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, September 3, 2011

Dad in Sicily

Dad's cousin Louise called the other night to offer this article from WWII (THANKS, Louise!).   She didn't know what year (c. 1943, I think), and we didn't talk about what paper it's from, tho the Pierz Journal or Little Falls Transcript are good bets.  She'd been going thru her scrapbooks, and we benefited ☺.

"PFC Mike Hesch writes from Sicily that the people there look like Peter the Tramp of cartoon fame and describes their utter poverty. The people have no stoves, cooking over a stone fireplace.  Their diet is mostly eggs, black bread and goats milk cheese which he says tastes and smells like an old billy goat.  There are no fences and cows are kept from straying by tying their front legs together and pigs have tethers around their necks.  Farmers work the ground with wooden plows pulled by oxen.  Mike's brother is stationed on Attu in the Aleutians.  They are sons of Mr and Mrs A.A. Hesch of Buckman."
Sounds heartbreaking, but dad knew about no money and making do...
Of course, I had to look for "Peter the Tramp" cartoons online, but the only reference I found was a Greta Garbo movie by that name, from 1922.  Definitely not a cartoon, and the descriptions of the movie didn't sound like a poverty situation, so maybe dad's 'tramp' was a more local cartoon?

Added later:  Larry knew to try PETE THE TRAMP, and of course, he found pictures. (Lookit those pants--they're still familiar these days, huh?)  THANKS, Larry! 

And then, which brother was stationed in the Aleutians?  Henry and Ted were enlisted men...was Matt?  I'll have to check with Uncle Tony. Added later:  Uncle Ted served in the Aluetians,  on Attu. Uncle Matt wasn't in the service, but yes, Uncle Henry was. 
I expect they picked men from northern states for duty on Attu, huh?
Here's a link briefly explaining the Aleutians' part in WWII, and yes, Attu IS the farthest west island off Alaska.  A website called The Forgotten Theater is much more in-depth, and includes this map:
(Just think of all the extra stuff we've learned here by being Heschs!)
(For more info, check the comments from Deborah, a Sand relative.  
WAY cool!)


  1. Marlys,
    This is amazing. i live on Kodiak Island and the island was essentially the staging site for the Aleutian Campaign.

    Here is a link to the Kodiak Military history website:

    And here is the map page:

    Everywhere in my neighborhood are remnants of the Quonset huts. Here is a map of Bell’s Flats. The roads are the same and I drive by Lake Orbin everyday:

    It is mind-boggling to think a relative of mine may have spent time on Kodiak during the war. I will await more info from your Uncle Tony!

  2. Oh yes! Check out the book “The 1,000 Mile War”