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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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Otremba Brothers about 1890

For a little context, this photo was taken the same year Math Hesch was born, and his brother Anton (our eventual grandpa) was 7.  Paul Hesch, was still alive and  Mary Otremba Hesch, his wife, was a cousin to these four men because immigrants Johann and Anton Otremba were brothers.  Isn't that cool?

Monday, May 11, 2015

"If it's in the Journal, it's so"

As usual, when Larry and I find something that interests us, we HAVE TO research it--for our own edification, of course, but luckily we're generously willing to share it with you.  We know, we know, but you'll thank us someday, trust us.
So what are we obsessing about  interested in today?  Just the ownership of the Pierz Journal, when it changed hands, and why.  Happily, it was all reported in the Journal.                                          
◄This snarky blurb, however, was in the St Cloud Times, by way of the Princeton (MN) Union on June 24, 1909.  That was the date of the first issue of the PJ, too.  Henry C. Bailey started the paper, became Justice of the Peace▼ in Pierz, then left town, all between June 1909 and October 1910.  We think he may have made a few enemies with this JP position--Larry found a couple judgements against locals that seem a bit draconian, like a $15 fine levied against Hartmanns store for mislabeled ketchup. That's enough to piss off any good local German store owner, and maybe his customers, too.
The September 1st, 1910  issue of the PJ found Henry Bailey bailing out of newspaper ownership, being a Justice of the Peace, and Pierz.  His only editorial qualification when he arrived was having graduated from college, but in leaving he said, "The new proprietors, while inexperienced in this line of work, will undoubtedly give you a better and more newsy sheet..." We might be interpreting this all wrong, but he did seem to leave abruptly.

 A.P. Stoll, from the bank, and Ed Kerkhoff, the local doctor, took over the Pierz Journal in October, 1910.  Conveniently, the bank and doctor's office/house were just across the street from the Journal office.  Eventually Tony Stoll left the business, I suppose because of the new bank building (1917), and his larger role there.

By October 1918, Ed Kerkhoff was well ensconced in the doctor-editor business, and all seemed well.  America was involved in WWI, yes, but not too many local men were being was just this Spanish Flu epidemic to deal with.  Ed Kerkhoff died of the flu on November 15, 1918.

 F.L. Preimesberger bought the paper from Mrs. Kerkhoff, and I believe he ran it for the rest of its years in Pierz.  If you know differently, email me or leave a comment--blogs can be easily changed ☺
(Yes, I know most of these articles were posted before, but they were to prove totally different points).

(So there!)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Pierz Journal office (now with cool added info! ☺)

Look what Larry found on a website called   It was titled "Men in Pierz MN newspaper office".  It had to be the PJ since that was the only Pierz newspaper, and because, look, the doors line up with the ones in the press room, below.  
Even tho we can't see the date on the calendar (argh!) in the sepia pic, we think the second photo was taken later, perhaps as Larry suggested, one of the 1925 sweep of pics on the Minnesota Reflections site.  (This was a series of un-identified pictures of businesses and creameries that seem to have been taken by the same photographer over a day or two in Buckman, Pierz and 
other area small towns. We've posted quite a few here on HH).
Click these pictures to enlarge--if the office one was early in the PJs history (look, no mess near the spittoons!), then the guy behind the desk could be original Editor C.L. Bailey, and it might have been as early as 1909 ☺.

But wait, there's more!
Four days later:  Su, our wonderful British corespondent and honorary Hesch, took a few minutes from her spring gardening to peruse these photos.  She saw what we missed: that both pictures are lit with electricity, not oil lamps.  And yes, we happen to have PJ articles telling us exactly when buildings in Pierz were electrified.  Isn't that cool?
It's entirely possible, and more than probable,  that the two men at the front desk were Dr Kerkhoff and AP Stoll.


THIS is incredible--in a quite sensible maneuver, Larry checked for photos of A P Stoll, since we already had this funeral card picture of Ed Kerkhoff.  Looking again at the front office photo, your three HH "experts" pretty much agree that the man behind the desk is probably Dr Kerkhoff.  And now, the problem of what Anthony P. Stoll looked like is no longer a prob either!  Larry found two portraits and a wedding photo of A.P., and I think the resemblance is remarkable between the man with the overalls and the Stoll family photos below. (I've added the photos to Morrison County, Remembered--click the link ☺).

