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, January 23, 2012

The Searles in central Minnesota

5th Ave South in St Cloud, 1907.  The Grand Central Hotel is on the corner.  The present  D.B.Searles
restaurant building  is the one with the open white awning.

Since 1978, there's been a restaurant in downtown St Cloud called D. B. Searles, named because it's in the building Dolson Bush Searle and his partner Thomas C. McClure built to house their law offices about 1883.  (The restaurant might have been called McClures, except that Thomas died before the building was finished).   (BTW, the link has a lot more history about the building).

So, I've been aware of the Searle name for years.  Then, when Larry and I started perusing plat maps from Morrison county, I recognized the Searle name there, especially since it occurred so often.

1892 plat book--a tiny example
of what O.O.Searle owned.
In the 1892 Morrison Co plat book (from the newly remodeled website Minnesota Reflections), we found a land speculator by the name of  O.O. Searle who owned over 2,800 acres in the two townships directly west of Little Falls--Pike Creek and Culdrum.  However, by the next platbook, in 1902, I saw only two 40 acre plots owned by O.O. Searle.  

So WHO was O.O.Searle?

I assumed he was D.B.s dad, or for sure, a relative.  The only O.O. Searle I could find in censuses around that time was an Olaf O Searle, in Hennepin county.  He was born in Norway in 1860, and was 20 years younger than DB.

Looking in old newspapers at Chronicling America from the Library of Congress, we found an O.O. Searle buying up land in Princeton, Mn in 1894.  Also, he was listed having delinquent taxes on 5-6 pieces of land in 1897, 1898, 1899 and 1900 (Princeton, Milaca, Bogus Brook and Borgholm) and he lost parcels in Mille Lacs county  in 1900 cuz the taxes for 1895 remained unpaid.   It was probably not worth keeping track of EVERY parcel he'd bought, huh?

We found this ad repeated many times in Seattle papers at the turn of that century.  
But  Larry also found  this article, in a Maryland newspaper in 1897:
Larry realized  Olaf O Searle was our man.  Read these articles he found, and be startled by how diverse OOs interests were!
From an 1893 book called "History of the Scandinavians and
Successful Scandinavians in the United States" 

Sept 1896 St Paul Globe article.  The railroad was the other owner of large tracts of land  "in the vicinity of Little Falls".  Wow, OO was a promoter as well as a speculator.
 DAMN, he was having FUN!
(Oh, and Larry says an 'encampment' was a reunion of Civil War soldiers--possibly at Camp Ripley).
1905--The area mentioned here was Lake Minnetonka, and its layers of affluence.   Readers knew the relative difference between a cottage on Crystal Bay, the Big Island, the north shore or "his island place".  Whew.  On this page--we're talking hubris:

1905--This odd clipping could only have been submitted by one person, doncha think? ☺

1897--Oh, oh, OO!  Obviously, this didn't deter his career in banking.
But who knows--maybe he and his boss were more law abiding afterwards...?

We found Olaf O. Searle in the 1885 Minnesota census, one of eight Searles, from 12 to 40 years old, maybe sibs?  O.O. was 25.  By the 1900 census, he's living in Hennepin co with his wife Dagmar and 10 year old son Olaf.  In the 1905 Minnesota census, he's living in Orono, Mn with Dagmar and 15 year old son Ralph ☺.  This would have been OOs "100 acres on Big Island", in Lake Minnetonka.  But by the 1920 census, he's 60, and divorced, living in a boarding house in Hennepin co.  I'd love to know the rest of his story, but so far, that's it.  BTW, we're pretty sure he wasn't related to DB... 
 OK, I can imagine you wondering why we would bother with these characters on a blog devoted to HESCH history.  What did either of the Searles have to do with our family?
Probably nothing.  I expect our greats and grands stuck pretty much to low-key German businessmen when they "had dealings" in town.  But the idea that there were others--far-thinking  lawyers, hustlers, entrepreneurs, bankers and con-men--working the territory at the same time tickles me.  I mean, the people who came to settle the area weren't all self-effacing, honest, industrious, hardworking farmers ☺.  You have more of the story of settling central Minnesota when you throw them all together.

Still, what do Larry and I get out of this?  We talk about it often.  Partly, we're building a sort of 'atmosphere' of the times; what the ancestors had to deal with daily helps us understand them better, and still realizing they were just human, exactly like us.  
There's an adage that as long as someone remembers you, you're not really dead.
Hesch History is our small attempt at remembering.

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