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, July 11, 2015

Fireworks on the Fourth of July, 1908

Be advised.  From the Little Falls Herald, July 3rd, 1908:

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Historical stuff to wonder about

A friend mentioned the other night that she'd taken her mom shoe-shopping in St Cloud last week.  She said it was tough finding the "right" dress shoes in a size 10 (40 or 42, European).  It seemed like the choices were limited--lots of cute shoes in smaller sizes, but not in tens.  Since that's my size too, we commiserated.  Do they order fewer large size shoes in the first place, or, do the tens sell so well that there aren't many left by the time I need shoes?

I know, that's not historical.  Deal.

This next came from an 1875 ad in the St Cloud Journal by one J.E.West and a group of speculators trying to raise capital to build the Grand Central hotel.
Check the huge list of prizes that might be won by those buying shares (right column at the link). This was April first, a celebration planned for July third, and the hotel would be finished by October first, 1875. The timeline was remarkable all by itself, but look at the list of fireworks--how was this possible? I mean, did anyone actually see the words "St. Cloud Hotel Enterprise" written in fire in the sky? And if so, how come last night's fireworks were "just" unnamed colorful starbursts?

And while we're checking pages from the St Cloud Journal, here's an interesting pair of announcements from two unhappy men in Sauk Centre.  Wouldn't you love to know what actually happened there?

Ok, not historical either: 
"Big families are like waterbed stores; they used to be everywhere, and now they're just weird."  --Jim Gaffigan

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Sr Laura--something old, and something new

In 1913, the year dad was born, his Aunt Theresa was a teaching sister in St Augusta, Minnesota, according to the 1910 census.  This was her first parish school assignment, since she'd made her final vows earlier that year.  Ever after, she was known as Sr Laura O.S.B.

With the zeal of a new teacher, Larry found that she sent helpful hints to a Minnesota magazine called "School Education", identifying herself as Laura Hesch rather than Sr Laura.  (Either it was the preference of the editor, or a convent education put you above the typical grade-school teacher at the time, an unfair advantage?)  Anyway, this Laura Hesch had to be "ours" ☺.
Click the link up there--she submitted four hints, one of which ("Botany Made Interesting") earned her third place in the competition for October.  For her efforts, she won  a book called "The Home School".
The whole issue of School Education is full of great hints from enthusiastic educators and would still be useful today, I think.  Teachers have always been generous with sharing ideas that work!
 The other Sr Laura news is via Sr Owen Lindblad.  She emailed this week to say her book about Sr Laura, "So Far, So Good", will be published in late July.  It'll be available for now, at $9.95 a copy from--

c/o Sister Ann Marie Biermaier, OSB
104 Chapel Lane
St Joseph, Mn 56374

COOL, huh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

St Mary's Grade School Mystery

This is St Cloud Minnesota history, so if you've never been here, you can skip this post, guilt-free ☺ :

Funny how something can stick in your craw for years, a puzzle that's just niggling there, waiting to be figured out...and suddenly, there's a rainy day in June that seems perfect for illustrating the problem to see if any of you readers have an answer or explanation ☺.  If you do, leave a comment, ok?

Ok, here are two postcards picturing Immaculate Conception church (the German Church) and St Mary's school as they were between 1896 (when the school was built) and 1920 (when the church burned down).  These buildings stood on west St Germain Street at the 900 block.  We know the street car tracks turned north on 9th right in front of the church (enlarge the left pic), and that the church property blocked 9th going south from there, shown on the map.
 This 1896 map fragment shows the school and church on the north shore of Lake George, and wow, both buildings look to be far back from the street, don't they...but the photo postcards have them flush with St Germain.  How can that be?  The school is still there, and if you approach from the walkway beside the current church, the school is indeed behind an office building to its north.
Here's the satellite view, and a few 2015 street view pics.
(Red vehicle above the R)
See the red vehicle (middle bottom of the satellite pic)?
This would be the view from there, looking north/northeast.

(There was obviously an addition built on the south face of the original school building--it doesn't match the mansard roof style at all, but the brick color matches). 
So, my burning question is: how come the school is now an entire office building south of where it was originally??
A little farther east, still looking north.
This view is from approximately the same place as the first pic up there--see the school
roof line behind the red brick St Mary's Building? 
LOL...I've tried for an hour to grab the outline from the first postcard to superimpose on this view, but DAMN, isn't cooperating.  
Here's where your imagination comes in.
Shortly after I clicked "Publish", Larry sent these two pertinent vids!
They're quite interesting even if they don't answer the burning Q.  


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Katie Hesch marries Blaise Sufka

It was September 24, 1940, and yes, that's Mike (dad) as bestman.  The bridesmaid was Uncle Blaise's sister Betty. They all look so young....

(Thanks for the info, Butch!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gerald Hesch 1960-2015

Normally, when a relative passes away, I re-print the obituary here so you know the details the way his/her family wants them to be remembered...but there was no obit and no funeral for Jerry, as per his wishes.  I can't do him justice, but I'll try.

Jerry's interment at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls was today.   It's a short, distinguished service held inside the building rather than graveside.  He was cremated, and his best friend made the beautiful house-shaped urn for his ashes.
Jerry's brother-in-law John gave a short eulogy, and Sue talked a little about her first memories of him.  He was 4 months old when Uncle Henry and Aunt Idella took him home as a foster child.  She said that they asked the state if it was ok to raise him as a Catholic, including having him baptized.  They wanted to stay involved with his care even if his birth parents wanted him back, so they became his godparents.  Sue just assumed that that was how you got siblings, and was surprised when they asked her if she would like him to be her brother, when he was three.  Of course, he already was.
Others who spoke at the service talked about what a good and generous friend he was, always willing to help, no matter what.  I'll remember him as a soft-spoken, gentle man, bewildered at suddenly being in the hospital with paralysis, and then a diagnosis of cancer.
He married Theresa Joyce , and their three adult kids are Leo, Tyler and Molly.
Rest in peace, Jerry.

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 ☺