 OK, so the obvious burning question, then, is why was our staid banker dressed like a farmer?  I think it was probably something like Market Day in Pierz, or a bet he lost...or maybe he was appearing in a play at Faust's Theater across the street, and he stopped at the office for a photo op.  Yes, the man on the right could be a local farmer, but a few things make that unlikely, in my mind.  For one, his stylish hat, suit coat and fancy shiny shoes--I wouldn't be surprised if the borrowed bibs were actually on over his suit pants.  
Then there's his casual pose, and Dr Kerkhoff's ignoring him--they look familiar to each other, don't you think?  Besides, having a pic taken then was a planned affair--this was no snapshot.  There was a reason it was taken, maybe just for the fun of it.

Researching A.P. Stoll was confusing because A.P. had a brother named Alfred, who was also a public figure in Morrison Co, and who went by A.M. Stoll, as in this ad.

It's easy to goof on this one, so pay attention:
A.P. was DIFFERENT than A.M.  You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Fearless Journalism" in the Pierz Journal, 1946

Wow, look at this cool article Larry found.  It's a clip from a newspaper in Perth, Australia in late October 1946, describing a wedding in (no doubt) Buckman,"Minn. USA".  We all know who wrote it (if you don't, click the "Math Hesch Reporter" label on the left ☺). It's obvious Math felt extremely secure in his relationships with people in the area.  My first thought was that it was his nephew Mike's wedding (whoo boy, can you imagine??) but no, Mom & Dad were married a whole month by then.
INCREDIBLE how much we'd miss if it wasn't for Larry ☺

Monday, May 4, 2015


May the Fourth be with you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Otremba photos!

(plus some Stumpf and Jendro pics, too)

Don't know who this is,
but she's beautiful.
This week, we heard from Colleen, the wife of a descendant of Karl Otremba.  (He was the one who homesteaded in far western North Dakota).  She sent a wealth of photos from a family album, but only ONE picture was identified.  Still, this gives Larry and me more fun than listening to Curly fixing a Volkswagen, honest.  What started out as about 40 pics is now more like 70, because we can sharpen faded images, lighten too-dark images and zoom in on details that are hard to see in the we can compare faces side-by-side with photo editing software.  We live in a marvelous age with amazing tools.
See the difference here?  The original was very dark because the camera couldn't handle the contrast with the white dress.  On the bottom of the original, someone wrote "No 1", "No 4" and "No 5"...but then, "No 2" and "No 3" showed up above their heads when I lightened the pic and added more contrast, see? Now we only need to figure out who the family was ☺. It looks to be 1925-30, and the couple were parents of five kids--daughter, son, daughter, daughter, son--the eldest looks maybe 35 and the youngest, maybe 16.  Sound familiar to anyone?

 This photo was so faded she looked ghostly, but with a bit of leveling and contrast, her features stand out nicely.  Maybe we can find her in some of the other photos.  You KNOW they'll be here when we do!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Odd old news ☺

 It's April 15th and my taxes have been done for over a week ☺.  (Also, it just so happens that the car needs a new alternator, and the returns'll pay for it--YAY!) In honor of that, I'm posting a few odd 100 year old Little Falls Herald stories for your edification...

For instance, here's an interesting clipping from 1897.  So this Maria Ricks went around smashing windows.  Evidently, her evil ways were "well known", but really I suppose it would have been more trouble to arrest her and bring charges than to just pass her along to the next town.

 I'm most fascinated by the method they used in Opole, Mn, to raise money.  I suppose all of the citizens were Catholic, just like Buckman at the time.  But to be able to levy a kind of tax on the parish at 20 cents an acre owned?  Wow, a 160 acre farm owed $32.00, the equivalent of $830.00 now.  I wonder how it went over...

Yeah, there's a nice parish house next to the church in Opole, so it must have worked...)

