Mary was 12 in 1868).
The other kids--Anna, Frank, Joseph and Martha-- were listed on the back, evidently.  One more daughter, Margaret, was born the next year in Pierz.

The "last permanent address" would have been Pommern, not Tommern...and they arrived in Baltimore 149 years ago, yesterday.

Wow, huh?

Later:  HERE'S the ships list of the Berlin.  Otrembas start at 701.  Look at the professions on that ship, and the full load of passengers.  It was late in the season, but people came anyway.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Buckman and the outlaws

A few years ago, my friend/relative Fran gave me three copies of the Morrison County Atlases from 1970, 1978 and 1987. No, they're not at all rare books. The photos in the atlases are tiny, like postage stamps, but they scan and enlarge amazingly well.  We've published lots of photos from them since, especially the oldest pics.

Ok, so Fran was a Zenner, and she married Bernie Weber.  Just keep that thought; we'll get back to it, promise.

Now, this week, Larry found another genealogy website with a new old photo that we hadn't seen before--this time, it's three men in front of a garage, in Pierz:
It says John Weber, Alfred Dietz and Louie Gottwalt in about 1934.

Of course, I zoomed in on Louie, since his mom was a Hesch (Grandpa Anton's sister Rose).  But Larry took a different direction.  He searched for the other two names.  Turns out they were in business together--Weber-Dietz Battery & Tire Repair.  And, there was a whole genealogy of who these guys were.  The grandson of John Weber, one Frank Weber, happens to be "a forensic psychologist whose award winning forensic and clinical work includes assessment and expert witness testimony for homicide, sexual assault, and physical assault cases" and the author of a suspense novel called "Murder Book".  The quote is from Frank's web page, where he explains his family history.  Look for names like Suess, Sitzman, Kapsner & Brixius, not to mention Weber and Dietz. Here's the pic from his page:



Could be the same place, right? I mean, they repaired and sold tires, and gas, looks like. Frank says it's now Red's Auto.
About the first paragraph up there--Fran and Bernie Weber?  Bernie was John Weber's son, so they were Frank's Uncle Bernie and Aunt Fran.  


Now here's some frosting on the cake--If you peruse Franks page, you'll read about a couple by the name of Young: 


"Rosetta [Frank's mom] lived with Mabel Young.  Clarence and Mabel Young came from Illinois with the last name “Younger”, but changed their name as they no longer wanted to be associated with their cousins Cole Younger and Cole’s brothers Jim, John and Bob  (Jesse James cohorts)". There's much more about Jesse James and the Younger gang.  Fascinating, huh?


Oh MAN I'm glad Larry's back online! 😊

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Larry's computer

With any luck at all, our buddy Larry will get his new (to him) computer up and running shortly.  It's been a long time since we've posted anything, and alas, the computer may not inspire any new HH research, it'll just be nice to have him back online ☺

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A new book!

Woohoo!  I'm sure you remember Amy Thielen, James Beard award-winner and Adeline's granddaughter?  Here's her brand new book, and she writes even better than her great-grandpa Math Hesch 😊). Here's her intro from Facebook:

"It's here! It's pretty--deckle edge! And just a little menacing--all those knives! It's migrating all over my house, spawning like pink gremlins, and I am so happy! If you like stories about fine dining brigades, and heavy metal line cooks, and warehouse squats, and lonesome farmers who drink beer for breakfast, and backwoods hippie life, and head cheese and well-pounding projects, oh, and bleach, butter, bread, and why the hell after moving on you should ever move back home, then this book's for you. On sale everywhere May 16, but preorders get it to you quicker. Thank you to my family for enduring me as I wrote this book, and thank you to all the people in it who--one way or another--altered my course. So proud to know you".
Pretty proud to claim YOU too, Amy!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ferdinand "Ferdie" Stepan 1919-2017

Over the years we've been  publishing Hesch History, we've been introduced to Buckman/Pierz/Morrison county personalities that mom & dad would have known.  Or, names I heard as kid--like Suess, Hurrle, Denzen, Kappes, Dengel...and this family, the Stepans.  Here's how they relate, from a post in 2014.  
In the last few years of his life, Ferdinand Stepan wrote letters about growing up in Buckman.  We got to post one that mentioned Math Hesch, the reporter, 3 years ago.  Read it again--he must have been fun to know ☺. I wish I had.

Ferdie was 97 and lived thru some amazing times, but I think it's never long enough. He'll be missed, I know.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Morrison county roads in 1912

Cruising along on my way to Little Falls last week, I was appreciating the smooth, well cleared winter road, and its efficient route past farms and thru towns.  I figure most of Minnesota's rural roads are updated pioneer trails just because I like the idea.  I can imagine making the trip home from town with a loaded wagon or sleigh--avoiding hills, and swamps, and deciding where to cross the creek, would be important.  
Two articles from the Pierz Journal about roads: by 1912, there were many more automobiles using the farm roads, going faster than horses could, so roads needed grading and de-rutting.  Up to that time, if a road was too pitted, a local farmer would do maintenance with a drag behind a team.  But now it looks like townies got involved.  This second article is fun because of all the people and places named.  I'll add a 1912 plat map to see if we can figure where they meant. Click to enlarge 😏
(If you can't read the maps here, try the original plat book from Minnesota Reflections website.  I set it to the Little Falls-Agram-Pierz townships page, but it reverts to the whole plat book.  Click the townships on the right and be patient.  Enlarge it there with the slider just above the map window, ok?)