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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Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Schmolke Chronology

Two thoughts:
(1)  We imagine the folks who settled around Buckman as all nose-to-the-grindstone, don't-make-waves types...but NOOOO...some were scofflaws, and colorful to boot.....and (2) wow, there's so much to learn here, I don't know where to begin!

Ok, remember the genealogy message board quote from a few days ago about what happened to Eulogius Schmolke?  A family member wrote

".... I have been doing some research into the family tree and it was my understanding that Eloguis was sent to Minnesota around 1918 with the purpose of buying some land, for the family to move to. The family never heard from him again"....

Well, we found him, led there by a few interesting newspaper articles from 1925--1935--1945.

These two items were picked up from the AP because of the "mother of 18" angle, no doubt.  Remember, Prohibition in the United States was 1920-1933, so by 1925, rural families were...realizing their potential, you might say.  (It's funny--moonshining was a real secret then.  I've talked with adult kids who still think their dads had the ONLY hidden stills around Buckman, when actually, almost every farmer cooked...but no one talked about it).
So, a farm family with 18 kids to feed?  Oh, yeah.
But see? Dad was incarcerated first for 3 months, then once he was out, Mom served her time...a nice arrangement that just barely kept them off the county.  
When you think about it, the most probable moonshiners were  hardscrabble families.  If you were prosperous, you didn't need the money or the trouble.  Poorer families saw a fairly easy way to make some cash, only requiring stealth and secrecy.  I'd think hiding your still and besting the feds was thrilling and fun, as well.  We know that, by 1930, going to prison for moonshining was considered kinda cool, and wasn't a black mark on a man's character any longer.

Montana's take on the story was more irreverent:
"MA OF 18 KIDS TO GO UP AS 'SHINER by Associated Press Duluth, Minn., Feb. 10--Mrs. Elizabeth Schmolke, 55, wife of a Morrison county farmer, and mother of 18 children, must spend three months in the county jail and pay a fine of $400 dollars for violating the liquor laws, Judge W.A.Cant ruled in sentencing the woman in federal court today"

But here we have a different ballgame.  It's 1935 and Prohibition ended in 1933.  What were they doing?


Mrs. Elizabeth Schmolke, a matron of the territory a few miles south of Pine Center and a mother of 18 children, was given a suspended sentence in federal court in Duluth for possession of untaxed liquor yesterday, according to advices from Duluth.
The aged matron appeared before Judge Robert C. Bell on the liquor charges, sobbing as she faced the judge.
Judge Bell told her that "because of the trying life you have lived I'm going to give you one more chance".  He then placed her on probation for two years and gave her a suspended sentence of six months. 
"Go home and tell your husband to quit selling liquor", said Judge Bell.  "Try to make a living without violating the law".

The aged woman and her husband operate a small tourist store north of Hillman and just over the Crow Wing county line in Morrison county.  Only one of their 18 children now lives with them in the small apartment at the rear of the store building.  She state to federal authorities that she and her husband had not exchanged a word in the past three years, so how she was to follow the admonition of the judge remained a mystery.
For 17 years, Mr and Mrs Schmolke and their children operated an 800 acre farm in Canada, and then farmed 360 acres in the southwestern part of Crow Wing county.  The husband has been arrested twice for alleged liquor law violations of a prohibition law, officials said.  Mrs. Schmolke is the real mother of 14 of the children and stepmother of the other four."

 The "aged matron" was only 65, and it's interesting that Frederick Schmolke was never mentioned by name. 
Some facts:
Fred Schmolke and Elizabeth* Jendro were married in 1896*. The 1900 census in Buckman township showed Fred and Elizabeth with the first three of their mutual kids plus 4 more.
MUCH LATER: A Schmolke relative emailed to say some of that is wrong--she said 
"I have their marriage record from Little Falls archives....The application says Fred Schmalke and Louisa* Jendro, both of Morrison Co., Minnesota and is dated 14 Nov. 1894. The license says Fred Schmolka and Louisa Jendro; granted at Little Falls on 14 Nov 1894. The priest's report says *26 Nov 1894, Frederick Schmolka,and Elizabeth Jendro, Swan River Township, witnesses Charles Schmolka
and Albert Jendro.
Their daughter, Alvina (my mother), said Fred used to call Elizabeth "Leesa" which would be a short version of the German pronunciation of Elisabeth. This would explain the "Louisa" that the recorder" [enumerator ]" thought he heard".  THANKS, Nancy!

  They probably left for Canada in about 1903.  We know that Fred's brother John owned land in Canada, so that's probably how they got the 800 acre gig. 

They reappeared in Morrison co in the 1920 census (Richardson township, NE of Hillman) with 7 kids--->

 Larry found that they were Naturalized as American citizens in Illinois in 1944, but I suppose they'd become Canadian citizens when they lived there.  Maybe Illinois was the nearest office...

OKAY, back to their son Eulogius and what happened to him. 
"Eloguis was sent to Minnesota around 1918 with the purpose of buying some land, for the family to move to"...which meant that he was sent from the farm in Canada back to Minnesota!  Evidently, he got as far as the next little town, because on his Canadian draft form he said he lived in Ryley, Alberta and his dad lived in Holden...maybe 10 miles apart.
(BTW, Larry found all this last night!  WOW!)    
But look how he spelled his name: EOLOGURE--no wonder.  It was different enough from his birth name, but did the new spelling loose any records for him?

This morning, I thought to search Find a Grave for a Schmolke death in Canada....and there he was.  There's no explanation for how he drowned in eastern Canada 17 years later, but at least we know that he didn't die in WWI, or just disappear.

A few more facts:
 Frederick Schmolke was the son of Jacob Schmolke and Catherine Mischke and was a brother of Buckman's most illustrious citizen, John.
Fred died in May 1945 in Minneapolis and was buried at Bull Dog Lake, Minnesota.

Elizabeth (Jendro) Schmolke lived 13 years beyond Fred, dying in Crow Wing county in 1958 at the age of 88.  She's most likely buried with Fred.  
I wonder, did they ever start speaking to each other after 1935?
Eternity is a long time...