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, September 8, 2010


Margaret Brandl (daughter of Erwin & Rose, from the post office) sent an email about an old timer she remembered in Buckman:
"I was wondering if you know anything about Fred Sporlein--1874-1958--he lost his wife in 1955 and the story was that he stopped shaving that year.  I played with Mikey Kappas every day and we would go to Sporlein's place and talk to him while he worked in the garden.  He was not called Fred only Sporlein.  I also got to know his daughter Louise who lived in Little Falls and was an RN.  He gave me one of his daughters' old dolls and some doll clothes.  He lived in the house dad was born in--the house behind Zenner's store.  He kept a team of horses and a wagon on Math Hesch's farm and one time he brought it to town just to let Mikey and me ride it down main street as if we were in charge-he sat next to us--it was thrilling--he died when I was seven so I must have been about 4 or 5 because Mikey moved to St Cloud before starting first grade.  I have a wonderful small pic of him with a full beard.  Margaret"

We did some research and found Fred's obit and Mary's too--
Recent Rites of Mrs. Mary Sporlein
        (May 4, 1955)
The last rites of Mary Magdalene Sporlein were solemnized at St. Michael's church, Buckman, Monday, May 9 with burial in the Buckman cemetery. Celebrant of the funeral mass was Rev. Paul Kunkel, pastor of the church, with Rev. Robert Voigt, Pierz assisting as deacon, and Father Benno Mischke, Onamia, the subdeacon.
Mrs. Sporlein was born at New Ulm, Minnesota June 15, 1874. Mary Margdalene Fischer married Fred Sporlein at New Ulm in June of 1897, and they settled in Agram two years later, where they lived on the farm 55 years. Clarence Smieja now operates the former Sporlein farm. Mr. and Mrs. Sporlein retired in the Village of Buckman fifteen years ago.
Mrs. Sporlein's illness started after a fracture some twenty months ago. She had been living since then with her daughter, Mrs. Louise Strutzel, in Maywood, Illinois. Mr. Sporlein made periodic visits there for extended periods during this time. He recently returned to his home in Buckman after having spent the past winter in Maywood.
Surviving are her husband, Fred Sporlein, four sons, Walter, Minneapolis; and Bernard, Edward and Henry, Chicago; and three daughters, Frances, Elgin, Illinois; Louise, Maywood, Illinois; and Freda, Chicago. One son, Joseph, preceded his mother in death, June 21, 1951.
There are twenty-one grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.
Other survivors are four sisters, Mrs. G. Happke, Wauconda, Illinois; Mrs. A. Weimar, Deerfield, Illinois; Mrs. F. Hanson, Minneapolis; and Mrs. E. Juni, St. Cloud.

Solemn Requiem For Fred Sporlein Wednesday

January 19, 1958
Funeral rites were held for Fred Sporlein, 83, Wednesday morning at St. Michael's church, Buckman, with Rev. Paul Kunkel, the celebrant for the Solemn Requiem, and Fr. Robert Voigt and Fr. Richard Leisen assisting as deacon and subdeacon. Interment was in the Bukman cemetery. He passed away Sunday at his home in Little Falls.

Six grandsons served as pallbearers: James Hocker, Ambrose Sporlein, Michael Sporlein, Robert Schroedl, Walter Sporlein, Jr. and James Mateyka.

He was born in Naperville, Ill. and moved to Agram township in 1901. Since that time he farmed there and later retired in the village of Buckman, and when his health began to fail, lived in Little Falls.

He was a member of St. Michael's Society of St. Michael's church, Buckman, for a half century.

Surviving are three daughters and four sons: Frances, Elgin, Ill.; Mrs. Louise Strutzel, Little Falls; Mrs. Louis Schamal and Henry, Bernard and Edward, Chicago; and Walter, Minneapolis. His wife, Mary, and a son, Joseph preceded him in death. There are 19 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.

Today, Margaret sent the photo of  Fred (above).  Doesn't he look like the kind of man who would laugh and tease small kids?  But you know he loved having them show up in his garden...☺ We didn't find much else about them, but if you have a story, I'd love to add it here, ok?

Added later: Anon wrote 
 "He [Fred Sporlein] kept his horses in our pasture behind our house in Buckman when I was young, so in the early & mid 1950's, until he sold them.  Great old guy, friendly, loved kids and gave most of us a ride on his freight wagon pulled by the horses. Rarely wore shoes, skin thick as pieces of cardboard glued together". 
It's interesting, too, that many farm couples retired and moved into town, into one of the houses close to the stores and church.  It'd be fun to list who lived in each of them, huh?

THANK YOU,  Margaret!


  1. I think the old farmers worked so hard through their lives that if they stayed on the farm they could not stop working. So they moved to town.

  2. I found this very interesting and was just thrilled to read about stories of Fred Sporlein. He was my great grandfather and the pallbearer Walter Sporlein Jr is my dad, who passed away in 1961. Thank you for posting this.

    Tony Sporlein
    Arvada, Co.

  3. You're welcome, Tony--this is exactly what we hope will happen when we research somebody. Thanks for the note--it made my day!