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.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Who was Francis de Vivaldi?

On Thursday, Larry found an intriguing article from the St Cloud Times, reprinted in the Topeka, Kansas newspaper in May, 1892:

The Globe-Republican
Dodge City, Kansas
13 June 1892 p. 2
Topeka Capital: A St Cloud (Minn.) dispatch of the 24th ult. contains an account of Francis De Vivaldi, a missionary priest, who abandoned his profession more than 30 years ago, married, went west, disappeared for twenty-five years, and recently appeared in Minnesota, again a priest.  This person was undoubtedly our Kansas Charles F. De Vivaldi, who in May, 1859, established the Western Kansas Express, the first newspaper published at Manhattan.  De Vivaldi became active in free state politics in Kansas, and in 1861, having secured the endorsement of our leading public men, obtained the appointment of United States consul at Santos, Brazil.  He gave up his Manhattan newspaper to Hon. James Humphrey, who continued the publication.  De Vivaldi's name appears on the United Stated official register as holding the position of consul up to the year of 1867, and as having been appointed from Kansas.

Well!  Who wouldn't follow up on something like that?  Someone in Kansas remembered the name when they saw it come across the wire, since it IS a fairly unusual name.  As we traced de Vivaldi online, it's startling that through all his long and interesting life, he didn't use an alias that we know of. (On the other hand, if he did use an alias, HOW would we know?) I suppose he needed to hold onto the "noble Italian birth" story, and it wouldn't work without the name:  

Princeton newspaper 26 May 1892

Francis de Vivaldi, Believed to Be Dead, Suddenly Returns to St Cloud
Was Formerly a Catholic Priest and His Career is Tinted With Romance.

St Cloud, Minn, Special, May 24-- There is a name on the register of the West hotel in this city to-day that hides a romance.  Francis de Vivaldi is a younger son of a noble Italian family who wandered years ago to the American frontier as a Catholic priest and was stationed in this county for a time.  Later he went to Wisconsin, married and renounced the priesthood, and then went to South America.  He had one daughter by his marriage, and after going to Brazil he suddenly disappeared.  Years passed and he was supposed to be dead, and his widow married again, her husband becoming secretary of war of Brazil under the emperor Dom Pedro.  Later the wife died leaving the child known as Corinne de Vivaldi Coaracy and so the family history might have closed but for a forty-acre tract of land which is now in the eastern limits of the city of St Cloud and which was once owned by de Vivaldi.  He was supposed to have deeded it to Father Pierz of the Benedictine order and the Hon. H.C.Waite of this city bought it in 1880 from the order for $500.  The deed, however, was never put on record; it was lost and Father Pierz was dead, and an enterprising lawyer, the land having become quite valuable, hunted up the daughter and a suit was brought in her name to recover the land.  It has been in litigation for two years now and tried in the courts always under the supposition that de Vivaldi, who disappeared so many years ago, was dead.  Absolutely nothing had been heard of him until to-day he reappears in the flesh and registers at the West.  Old friends here remember him, and it is said that he has been all these years in a monastery in Patagonia.  What his action in the case will be no one knows.

Ok, so he showed up in St Cloud.  What connection besides the land did he have in this area?  It's a fascinating story that Larry and I think has probably never been pulled together before.  Each community who dealt with de Vivaldi was just happy to see him leave, it seems, starting with Bishop Cretin, the first Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St Paul, Minnesota.

Evidently, Cretin and de Vivaldi arrived on the same immigrant ship from Europe in 1851.  Cretin was heading to his assignment to be Bishop, and de Vivaldi was a young priest who impressed Cretin with his devotion and charm.

Still, wouldn't the name Vivaldi have had more currency in Europe than in America?  Years earlier, yes, but this was after the 1848 revolution that changed laws and hierarchy in most of Europe, and with revolution, 'nobility' became a liability.

So Cretin assigned his young friend to a position as a missionary to the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Indians in Long Prairie, west of Little Falls, Minnesota.

Benign, right?  But evidently, Francis began running up bills locally and charging them to Bishop Cretin, who was not happy about it.  $5000 was $5000, ya know?
  (BTW, de Vivaldi couldn't have started an order of nuns before he arrived here in 1851.  1847 is wrong, but could very well be information he provided!)

OK, that's the first part of the be continued.

August 2014---a little more background:

  Paul HESCH was born in Oberschlagles, Bohemia that year.  Here in Minnesota, the Long Prairie Reservation already existed, tho Charles deVivaldi wouldn't arrive for another five years.  Minnesota itself wasn't a state till 1858. There was no Morrison county yet, or very few towns we'd recognize either.  But see the lowest corner of the reservation on the map?  That would become Sartell, eventually, where Peter SAND settled. 
 I tried to find another corresponding map that was also marked with the series of rapids on the Mississippi so I could tell where the future town of 
Little Falls would be.  
They weren't as particular then, evidently, but you get the idea.
Quite a difference in ten years, huh?
Here's this whole map on the Davis Rumsey Historical Map Collection website.

No comments:

Post a Comment