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, May 29, 2010

Was Paul really a stowaway?

(Larry and I've found that most of the family stories I've heard have a basis in truth, once we research them, but this one is tough!)

A persistent story among Heschs is that great grandpa Paul got onboard a ship leaving Europe by having himself sealed in an apple barrel.  He would certainly have had a confederate onboard to let him out, so he had to be noticed by the crew. 

While researching the possibility, we found that discovered stowaways (as well as births or deaths during the journey) were listed at the end of the passenger list, but that once a stowaway arrived, they were processed into America like everyone else.
One possible theory is that he arrived in Canada instead of NYC.  The first evidence we have of him after his birth in Oberschlagles (1846) is his marriage to Mary Otremba in Buckman (1874).  The legend says he was 21 when he left home to avoid the Austrian draft, so what was he doing for the missing seven years here in America?   It's probable that he "worked his way across the country", moving along when he had the money, but we have no evidence of that.

This one'll probably stay a mystery....

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