 From Wikipedia:
"Phrenology is a process that involves observing and/or feeling the skull to determine an individual's psychological attributes. Franz Joseph Gall believed that the brain was made up of 27 individual organs that determined personality, the first 19 of these 'organs' he believed to exist in other animal species. Phrenologists would run their fingertips and palms over the skulls of their patients to feel for enlargements or indentations...."
and palm reading was, of course, just fortune telling.
Vee haff skeptical ancestors. Would the professor have predicted that he'd skip town without paying?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Our 2009 Reunion video

In the past 5 and a half years, I've often thought about how I wish I could post the video Larry and I made for the reunion, but it's 13 minutes long, and a whopping 126 MB.  I have room on my computer, but do you?  Does Youtube?
And then, yesterday, Tommy's daughter wanted to see it, so I tried to "compress" it and send it by email--but HA! Es hat nicht funktioniert.
Then today, Yahoo suggested I use Dropbox.  The way I understand it, a copy of the vid is "out there", waiting for you to make popcorn and click

There are only 3 or 4 small things I'd change if I could--one being that we didn't say where they came from in Europe, and another is the inclusion of the "eight women" photo before we identified almost all of em...but hell, you wouldn't have noticed unless you were Larry or me...or I mentioned it ☺.  Oh, and Tommy emailed to say I'd reversed his dad and Math in one of the last A A Hesch family pics.

Oh, and the music is the Stillwater Landler, played by Erwin Suess and the Hoolerie Dutchmen.

Math records another trip ☺

"The attached photo was taken in 1952
but it will give you an idea what
they looked like when on this trip".
Ok, I just downloaded Dropbox.  To see if and HOW it works, I'm trying to share the transcript of a trip Math and Mary Hesch took in 1956-57 to the west coast.  I think THIS should do it. ☺ COOL! (You don't need Dropbox to see it).

The transcript was sent by their daughter Laura, and was graciously typed up by her daughter:
"I gave the Diary to my daughter Julie to transcribe.  It was a challenge. The book measured about 4 inches wide and 6 inches long.  No paragraphs"...!

 Julie enlisted her daughter Sally, and between them, tried to figure out Math's handwriting and what he meant.  It had to be a challenge, partly because of the run-on sentences, and partly because it's been almost 60 years since Math wrote it.  Most of the people he referred to are long gone--Hortschs, Dehlers,  Wendelin Janson and his neighbor Mrs Scalzi, not to mention friends of their daughters who helped entertain them when the dauds were working. 

"Our trip, Mamma and I to San Francisco and Los Angeles in 1956 to visit Mary in San Francisco one month and Helen in Los Angeles one month.
Blacky is daughter Mary 28 years
Lenka is daughter Helen 34 years
Dowey is daughter Laura Ann 23 years
Pungee is daughter Delores 27 years".


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

I'll miss you, Louise...

The death of Louise Desautel is a sad event for her family, but also for me and the blog.  Louise Hesch grew up in Buckman and was dad's cousin and contemporary. She knew the "old" stories, and filled me in on what really happened when I'd mention a story I'd heard, or an odd news article.  She enjoyed our interest in her memories, and loved being the conduit to our understanding how it was then.  She let me take her dad's 1914 notebook to copy, which gave Larry and me so much to research.  She was delighted to hear about the connections we made, too, between what he wrote and the people and places he saw there in Europe.  We laughed together about her dad's sense of humor and that he was ever a starry-eyed youth.
She knew her aunt, Sr Laura, so much better than I did, too, and she was delighted that Sr Owen Lindblad let her read the rough draft of the book she wrote about Sr Laura this spring.
Louise was fun and funny and kind, so willing to share advice, enthusiasms, jokes and stories.  Just look at her picture--there's mischief in those eyes.  We'll miss that especially.
Louise E. Desautel   1926-2015

