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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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Solemn Communion 'Angels'

I thought I had LOTS of First Communion 'angel' pictures, but evidently not. I think it was a German custom--where a 12-year-old making her First (Solemn) Communion was accompanied by a little girl, also dressed in white, as her Angel.

This first photo would have been about 1922, since mom looks about 6-7 years old (She's the little girl on the right). I don't know who the others are, but I suspect they're Janson or Naber relatives...maybe Bahns?

I DO know who these two are, cuz it was a family story. The tall girl was Adella Brandl (later, married to Killian Zenner). The Angel was my mom, Linda Janson, at 5 years old. (If you look closely, you'll see mom's wearing the same dress in both pictures).
The story had to do with the itchy garland of asparagus fern around moms' neck. Adella was serene, but the angel chaffed. If you click the picture, you can just make out something shiny on the front corner of the table.
The photographer showed her a nickel and asked her if she wanted it? Her eyes got huge, and she nodded. He put it on the table and said she could have it if she stood still for the pictures....
Obviously, mom got the nickel.
(BTW, I knew Della when she was old, and she STILL stood that way--a little canted to her left. She and mom were first cousins).
SUE just added to my collection! YAY, Sue!
This was probably in the 1920's too--the dress styles, and the bows on the angels' heads. Could the bows have been any larger...? Does anybody recognize any of these kids?

 This was the ordination day of the priest (one of the Mischkes?) in the photo.  His first mass was said in Buckman, and the ceremony included the middle girl as his "bride".  He was symbolically marrying the church.  The floral circle she carried symbolized his eternal commitment,  I think.

Sue said, "I have 2 original (Nelson Photo) copies of this picture sooooo….Someone in here MUST be related…" LOL...she thinks it could be Agnes, in the middle.  I agree.

Theodore Anton Hesch 1888-1982

~26th of May, 1920~
This elegant couple is Theodore Anton Hesch and Rosalia Kunigunda Dehler on their wedding day in May, 1920, in Buckman, Mn. He was 31 and she was 29. Woodrow Wilson was President, The Spanish Flu Epidemic and WWI were over, and the Great Depression was 10 years in the future.

They were raised on adjoining farms in Buckman, so he married "the girl next door"

Both of them in the 1950's.....

(From this photo)....

(Same time frame)........

...and in 1960, at his brother Antons' 50th Wedding Anniversary celebration.

They'd been married for 61 years when Rose died in February of 1981. Ted died a year later, in June of 1982.

(Photo credits: Judy, Irene and SUE!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Also from Sue, bless her!

Great Grandmother Mary Otremba Hesch. This had to be later in her life. Look at that elegant dress, the no-nonsense hair......and her beautiful, strong, capable hands. Mary Hesch died in 1917, at 61, and still looking like she's 4,000 miles from her birthplace.

MORE about Math and his diary

Sue just sent this :

"So How and why did I stumble across the Hesch history blog?
Why was I googling Sister Laura Hesch when I already know tons about her?
Because I have treasures that you need and someone wants you to have them."

Here's the photo of Math and Theo brother Frank shortly before Math & Theo left for Europe.
And HERE 's the picture they had taken in Berlin, with "his girl" Lena. That's Theo, with the mustache. Woo-hoo!

It's amazing that this card survived, isn't it? Sure, it's addressed to Sue's great grandfather, so she's most likely to have it 95 years later, but even Math's daughters weren't aware it was still around. Wow.

To Mr John Hesch & Co. R. 4, Pierz, Minnesota USA North Amerika
June 5th Hello John give me a box of layers snuff I am dieing for just on bite We are in Amsterdam but had this card taken in Berlin. The other boy on here is an American as well and she is my girl Lena Wiciak I'll tell you all when we blow in...from Hesch bros, wrote by M.E.

Michael Sand--1852 to 1931

This bearded man is Grandma Elizabeth's dad. I was looking thru my exploding picture files, and found his obit, from The Pierz Journal in September of 1931. Uncle Tony said he remembers sitting on Mike's lap, when he was 4, but that's all. Aunt Lena (Grandma's sister) told me who was in the family picture, but then, we talked of other stuff, and besides, that was back in (I mean, I don't have stories about him, sorry). This is from one of those "Outstanding Citizens" books that included only those who paid. It would have been about 1882, or so...

And this is Grandpa Anton Jansons' 1947 memory of his neighbor, Mike Sand:

St Michaels Cemetery, Buckman:

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Suesses

Ok, follow me on this one....

There was a man named Andrew Suess who was married to Elizabeth Wurtzberger. They had 5 children: Joseph, Mary, Frank, Kattie and Brown Co. Mn.

