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, July 30, 2011

Louis Hesch's wife Maria

In 1920, in Santa Fe New Mexico, there was an eight year old named Louis Hesch.   His parents were William and Teresita Hesch.  He had two brothers, Ruben and William, who were 9 and 10 years old.
  We're pretty sure William came from the German Hesch family who settled in Bruce, Ontario, Canada.
Eventually, Louis would marry a local woman named Mary Conklin.  

In the fall of 1943, a recruiter hired Louis Hesch to work as a drafter on a secret project in Los Alamos.

His wife Mary would become [for a time] the personal secretary to Enrico Fermi.  The pair [as well as everyone who worked at Los Alamos] were told not to talk to anyone about their work. 
Wait, here's an article Larry found that tells more about her (Louis is on his own):

Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan 24, 1997

Maria Hesch called the paintings she did late in her life primitives, likening her work to that of Grandma Moses, because "her paintings tell stories,'' Hesch said in 1985.Telling stories was what Hesch wanted to do.She found it easier to speak through her paintings.

"She could paint the stories with more feeling than she could tell them,'' said her daughter, Bernice Chavez. Hesch, who died in 1994 at the age of 85, spent most of her life in Santa Fe, with the exception of a several years during World War II. 
Her narrative folk paintings speak of her childhood, about the history of Santa Fe that she lived, about places and events very dear to her heart. Most of the paintings were produced in the '80s, and spoke of a Santa Fe that she saw quickly changing.
Hesch's primitives cover the spectrum of seasons, from the fall harvest in Velarde to the Baile de los Cascarones at Easter time. They depict annual events such as decorations day at the cemeteries to food preparation for fiestas.
Taken as a whole, the series of 30 paintings illustrates Hispanic life and customs in the earlier part of this century in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico. An exhibition of 20 of Hesch's narrative folk paintings opens with a reception from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Museum of International Folk Art's Hispanic Heritage Wing.
A book based on Maria's paintings...available on Amazon.
Accompanying the paintings are short narratives written by Hesch.....'Spring Housecleaning' is a painting set inside the patio of Hesch's grandfather's house, which once stood on San Francisco Street near today's Vanessie restaurant. There was nothing between her grandfather's house and the Guadalupe Church across the Santa Fe River except her grandfather's alfalfa fields.In the painting are various people performing what was once an annual spring activity involving entire families and some hired help.Under the porch is a woman washing windows. Another woman washes the lace curtains and dries them on a stretcher so they won't have to be ironed. A boy beats on the carpets that are hung on the clothesline.
Hesch's sister, Josephine, is shown carrying water from the acequia.The mattresses are outside being aired, and little children crawl inside them to pull the wool out to be washed.
"Oh, they used to throw everything out and clean it furniture and everything!'' Hesch said in a 1985 interview. Hesch even included herself in the painting.
"I'm that little girl there playing in the ditch,'' she said. "I was the youngest and that's all I was good for!''.....Halford, who is a Santa Fe santera, said she and Hesch spent many hours together at Spanish Market selling their art. Over the years, the two became close friends.  
Hesch didn't begin to paint, however, until the 1950s when her children were almost grown. Her artistic outlet until that time had been primarily her embroidery and colcha work. Colcha is a traditional decorative stitchery that can be traced back to Spanish colonial altar cloths.  "She taught me how to do colcha,'' Halford said.  "She said to me one time,  "Why don't you make colcha?' And I said, `No, I don't have time to do one other thing'. I was too busy, you know. And she said, `You'll make the time.' Just like that, kind of bossy".  "Then she'd make the arrangements. "You come to my house at this time and I'll show you how to make colcha.' She was always teaching people,'' Halford said. 
Chavez believes that when her mother was a little girl growing up on San Francisco Street, she spent a great deal of time alone, playing make-believe by the irrigation ditch in her grandfather's back yard.
Hesch's father, James Conklin, III, died when Hesch was very young. Her mother, Peregrina Campbell Hesch, was forced to work outside the home to make a living....
...Her architectural drawing skills and her ability to deal with perspective, for example, developed from her service to her country during World War II. 
When the war broke out, Hesch had been married to her longtime sweetheart Louis Hesch for 10 years. They were in the midst of raising two children, Bernice and Victor, and Louis Hesch was working for the state's Highway Department. Louis was sent to Las Cruces to teach engineering and drafting for the war effort.
"Just on a lark, my mom took a class with him in drafting,'' Chavez said. "Then shortly after that, my dad got drafted and was sent to Los Alamos. It ended up that my mother could get a job up there, too, since she had taken this class in drafting.''  
The draftspeople were given disconnected bits and pieces of something much larger and very secret to work on, and after the war, the Hesches found out that they had worked on the casing for the atomic bomb.``When they found out what they were doing, it bothered both of them,'' Chavez said....After the war, the family moved back to Santa Fe. With her children practically grown, Hesch continued teaching herself art through her job at Santa Fe Book and Stationery Company. That was when, as Hesch said in 1985, "I got the nerve to start.''...... One of Hesch's legendary characteristics was her generosity....Chavez said her mother's most productive years were in the 1970s and '80s. By that time, she was in her 60s and 70s and known for her colcha work but she had developed a market for her landscapes...."She had her own following in her primitives,'' said her daughter. In fact, she had a hard time keeping up with the demand for her work...  "I think she was concerned about lost traditions in Santa Fe,'' Halford said. "She did the primitives because she wanted to keep it going, that way of life,'' Chavez said.  "Santa Fe is changing so fast. That was one of her big regrets, that some of the old ways were changing. She wanted to keep Santa Fe alive through her (paintings).  
"When they hang these primitives on the wall, these oldtimers will come to see it. They'll go home to their grandkids and say, `Go see this, because what I'm talking about is up there on the wall.'''

COOL, huh?  

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