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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Friday, January 25, 2013

What's a snath?

In a June, 1912 issue of the Pierz Journal this ad for Jacob Neisius' store puzzled me.  I know what a scythe is cuz dad had one, but the word snath is totally new to me.  Still, it would have been in the vernacular of our farmer-ancestors, so....I googled it ☺.

Turns out they're still sold--'snath'  refers to the handle of the scythe, I think, and whether or not it's the right length for you is important. 

 I assume that most farmers had horse-drawn hay mowers but that a scythe was needed on smaller or less accessible areas on the farm...or if you couldn't afford a mower. More pics and explanations HERE from the Oliver Kelley farm in Elk River, Mn....where the pic below is from.
For sure, mowing a field with a scythe would be tedious and slow, but just watch the rhythm this man sets up, out there in the sunshine, with birdsong and the breeze.  He has time for contemplation, I think.

The Jacob Neisius Store was shown here on the right.
It's the store with the awning.

Yay!  Heinz from Austria wrote this morning.  He says fields of hay were cut by up to 30 men abreast (at least that's what google translated).  I know it was work, and pretty soon your muscles would burn, but the idea of so many people working together, the smell of fresh hay, 
 and the soft swoosh sounds made by...well, no wonder they were called 'scythes'.
Danke, Heinz!

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