And, there was a man named John Hesch who was married to Katie Mueller. They had five children, also: Mary, Agnes, Paul, Laura and Buckman, Mn.
Then, Elizabeth (Wurtzberger) Suess died, and John Hesch died.

Widower Andrew Suess, in 1927, married widow Katie (Mueller) Hesch.

Ok, so far? Not too confusing--happens all the time, right? Blended families and all that....

But then, Katie's daughter Agnes married Andrew's son Joseph....who WE know as Aggie and Joe Suess. Their daughter Joan (Suess) Gilles had a daughter they named Susan.
And THAT's our Sue!
Whew, my FamilyTreeMaker software is smoking!

Louis T Gottwalt 1902-1980

Sue said this photo was in her grandmother Aggie Suess's album, evidently unidentified. When Sue took it out, she saw the signature on the back--Roses' son, Louie, Jr., possibly taken the same day as the whole family portrait? Nope, different tie, and a collar from the 20's.

Aggie Hesch Suess and Louie T Gottwalt were cousins.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

From the Pierz Journal in 1927

It's 1927, John's died, and his widow has re-married. What to do with the store in Buckman? Sue found this ad:


I know you're asking yourself, "Why so MUCH stuff about John?" Well, because a cousin with pictures was heard She, of course, has researched her own grandpa, while we've researched mine.

Others (i.e., Laura, Louise and Irene) had pictures to share about their dad, so HE got a lotta space here.

I's unfair! But trust that I'll post whatever pics you send, as long as they concern the HESCH family from my generation back in time...ok?

Did I say I LOVE maps?

THIS is a map of the area that our ancestors settled, BEFORE they settled there. See the Buckman area, south of Pierz? It says "mostly oak" forest, and Buckman was only a part of C. B. Buckman's 800 village yet in 1874. You'll find the WHOLE MAP here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


This photo reminds me how much I look like She's the one on the right, with the baby, and on the left is Aunt Ket (Catherine Mueller Hesch, John's wife), but WHO is the woman in between? (Sue sent this photo, too, and I cropped it to just the women--the left side of the picture is more of that house. Like Sue said, "nice siding"

Back to today here:

Larry found this video--it's a little schmaltzy, but it beautifully conveys what the reunion's all about....

"Our kids will carry the memory of us"......Makes ya wanna BE THERE...

A 20's wedding

My, my, my...Nelson Photo Studio went through some changes! Now, the picture is embossed
rather than imprinted with their

These are John and Ket's daughters, Mary and Agnes, on the occasion of Mary's wedding to George Block. This is the Mary who was known as "Girlie", probably even as a child...evidently, parents didn't check around to see how many other kids were being named Mary at the same (There were four between 1886 and 1927, PLUS grandma Mary...)

What pretty dresses--looks like satin, and a fur or maribou hem for Agnes--COOL. This coulda been the girliest day in Girlie's (I just realized I've been waiting to use that pun ALL my life!)

Funeral Cards and Genealogy

Obviously, the cards printed and distributed at funerals give us an excellent source of information about ancestors. Once in awhile, there's a family member who collects them, too--like Aggie Suess and her daughter Joan did. Sue sent the HESCH cards from that collection:

This is ANOTHER Paul Hesch, son of grandpa's brother Joseph. When Joe died, his widow Anna married John B Otremba, so that's where this Paul's sibs are found in the 1930 census. (Also, this is the Paul who played "Paul Bunyan" in Brainerd for years).
Here's grandma, Elizabeth Sand Hesch...

Joseph Hesch, father of Paul, and brother of Anton....
Frank, grandpa Anton's brother, an engineer on the railroad, died in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. (Good thing there was no German Spellcheck back then!)

Louis E Gottwalt--you can tell if he's unnamed in a photo because he's the only man with his hair parted on the right...
This young man was Paul and Mary's son Paul, who was killed in a train accident in Washington state. Uncle Tony told me that he was caught between two train cars, in the hitch, and that he was alive till they pulled the cars apart.
From Wikipedia:
"In the US, the brakeman was the person who would walk the length of a train atop the cars while the train is in motion and turn the brake wheel on each car to apply the train's brakes. A brakeman's duties also included ensuring that the couplings between cars were properly set, lining switches and signalling to the train operators while performing switching operations."
If you go to St Michael's Cemetery in Buckman, you'll see two markers, same design, with 'Paul Hesch'. One is, of course, this young man, and the other is his parents.

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Communion in 1915

In the early part of the 1900s, a child made her First Solemn Communion when she was 12. The custom of having an "angel" went away, too, eventually, but I have 5 or 6 pictures of different relatives on this day in their lives.
In this case, John Hesch's oldest daughter Mary was being Communed, and her sister Laura was drafted as her Angel.
BTW, I've never seen a smiling angel in ANY of those pictures. Also, I don't know if boys had Angels on this day...ahem.