A Mass of Christian Burial celebrating the life of Louise E. Desautel, age 89, of Albany, will be at 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 10, 2015, at Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Albany. Fr. Brad Jenniges, OSB will officiate and burial will take place in parish cemetery. Louise died April 6, 2015, surrounded by her loved ones. There will be a visitation from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. Thursday, April 9, at the Miller-Carlin Funeral Home in Albany and again after 3 p.m. Friday at the church. Parish prayers will be at 4 p.m. followed by Christian Mothers praying the rosary at 6 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Louise Desautel was born in Buckman to Matthew E. and Mary (Tetvia) Hesch March 8, 1926. She attended St. Michael elementary school in Buckman, St. Francis high school in Little Falls and went on to earn her registered nurse degree at St. Francis hospital in Breckenridge. With a strong love for travel she pursued her career at numerous hospitals including: Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, and Honolulu, Hawaii. In these earlier days it was her lifelong friend and co-worker who joined her on many of these travels, Helen Schmolke of Houston, Texas.

 Returning from Hawaii Louise found herself working at a hospital in Crookston and it was there she met the love of her life and would go on to start her family. Louise married James George Desautel (from Crookston) Aug. 27, 1955, at St. Michaels church in Buckman. Louise and James settled in Albany, to raise their family. Louise retired from her nursing career and pursued other business ventures including “Big J” citizen band radio sales (a joint venture with her husband) and a distributorship in New Era cookware through which Louise’s entrepreneurial talents would find her door to door selling her products.

 Louise’s husband died suddenly, June 27, 1978, (age 48). Louise spent her remaining years in Albany, with a strong dedication to her children, community, and church. She was actively involved as a member in the Mother of Mercy Campus of Care auxiliary (Albany), the VFW auxiliary (Melrose), and the Boy Scout board of directors (Albany) and she was past president of the Christian Mothers, American Legion auxiliary (Albany). Louise maintained close relationships with many of the Franciscan nuns who would frequently join in at these gatherings.

Louise is survived by her six children, Denise (Michael “Rocco” Theisen) Desautel, St. Cloud, Paul Desautel, Baudette, Peter (Janet Demarais) Desautel, Albany, Jane (Michael “Monk”) Montgomery, St. Cloud, Laurie Desautel, Lake Forest, Calif. and Harold (Angie) Desautel, Albany; sisters, Irene Kulig, Superior, Wis.; Laura Alkofer, Park River, N.D.; 13 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her husband; parents; sisters and brothers-in-law, Adeline (Bob) Dion, Mary (Ralph) Linville, Helen Hesch and Dolores (Art) Eben; brothers-in-law, Gene Kulig and Ray Alkofer; and sisters-in-law, Harriet (Verne) Anderson and Jan Lee (Jim) DeLage.

Louise was remembered by many for her hats and earings. Louise asked to be remembered as a woman of faith. A woman who loved and cared for her family’s well-being.

At Louises request, donations are preferred in lieu of flowers to the Poor Claire Nuns.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

John & Vernie Wintermeyer

John B. and Vernie Wintermeyer, 1950s
 I'm finding more and more that most families have at least one "background" kid--not necessarily a black sheep, but who maybe moved away, or didn't always have time to attend family stuff, or one who just grew away from the family set of values. Who knows?
I think grandma Lizzy's sister Vernie (Veronica) was in this position in the Mike Sand family (but not the only one).  At least in my experience, Vernie wasn't mentioned much, and was never there when the Sand nuns came home, for instance.  It's possible that her life away from Buckman was a lot better than life on the farm.  Certainly, this photo looks like she was content.  We know from her mom's obit  that Louisa spent her last days at Vernie's in St Cloud, and died there.
Maybe it's just that Lizzy and Vernie weren't close, huh?
These photos are from Jenny, too...and the one to the left is labeled "Henry Block and John Wintermeyer".  It looks like the same yard as above, with peonies in bloom.  Henry, of course, was Lena's husband, so those two couples connected, at least. (I think this ◄John was the Wintermeyer's son John J. born in 1905.  His sibs were Joseph, born in 1908, and Marie, born in 1920).

Aa a reward for making it this far, here's a mystery to ponder:
Jenny said this photo is marked "Grandma and Grandpa Sand", but it's not Mike and Louisa.  They never reached this age or this portliness, tho Mike always had a longer, fuller beard than this gentleman.  We're curious about who they actually were--maybe Block grandparents, or Hoheisel, or Wintermeyer?  

Thanks again, Jenny! ☺