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, February 19, 2011

Who was Francis de Vivaldi? Chapter secundo

Larry found that Carlos Francisco Alberto Julio Lorenzo de Vivaldi was born 12 July 1824 in Sardinia, Italy.  By the time he started causing trouble in Minnesota 30 years later, America was on the cusp of Civil War.  At the time, there was a political faction called the Know Nothings:

The Know Nothing movement was a nativist American political movement of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by [Italian,] German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon Protestant values and controlled by the Pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant males of British lineage over the age of twenty-one.....
The origin of the "Know Nothing" term was in the semi-secret organization of the party. When a member was asked about its activities, he was supposed to reply, "I know nothing."
 Turns out that as Canon de Vivaldi was laboring among the Indians in Long Prairie, he was asked by Italian Americans around Lexington, Kentucky to find and purchase land they could move to.  The Know Nothings were being particularly obnoxious and de Vivaldi's countrymen just wanted to live in peace.  Their mistake was sending money to de Vivaldi.  He realized they would send more if he encouraged them, of course.  He even named the town-site he said he bought for them--Piopolis, a sure winner of a name.

◄These three excerpts about the failure of Father de Vivaldi's  Piopolis are from a 1939 book called Catholic Immigrant Colonization Projects in the United States, 1815-1860 .  Click each section to enlarge...they're interesting, and this is where Green Bay is mentioned....

Amazingly, there's a Notre Dame website online with explanations of historic letters that were sent between Bishops and clergy back then.  
Here's just some of what Bishop Cretin had to say about Francis de Vivaldi, in the spring of 1856, in a letter to Archbishop Anthony Blanc in New Orleans:
Cretin is surprised that his letter had not reached Vivaldi by the date of (Blanc)'s last letter. Cretin does not doubt that (Blanc)'s charity has enabled him to see in Vivaldi only his good qualities. But it is impossible to talk with him for a few days without exposing his vanity, his eccentric ideas, his falseness under a veil of piety. Vivaldi has compromised forever, by his imprudent conduct, Catholic missions among Indians. It is certain that they can no longer expect the support of the government. Cretin's last efforts at Washington have failed. The Minnesota representative whom de Vivaldi openly opposed in spite of Cretin's forbidding it, will always bear a grudge against him because of his ingratitude; he can no longer appear in those regions. His pompous announcements about Piopolis has made many enemies because of the deceits of which they are the victims. The young lawyer who lived on the lands had to flee for fear of being beaten(?) by the people who came 2 or 300 miles to settle at Piopolis and found only a hut, woods, and swamps. He ceded all his rights to Cretin, who did not accept. Every day reveals new debts. He borrowed $800 secretly from one of their neighbors who now is demanding it of Cretin. As soon as he has gathered together everything needed to pay his debts of around $5000 he will have to turn over to Cretin his letters of credit or Cretin will report him in the newspapers as a man unworthy of confidence. Cretin has just learned from Archbishop (Louis) Franzoni, of Turin, who ordained him[ de Vivaldi], that the canon is unworthy of esteem.
Whew.  de Vivaldi understood by now that missionary work would pretty much keep him nickel-dimeing in obscurity, which he obviously didn't want.  In Wisconsin, he found a rich heiress who happened to be a widow, and suddenly, LOVE tore him away from his vocation laboring in God's vineyard. 
 He had other things to pick, now.... 
(More tomorrow, ok?)

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