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, December 10, 2017

Laura sent pictures ☺

What a treat to see "new" pictures of people I recognize and loved.  Laura says these were taken in the 1950s, looks like at the farm west of Buckman.  She said the little boy was a kid from town who loved spending time at the Hesch farm.  They obviously welcomed him ☺. Laura doesn't remember his first name, but his family name was Empey.
By this time, a couple of the girls were married with kids of their own. I suspect it was one of Helen's trips home from Los Angeles, always an occasion for a happy sibs get-together.

I can probably name five or six here, but there'd be a lotta guessing going on ☺

Here's Adeline and Bob, with Joanie, Karen and Renee, the baby.  Renee was born in 1949 and Bob died in August of 1951 so this has to be summer, 1950.
Thanks for the pictures, Laura!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A needle in a recipe book

(Is it heartless to go on posting without Larry?  I hope not--here's something that I know he'd like, and as people always say after someone dies, "he would have wanted me" to keep posting just for the fun of it, which was why we started HH in the first place). 

 Yesterday, I found a sewing needle that's undoubtedly from the 1940's. Exciting, right?

But here's the whole story, which is just cool:

I volunteer at the Stearns History Museum in St Cloud.  I'm currently scanning the pages of a book.  I sit next to Elizabeth who's one of the archivists who are indexing the collection.  She's found amazing stuff and ho-hum stuff and "why-are-we-keeping-this?" stuff.  Yesterday, she was recording a box of random cookbooks (one of five boxes) that have been donated but don't fit in other collections.  One of her tasks as she documents is to remove metal staples or pins she finds in the materials because they rust and destroy documents. 
When there's something really remarkable, she shows me ☺--yay!

This particular book started as a 9" x 5" fancy fabric sample book (1920s?), one swatch on each card stock page.  The fabric was gone, of course.  Each page was originally blank on the back, a perfect book to re-use for recipes and mementos.  There were a lot of newspaper recipes that this woman intended to try, you could tell, and the occasional obituary or article she wanted to keep.  It was all stuff important to her.  We couldn't tell who she was, tho most of the clippings seemed to be from the 1940s. 

I can imagine myself doing what she did:  two clippings pinned together with a straight pin, and another 2-3 pinned together, and 2 more....finally, when they fell out of the book once too often, she pinned the whole stack together with a needle.  There were 9 pins and the needle in that stack! 
How am I different than the woman who kept that book?  I saved a needle just because she saved it in her recipe book, and because it's been stuck between those pages for 70 years or so.  We're all the same, aren't we? Now I have a precious needle.
Oh, and here's a recipe she hand-wrote, in case you want to try it.  Looks like she made them more than once ☺

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Larry Robert Royston (1960-2017)

In the spring of 2005, I answered a question posed on a blog called "Love and the Happy Cynic".  I was flattered when I got an answer--I mean, bloggers were BMOC, with thousands of followers, right?  But this guy actually wrote back, and wanted to talk.  Turned out he lived in a little town in Georgia with his wife Jan.  He'd grown up in Hawaii, knew tons about European history, was well read and very funny, and had young-onset Parkinson's Disease.

That was Larry, the co-author of Hesch History.  We emailed and chatted most days, tried to make each other laugh.  We often discussed books or the news, as you do, and one day he asked what I knew about my ancestors.  I vaguely recalled a story about a great grandfather falling out of a wagon and dying three days later....I thought he was German, and that he lived in Buckman, Minnesota.  That was about it.

So started an adventure that kept us both interested for years.  HH began in January 2009, and it's now over 1300 posts.  We tapered off in the last year, partly because of Larry's PD, but mostly because we ran out of new sources to tap.  He was an inspiration, zeroing in on small facts that turned into days of fun research (Francis DeVivaldi, Uncle Math's Diary, the Olympic, among tons of other topics).  Because of Larry, I went to Europe to find the places we discovered (and because Marion persuaded me ☺ ).

It's been a wonderful twelve years, knowing Larry.  I'm heartbroken that he's gone.  I've lost a dear friend, and honestly, he loved knowing more about our little family than you do.
Rest in peace, dear friend.
I'll miss you always

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Firing up a steam locomotive

Dad's uncle Frank Hesch was a fireman on the railroad, and eventually an engineer (out of Duluth, I think).  In the years that Frank's brother Math was reporting the Buckman News, he often mentioned that Frank stopped home to visit their mom. 
When you hear "fireman on the RR", it brings to mind the infernal backbreaking labor of shoveling coal into the firebox of an engine for miles on end--and here's a video that shows the 6-7 hour job it was to fire up an engine, condensed to 37 minutes.  If you prefer to see only what Frank did, check minute 11, and again at minute 16 or so.  Made me sweat just to watch.  The last few minutes are fun cuz the guy toots the whistle, and moves the locomotive out of the shed.  Wow!

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 😄

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"'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! 😊