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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Saturday, November 23, 2019

Ted and Millie

Around 1953 or so, Uncle Tader and Aunt Millie realized that their youngest, Jimmy, had a tough time breathing.  He was diagnosed with asthma, and the doc suggested they try moving to a drier climate.
I remember knowing that they lived a couple blocks from us in St Cloud and that when I was older, I'd be able to walk there...but then they moved to the other end of the earth.  Would we ever see them again?  Where exactly was Montana, anyway?

These pics were taken after that move.  Uncle T was hired by a wheat farmer near Denton, Montana, w-a-a-a-y out on the prairie.  There was a creek on the property, but there were also rattle snakes and probably bears and wolves. (We watched the Lone Ranger, after all).  We visited once, and it was scary.  We didn't see any varmints, but we might have.

We DID have matching pedal pusher outfits that mom made, and Uncle Tader gave us each a whole silver dollar--a huge amount of money.  They didn't seem rich, but if he could just give away that much

(Marion was crying in this pic cuz her leg touched the red-hot tail pipe of the car.  Poor lil kid!)

 Here're a couple other photos that were taken 10 years earlier, in 1948.  Mom said it was really hot that day...a picnic at Karaschs, goofing off down by the river.  Can you name all of em?

Friday, November 22, 2019


 A picture of our cousins Carol and Bevvy in front of a house trailer.  Carol was 10 years older than me, and she looks, say, 6 or 7?  So this was 1945 or 46.  I wonder who's trailer it was, and where?
 One of the pics from Sue was this intriguing photo of Grandpa, and the script on the reverse of it.  I don't know who took the picture or wrote the inscription, but it's funny that this was Grandpas happy/excited look.  Still, it was a good reason.

"Math +Tony + Millie+ Mary Hesch"  This must have been taken on Ted and Millie's wedding day, at the farm south of the green schoolhouse.  You can see Aunt Millie was already special to them.  Makes me smile.

Great-Uncle Matt, his sister Great-Aunt Mary, his wife Halka, with Uncle Math or Ted on the right?  I don't know who the woman with the corsage is or why there was an egg crate on the ground, but bringing eggs along for Mary was something they would have done, for sure.

I thought I never met Great Aunt Mary's husband Joe, but evidently I did.  Here we are, pudgy me on Dad's shoulder, then Joe, Lois, Mom and Aunt Mary.  What a cool picture!

Aunt Millie goofing around with Grandpa, who's pretending he doesn't love it.  I think no one else in his life made him laugh like she could.  She really was a blessing to this dour family.

I'm pretty sure that's Uncle Tader (not Math), below, and young Aunt Millie. 

What sweet pictures.  Thank you, Sue!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

More pictures

In the picture files--let's see what catches my eye this time:

 Aunt Fronie, Dad's cousin Louise and Mom--whose house, and when? Anybody know?
Uncle Tader and Dad, front steps in Helena, I think..Sit nice, Curly.  

 Mom and Aunt Millie, ignoring them.  Do you remember Mom EVER sitting like that?  (Always a surprise πŸ˜„)
 Aunt Fronie, Aunt Eileen and Aunt Irene..
at Janish's? Makes me smile...


 Uncle Henry and Aunt Millie.  If that was
baby Shirley under those overalls, then this was c. 1947.  Isn't it fun to see them both young, goofing off and laughing?
Grandma Hesch.  This would've been during the Depression, when the family lived "in the top of a barn".   I don't know who the guy is, but it doesn't look like Grandpa.  What'd you think?

The house in Royalton, where Grandma and Grandpa lived for the rest of their lives.  It was where the high school is now. It seems to me the tree stump there was where the pump was?  (πŸ˜„ Doncha LOVE mysteries?)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

More historic family photos!

Ahh, surprise, surprise: we cousins are getting older. We're  looking back and really appreciating our parents, grandparents, in-laws...and even our sibs, by going thru photo albums and memorabilia and trying to decide what to DO with it all.

(Dramatic pause)

Who else would appreciate this wealth of family lore?

How can it all be shared with family and friends who knew them?

And won't I feel better if the pics are stored in someone else's closet?

