A family story we heard from Roger about Heschs in Waumandee, Wisconsin was that Mathias Hesch wasn't allowed to marry Agnes Trachowsky in Bohemia, and that they had to come here to marry. I assumed it had to do with their nationalities--she was Czech, he was Austrian--people who traditionally didn't get along over there. But now, looking closely at these two parts of the same ships list Larry found, there's a sweetly different reason evident:
On June 4th, 1869, the SS Ohio arrived in Baltimore with the Trachowsky family from Bohemia. The parents were Thomas, 45, and Elizabeth, 41. There were five children: Agnes, 16, Franz, 9, Maria, 4, Theresia, 3 months, and Elisa, 19. The disparity in ages intrigued me for some time--was Elizabeth Thomas' second wife? And, was Elisa maybe Theresia's mom? Pure speculation, except that Elisa here is certainly the one found in California in 1892.This page was discovery enough for me, but Larry thought like a young man in love and searched every page of that ships list to find...YES...here he is ☺:
Sure, the name's wrong (Anton, not Mathias). Maybe Mathias tried to be incognito on board. Thomas would have been pretty protective of his daughters on a crowded ship, and perhaps in his mind the biggest threat was left behind in Europe. Cuz look--Agnes was only 16, and "Anton"--well, he was lying about his age--he was actually 20.
In any event, maybe Thomas found out about Aggies' suitor being onboard--because once they arrived in Wisconsin, Mathias worked for a farmer in the next town, according to the 1870 census, and the lovebirds were STILL not married until 1879.
Half the fun of genealogy is speculating about stuff like this, right?
Added in March, 2013:
WOW! We just heard from Mathias' great grandson, John, who says that their family too had a stow-away legend--about MATHIAS. Since we've found that family stories are usually true in some way, it'd make sense if brothers Paul and Mathias left together. Maybe Anton, listed above, was really a cousin and really 18...and maybe Mathias was hidden until the ship was in international waters, but my prob with both legends is the obvious: the authorities could add. They knew an 18 year old would be 20 soon, and they were well aware of who comprised every family because of the seigneurial (landowner) record keeping system. In other words, if the authorities WANTED to keep young men in Bohemia, they would have.
Here's what John found online re: the conscription laws in Prussia when Paul and Mathias left--
"Under the von Roon Reforms passed in 1867, the conscript's service started on 1 January of the year in which the individual completed his 20th year, and was to last for seven years from the date of enlistment. Of this seven years, only three were served with the colors (unless the conscript was a cavalryman and then it was four years) with the remainder being spent with the regular army reserve. After the seven years was completed, the soldier passed to the Landwehr lists where his name remained for a further five years for a total of I2 years."
Oh, but the government didn't conscript every 20 year old. This was a lottery system where you became eligible January 1st of your 20th year and every year after that--so you waited with a sword over your head, not marrying, not having children....THAT would have been an awful twelve year bellyache.
THANKS to cousin JOHN ☺