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, June 13, 2009

Catholic schools vs Public schools

An interesting but odd bit of central Minnesota history was the controversy over schools.

Evidently, the problem was WHO taught them.

Reading accounts of early one-room schools, often the teacher was a recent 8th grade graduate. If that was all there was, it was "gut genug"....but then, a teaching order of Benedictine nuns came from Germany c. 1857, and started a motherhouse in St Joseph. Finally, teachers were available.

In 1887, the first school in Buckman was staffed by Benedictines (and "continued unopposed for more than 50 years") because there were no non-Catholics in Buckman.

But in towns like Albany, St Cloud, Browerville, and Pierz, there was controversy. If a school was taught by nuns, did that make it a Catholic school? And, if it was a public school, then why was the local parish responsible for their living quarters, the school building, their pay, etc?

And, was religion a legitimate part of the curriculum if the school was public? Could the state regulate what was taught if no taxpayer money was involved? Conversely, if it was the only school in town, shouldn't the taxpayer help? We come from thrifty German stock, and paying teachers more than necessary...........

You can easily see both sides of this issue, and how how thorny it was to resolve. This article was from 1903--

Whew! The issue was national news, partly because we weren't the ONLY state dealing with it:The controversy dragged on for more than fifty years, when dynamite was again left for the priest, and a parishoner was excommunicated in Pierz. These days, there's a public and a parochial school in town serving a wide area, and sadly, no nuns.

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