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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Monday, May 2, 2011

How Electricity Came To Pierz

This just in from October 1912 (courtesy of ☺ Larry):

Little Falls, Minn., Oct. 10--Pierz is now electric lighted and has electricity for power, two very important factors in the present day development of the cities and villages of the country.  Very few towns the size of Pierz can boast of being electric lighted.
Current was turned into the village last evening during a celebration in honor of the event.  At 8 o'clock a parade was held with the Pierz band leading, followed by the village fire department, the rube band from this city and automobiles.  After marching through the village the parade took the crowd to the electric sub-station where the Rev. Father Stiegler, in the course of a bright address, turned the switch, flashing electric current to all parts of the town.
At the sub-station C. E. Gravel, mayor of the village, introduced the speakers of the evening, the Rev Stiegler, C. A. Lindbergh, and T. C. Gordon.

There're quite a few cool, checkable facts in this short article--like who were the four prominent citizens named as speakers there?  We know C.A. Lindbergh was an attorney and the father of the man who flew non-stop to Paris in 1927; C.E. Gravel would have been the man who founded Gravelville, a mill town west of Pierz that was already abandoned by 1912:

Gravelville was known for it flour milling in 1876.  In it's heyday this little town had grown from two mills to having a shingle mill and joiner, a planning mill, a store, storage building, and stable shed.  It was reported to have 150 homes in and around town.  One of the great hang outs of it's time was the Blind Pig Saloon.
But in 1905 when there was no more logs to be had along the great Platte river, Charles Gravel made the decision to move his business to Pierz.  This little town during the milling years was governed by settles from the East coast. 

Fr. Stiegler was the pastor of St Joseph's Catholic Church in Pierz and must have been well-liked, since he gave a rousing address AND had the privilege of flipping the switch. 
 But, who was T.C. Gordon?
I found him listed in Little Falls city in the 1920 census.  He was born in Wales of English parents.  He's listed with his wife, Mary, and their 27 year old son James.  T.C.  and James were both auto salesmen in 1920.  Was TC instrumental in enlarging the area covered by power from the Little Falls dam?  Or, maybe he was just a good speaker with an English accent... ☺
Later: Found this at the MCHS website, as one of the Morrison County Influentials:

Thomas C. Gordon (1866-1923) – Businessman. Born in Wales. Came to the United States when he was 21, arriving in New York City and moving directly to Minnesota. In 1887, he started working for the Little Falls Water Company in St. Paul, but was transferred to Little Falls within a month. Gordon served as an assistant to the engineer and kept the books for the company. In 1889, he became the Secretary/Treasurer. In 1903, he became the General Manager of the company, which operated the dam in Little Falls. In 1888, he started the Gordon Lumber Company in Little Falls, running it for 3 years. In 1890, he formed the Peoples Ice Company, and ran it for 12 years. Also in 1890 he organized the Little Falls Building and Loan Association and served as its Secretary and Treasurer. He was Secretary of the Little Falls Milling Company from 1890 to 1894 and also served as Secretary of the Little Falls Electric and Water Company. He helped form the Morrison County Electric Light, Heat and Power Company and Pike Rapids Hydro Electric Company. In 1918, he got out of the water power business and started the Gordon Motor Company with his sons Warren and Harker.

OK then! ☺ 

Larry and I both wondered about the "rube band" from Little Falls who were part of the parade: there are videos on Youtube featuring rube bands, usually people dressed as silly as possible while still playing pretty  Maybe, on occasions when the whole band couldn't make a parade or when the celebration wasn't some big deal, they'd gather the band members who COULD make it.  If they were dressed goofy it meant you couldn't expect good music from em, I suppose.
In the cache of black and white pictures I inherited when mom died, I've often puzzled over the three below.  They're almost certainly men dressed for some goofy occasion, like a parade, and the car would have been part of it too.  Anybody recognize that face? (Or those butts??)


  1. did you transplant your face ontwo of them? Otherwise they are Rosie..............

  2. And I think he looks more like Uncle Math ☺

    I remember seeing an even "worse" pic with guys (one was dad, for sure) dressed in dresses and big hats, with huge boobs and butts and a lot of gawd-awful make-up, but I don't know what happened to it. I think Curly said it was for a parade in Buckman...?
    Anyway, someone thought THIS guy was "pretty" even without makeup, huh?