Well, it looks like "sending em to Marlys" is one solution 😊 This mostly tickles me.  I just got my scanner working again, so it's kind of a sign, and the packs of photos (mainly from Judy, Shirley and now Sue R) are waiting to be shared here.  I suppose, when I'm REALLY old, the actual pictures can be donated to the Weyerhaeuser Museum in LF, but in the meantime, I can publish em here, and you can copy em to your computer to show your kids to settle disputes about when Tony and Lizzie Hesch lived by the green schoolhouse.

Let's face it--this is way better than a dusty box in the attic.

Grandpa's sister Mary Hesch and her husband Joe Peterson.
Thanks, Sue!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Polkas, schottisches and muscatel

In a fun exchange of emails with cousin Jerry this week, I was reminded about how much Uncle Leo enjoyed a bump now and then.  His drink of choice was muscatel wine, and evidently it was more than "now and then".  Jerry said that when he and his dad were cleaning out farm buildings before the auction, they found only empty bottles, much to Uncle Eddies chagrin.  Still makes me chuckle: “Son of a bitch they're all empty”.

(BTW, when I googled "Muscatel", the words "fortified wine" were used.  Woulda been the perfect selling point when Fron objected, huh? 😊)

Anyway, that got me thinking about likkered up German and Polish uncles at wedding dances, of course, and it occurred to me that you might appreciate a short selection to reminisce with, so here's Whoopee John with a polka and a schottische.  Turn it up!  (You'll need to provide the fortification yourself).

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Three sisters

This is so cool: Every once in awhile, I hear from someone who's found new connections, or unknown photos from years ago.  (It's especially fun when I recognize someone I wouldn't have known before we started the blog). And, in a little town like Buckman, almost everybody's related, so they all "pertain".

For instance, I never met these three women (that I know of). Don't they look pleased to be together, and wouldn't you love chatting with them?  They look like they KNOW what was going on in Buckman, too.

No, they're not Heschs, tho they were friends and neighbors: (L to R they are) Caroline Dengel Mueller, Elizabeth Dengel Bolster, and Mary Dengel Stepan.
Mary, on the right, was our faithful corespondent Chris's grandma (Thanks, Chris, and Linda!)  Looks like the 1920s or so.  If you're interested in the family, check here on the Find a Grave website.  We've posted other links and connections here, too--just scroll down to Dengel or Stepan in the left column.

Oh, and here're a couple interesting autobiographical pages about early Buckman from the “anecdotal autobiography” of Lawrence Mueller:

"I was born October 26, 1910.   My father Nick H. Mueller lived in Pierz with my mother, Caroline [Dengel], and Marcus, who was my older brother.  My father was a saloon keeper, something my mother did not appreciate because our living quarters were immediately behind the saloon.  My mother thought that this was not the ideal place to bring up two sons.

With his savings and the money earned from the saloon, my father paid $5000 for a farm of 120 acres one mile south of the village of Buckman.  My mother was not happy until we moved to the farm when I was five years old. My father had been in a partnership with his brother, Peter Mueller, in Royalton before he set up his own business in Pierz.  Brother Marcus (Mark, as he was commonly known) had been born in Royalton in 1908.

The one and only incident I remember from living in Pierz was an accident.  I was climbing on some beer barrels in the storage room when I fell and hit my right eye on the edge of a barrel.  This inflicted a cut, the scar of which is still visible today. I remember being apprehensive about this cut, as I tearfully asked my parents if the eye would have to come out.  They assured me that it would heal.

Our move to the farm:  The trip to the farm was a 7- mile trip, and it was made in two parts, one being my father and brother in a horse-drawn wagon loaded with furniture and household necessities, the other was my mother and me following in a horse-drawn buggy.  Tops and Doll pulled the wagon; Duke pulled our buggy. The only casualty of the trip was our dog Prince, a small tannish-brown terrier who was following our “parade.” Prince was attacked by a large dog and mauled badly, and he had to be destroyed.

Arriving at the Nick H. Mueller farm, the first building was the blacksmith shop which stood at the roadside.  The shop was to become the garage for our Model-T Ford which father purchased a year later. The farmyard was dominated by a large frame house painted yellow.  The house had four bedrooms. One of the first of many improvements to be made on the farm was to paint the buildings. The house was painted white with green trim; the barn and other buildings were painted red with white trim.  The granary was a log granary and was the first of the buildings to be replaced. The next change was the remodeling of the barn, which had huge doors on the east and west sides so that a loaded hay rack on a wagon could be driven through the barn and unloaded into the haymow.