Making sense of a photo 84 years later...

A TRUE MIRACLE of our age:
Sue sent this picture, too. (YAY, SUE!)

Last night, online, Larry and I figured out who most of these folks were, and their relationship to each other, with the help of the Gottwalt family picture, various census pages, online family genealogies and newspaper articles, and remarks made by family members...WOW.

We're pretty sure of most of them, figuring this was some ocassion in 1925--either John's birthday, or John and Ket's wedding anniversary, or possibly just a get-together because John was failing (he died in January of 1926).
If you see someone who's not identified, or who's wrongly identified, let me know, please.
One more question--well, two, See the shadow of the photographer, lower left corner? Who would she have been? And, there are 4-5 UN-identified people. Any guesses?

Over a year later, we realized the couple to the right of Lizzy Hesch and below Louie Gottwalt Jr were probably John and Pauline Schmolke, next-door neighbors of John and Ket's.  And see the kid between John Pratt and Katie Mueller Hesch?  THAT was most likely my dad, Mike Hesch, who would have been 12 that summer (thanks to my sis Kath for realizing that!) Cool, huh?

Thanks to Sue, and to LARRY!
(And, thanks, Sue, for correcting Joe Gottwalt).

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Math was famous for this:

Oh! Larry found this online--when Helen lived in LA, this article was published about her was 1976. Click to enlarge!

THANKS, Larry and

Louie and Rose Gottwalt Family

I'm not sure where I got this photo--probably on someone's online family tree. THANKS to whoever that was! For those just dropping in here, this is Grandpa's sister Rose (Hesch) Gottwalt, her husband Louie, and their grown kids.
One of the problems with German genealogy is the repetition of given names--this generation was absolutely peppered with Pauls and Johns, in honor of their Grandpa Paul and Great-grandpa John. I have seven Paul Heschs and five John Heschs so to mention the Paul or John cousins with different last names.

Sue mentioned her problem with Andrews and Josephs in the Suess clan--she has my sympathy!

The little sod house on the prairie

This photo has been in Sue's collection for years: the John and Katie Hesch family in North Dakota, when he was looking for a cure for what ailed him (Rheumatism, seems like)...with children Agnes, Mary and Paul as a baby in Katies lap. It would have been 1908-09, since the 1910 census shows 4 children, with the youngest 2 born in North Dakota, and Laura at 6 months old.
Thanks again to SUE, and to my "auto level"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A WEALTH of pictures!

Oh dear--where to start??

Sue sent some WONDERFUL photos today, and we should all be SO grateful to her for sharing them! They bring grandpa's brother John to life, as well as....well, let me SHOW you:

Sue said, "This is a post card of the Hesch Grocery in Buckman. Katie behind the counter, John sitting down as usual. Mary is cut off on the left – then Laura, Agnes and Paul. John Junior was not born yet". Paul was born in 1908, so this picture is probably from 1914-1915 or so? Later note from Sue--see the calendar behind Katie? "It was August 27, 1914, a Thursday..." Duh.

THIS photo is stunning--that's Sr Laura (Theresa) and Rose, sitting, and in back is Math and Frank. Larry thinks it was taken so they had a photo to take with them to Europe, to show the relatives: "See? We have a nun, and doesn't Rose look like Ma??"

Oh man, Sue sent more photos, too, but I don't want to post 'em all at ONCE! Theres one of a gathering of Gottwalts and Heschs, but Larry and I need to figure more of the people in it, first.

Teaser: Theres a Hortsch in it, and Hesch brothers, and Louie Gottwalt. YAY!!

John Hesch and Catherine Mueller

A big, amazed THANK YOU to Sue C., our first cousin twice removed. She's a great-grandaughter of this couple:
John Hesch and Catherine Mueller, married in 1902. This photo was taken only a year after the sepia picture of the family, so you can really see which kid he was.

Sue said "Catherine Muller Hesch remarried to my grandfather’s father Andrew Suess" after John died in 1926. "Agnes Hesch Suess was my grandmother...Joan Suess Gilles was my mother. She grew up in Buckman and lived during the school year with her grandmother Catherine (Katie) Hesch Suess".

'Aggie Suess' was a familiar name from my childhood, but I doubt I ever asked who she Now, I need to go enter this info on my tree so it's clear to me.

Oh, and see? Nelson Photo Studio took this portrait, too!

Added 2-3 days later:

This is John at 19 years old, in 1897. Wonder where he got that jacket, huh?

And another, of John about 25 years later...