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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Thursday, June 17, 2010

House fires and Heschs

and Dad was 3 years old.  Where were they?  We don't know, but they all survived.

When I was growing up, dad would occasionally mention the house fires his parents had when he was a kid.  He left the impression that it happened over and over...almost as tho any house they lived in was doomed.
I suppose you had to know dad and his sense of make it sound like his parents couldn't be trusted with a stove made it a much better story, after all.

When I asked Uncle Tony about it the other night, he said there were only two fires.  The first one was in 1916, six years after his parents were married.  They were living on the farm they were given as Paul's legacy (all 11 kids were given a start in life--either land or a dowry of some sort)....2 miles south and 3/4 miles east of Buckman.  He said the fire happened when Gramma was in the field with a four horse hitch, plowing or cultivating, and Grandpa was in the evidently, Gramma always preferred working outside.  I can easily imagine her out there, too.
(Funny how the LFH reported it, tho ☺) ►

Uncle Tony was born in 1928, so he was only relating what he'd heard about it...but somehow, kerosene exploded, and the house went up in flames.  The adopted boys, George and Henry were 12 and 10, and dad was 3.  We don't know where they were at the time, but they all survived.

The second, and LAST, fire was 24 years later, in 1940, on the farm just south of the green schoolhouse.  Uncle Tony was 12, and definitely remembers it.
This time, Grandpa was away, at an auction.  Gramma, Tony and Lena Muyres were in the garden, picking green beans.  (BTW, Lena was Aunt Eileen's mother).  Maybe Gramma was canning beans too--a pressure cooker in the house, on the stove?  Anyway, they heard a loud bang, and saw the side of the brick veneer house on fire.  The kerosene tank on the porch had exploded.

He said Gramma ran into the burning house to rescue stuff, three times!  He described how the last time, there was so much smoke that Gramma lost her way.  She stumbled in the direction of the front door till she bumped into a rocker, and then, knew where she was.  She pushed the rocker in front of herself, and Tony saw it, leaned in and pulled it and his mom out.  He said she  started back inside, but he wouldn't let her.  20 minutes later, there was only the chimney left standing...

I'd brought a box of photos along, and as we went thru them, Uncle Tony saw this one:
He paused with it in his hand.  He said there'd been a large framed version of it that had burned in the 1940 fire...maybe a 12 year old thought it was the only copy?  So, I gave him the one he was holding.  It was really never mine in the first place, ya know?

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