The biggest rebuilding project was the house in 1921.  The two large bedrooms upstairs were made into three bedrooms; closets were added to all bedrooms; the stairway was moved from the middle of the house (making a larger kitchen); an addition was built for the stairways (upstairs and down to the cellar) and for the pantry; and a new entryway was built.

From the farm we could easily see the village of Buckman, the ‘town’ as it was called by all in the area.  About 150 people lived in town; farms surrounded the town, scattered in no special pattern. The country roads were one mile apart, thus dividing the land into sections, each containing 640 acres.  The roads were either north/south or east/west; few were surfaced, and those few were graveled. All other roads were dirt. In a way, the story of my life begins in the fall of 1916, my first school year.

Our family worshiped at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Buckman.  One Sunday afternoon, after vespers at the church, the parents with school-age children gathered for registration at the school, which was affiliated with the church.  Next to St. Michael’s, the school (a yellow brick building) was the largest building in town, with four large rooms and one smaller room used at times for a library and at other times for one or two high school classes that were taught there.

In Room #1 I met Sister M. Marina O.S.B., who was to be my teacher for the next two years (grades 1 and 2).  When she introduced me to Sister Marina, my mother called Sister’s attention to my mis-shaped right ear, which had always been an embarrassment to me.  Sister put me at ease by remarking that she liked little boys who had crooked ears. Such little boys were much better students; they always paid attention in class and often were smarter than others.  Sister Marina became my friend for life. I cannot ever forget my first teacher, even after my mother had introduced me as her “baby.” My brother Mark, who was two and a half years older than I, had taken his first year of school in Pierz, and went to third grade one room ahead of me in school.  Mark and I were never in the same room in school.

My two years in Room #1 passed uneventfully.  I well remember the cards that introduced us to the alphabet, letter by letter, until we had met them all, A to Z.  A little anecdote or story from the teacher fixed each letter firmly in our minds. In a similar way we learned all the numerals.  Since all students were of German parentage, our classes were taught in German. The transition to English came gradually, and it is not now possible to say in which grade that happened.  Textbooks were in English, except catechism, which was in two languages..."

Looks like grandson needs the computer πŸ˜›
See ya later!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

In the Small World department..

Here we are on a family history blog, mostly talking about things that happened YEARS ago, right?  But then, because my 11 year old grandson plays  basketball, my son, terribly shy Hesch-gene person that he is, starts talking to the guy sitting next to him: Mike, the dad of another player. They compare notes on where their families come from, as you do, and Mike mentions Pierz.  Well!  
Turns out Mike's mom was a Grittner--we're related thru the Nabers on mom's side as well as the Sands on dad's side, not to mention family stories featuring Grittners (from the Pierz Journal).  

Mike's grandma Elaine was a Block, daughter of Herman and Angie Block. (That's my Josh on the left, and Mike on the right, above). Elaine's in her 90s, and lives in the Villa.  Doesn't he look familiar?  😊 This tickles me!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Math Hesch in the news again, sorta...

 St Michaels Church Bazaar in Buckman, Mn is held every summer on or close to the feast day of St Michael the Archangel (August 29th) and it's a really fun event.
The bazaar is a homecoming day for friends and relatives who've moved away or lost touch somehow.  This year was no different--and it made the Little Falls newspaper again, too.  
If you've been keeping tabs on the blog, you'll remember Paul Vincent Doyle, the adopted son of our widowed great grandma Mary (Otremba) Hesch.  Paul Vincent and his wife Aila had one child, a son they named Kenneth. And Kenneth had one son--another Paul 😊 who lives in the cities but didn't know about any of this--woohoo!  Finding Hesch History online was pretty amazing, and "young" Paul determined to make connections.  Here's the Little Falls Record story about it--recognize anybody else?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

How to pronounce "Przewalski"

Oh, Facebook!
It's too hot to be outside, so I'm sitting at the computer, reading stuff. Here's an article from the Smithsonian magazine:

"...These horses, named for the Russian explorer who first scientifically described them, are sometimes referred to as “p-horses”...[for Przewalski].
(Read more:

Sure, the horses are cute--they're smaller than domestic horses, and have a zebra-like mane--but that's not why I noticed.  It's the pronunciation, of course, of Przewalski (pronounced sha-VAL-skithat reminds me of Buckman and the Przybilla family, (originally pronounced as Sha-billa).  
Nope, I didn't know how it was pronounced at first, but knew it probably wasn't Prz-wal-ski.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Loretta (Schmolke) Smith (1916-2018)

Here's an unexpected link to the past:  We've mentioned John and Pauline Schmolke (neighbors and friends of John and Ket Hesch in Buckman in 1925) and identified them in a family pic from the year John Hesch died.  Loretta was John and Paulines' daughter, and would have been 10 when that photo was taken. (I might have mistaken the Schmolkes in the 1925 photo, but I hope not--the link is too amazing).  RIP, Loretta..

 Loretta M. Smith, 101, of Lititz, passed peacefully on July 19, 2018, at Moravian Manor, Lititz, PA, less than a month short of her 102nd birthday. Born in Buckman, MN, on August 13, 1916, she was the 3rd of 12 children of the late John M. Schmolke and Pauline (Beka) Schmolke. After graduating from St. Francis High School in Little Falls, MN she went on to attend College of St. Benedict in St Joseph, MN and receive a degree in English and Library Science. She shared her knowledge with others as a high school English teacher and Drama coach in Little Falls, MN, Mandan, ND, and Neah Bay, WA and as a librarian in Hampton, MN and New London, CT. Loretta met her husband, the late Paul Smith in St Paul, Mn. They married in 1946 at Saint Augustine by the Sea Catholic Church in Honolulu, HI. She and Paul spent the first 3 years of their married life in Honolulu where their two oldest of 8 children were born. Paul’s work took them back to the mainland in 1949. After retiring they would move back to the big island of Hawaii, build a home and spend another 15 years there. After Paul’s passing in 1986, Loretta purchased a home in Lititz. Loretta enjoyed live theatre, old movies, ice cream, Chinese food, C-SPAN, reading, writing, swimming and making snow angels. She even spent 2 hours kayaking at Speedwell shortly after her 100th birthday. Loretta was known for her water color paintings and would hand make unique cards for family members and friends for special occasions. Loretta was an international traveler and ventured to various countries in Asia and Europe up to the age of 94. Loretta loved sending and receiving cards and letters, most recently she enjoyed staying connected to her family by Facetiming on her iPad. She was a devout Catholic and active member at St. James Catholic Church in Lititz, where she was a part of the Silver Liners and participated in the annual White Elephant Sale. She will be dearly missed by her children; Loretta LaBree (Bernie), Paul Smith (Lynn), Trudy Peters (Don), John Smith (Becky), Anna Webster (Jim), Helen Cookey (Niels), Ceil Wells (Rob), and Calvin Koerner. She will also be survived by her siblings; Sr. Margaret Schmolke OSF, Helen Schmolke RN, Pat Schmolke RN, Carol Larson, Tom Schmolke and Francis Schmolke USN. Surviving as well are 17 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren as well as many, dear nieces, nephews and friends. She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Paul Smith, her parents, John and Pauline Schmolke, her youngest daughter, Toni Koerner, and 5 of her siblings, Fr. Joel Schmolke OFM, Sr. Thomasine Schmolke OSF, Lt. Cecelia Schmolke RN USA, Cely Schmolke USMC, and Jerry Schmolke USA. A viewing was held Wednesday July 25, 2018 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Charles F. Snyder Jr. Funeral Home & Crematory at 3110 Lititz Pike, Lititz, PA 17543. Guests were welcome to join the family in a Rosary Service prior to the viewing at 6:40 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 11:00 A.M. at St. James Catholic Church located at 505 Woodcrest Ave, Lititz, PA 17543. Prior to Mass, guests will be received from 10:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. Memorial donations in Loretta’s memory can be made to the Moravian Manor Benevolent Fund at 300 W Lemon St. Lititz, PA 17543 or online at