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.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Morrison Moonshiners 'R' Us....

If you've kept up with HH so far, you'd think Great Uncle Math was the only Hesch with a still in the woods...but you'd be wrong. I just heard the BEST stories during a phone conversation with Uncle Tony.

(The call was originally with Aunt Marlene about her family and cool stuff Larry'd found lately, but they use the speaker phone, and pretty soon, Uncle Tony jumped

He said that for awhile, grandma and grandpa rented the Sand place (where grandma'd grown up) and that grandpa had a still across the road in a brush grove. A neighbor, Hubert Kelzenberg, could never find the still in that grove, and so, "for fun" set the grove on fire.
Grandpa put the fire out, but he moved the still anyway. Later, Grandpa borrowed a boar hog from Hubert (for the usual and when Mr Kelzenberg came to pick the hog up, it was sleeping. He nudged its' behind with his foot (kicked it), and it woke, and tried to get up. Nope. The hog tipped over on its' side. Tried again, on its' front feet--tipped over onto its' side, and went back to sleep.
Hubert laughed and said he'd come back for it when the hog had sobered up.

I said I'd heard from dad that grandma sold the stuff at the farm, and UT laughed and told this story:
Grandpa was coming home from town one day and saw a strange car leave his own yard. Since he didn't recognize it, he decided to follow it, out of curiousity. The car sped up and grandpa followed. It sped up again. Grandpa did too. Pretty soon, without slowing, the door opened and a gallon of moonshine was tossed out. Turns out the driver was a judge from Little Falls. LOL

And, oh, yes--my other grandpa was cooking, too--only foolishly, his still was in the basement of the farm house. UT said the thing wasn't working right--there were fumes--and little grandpa went outside for something to fix it. When he came back and opened the basement door, cold air rushed in and the fumes exploded. The house lifted up (OMG!) and resettled an inch or two off the foundation. I don't know if that was before or after the explosion in the attic that burned the floor and blew a window out...whew.
From talking with relatives, it sounds like almost everyone had a still hidden on their farms around Buckman. Adeline said they all knew about the others, but nobody ratted. The 'revenue men' were the adversary, not the neighbors.
Added years later ☺:
I'm reading a book called "The German Americans- an Ethnic Experience" from the Max Kade German-American Center in Indianapolis.  Chapter 8, "Ethnic Politics: German-Americans as Voters and Office Seekers" explains something about the mindset of our ancestors during Prohibition.  It wasn't only rural folk trying to get by while trying to avoid the Feds.  It had to do with our folks being ethnic Germans.  This was after the First World War, a time when being of German ancestry was suspect and could get a person in deep trouble just because of the accent, or being heard to speak German.  I imagine our folks felt they'd just barely made it thru that time unscathed.  Did they hold a grudge?  Oh, yes...
"The violent reaction of many German-Americans to the Temperance Movement becomes comprehensible and more justifiable if we acknowledge that it was in reality a defense mechanism in which the validity of equal rights and self-respect were reasserted.  German-Americans considered legal limitations on the sale and consumption of alcohol, as well as mandatory rest on the puritanical Sunday, as nothing less than discriminatory over-regulation of their personal affairs and their leisure activities."

No comments:

Post a Comment