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.

: : : : : : : : : : : :

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Probably the last shot of the 1940 Pierz war games

 Remember these photos of local boys pretending to "help" soldiers?  It was a charming human interest story from Pierz, Minnesota, in August, 1940.  When we first posted em, I mused about WHO the kids were, and through the Morrison County Historical Society blog, we found out the identity of one of em!  See the blonde kid?    He was Melvin Grell, whose dad was Joseph Grell, a long time merchant in town.  Click each pic to enlarge, ok?
We'll do a post about Joe soon, so you can stop worrying about it.

When we were researching the pics late in 2010, we didn't recognize many Pierz names.  The Pierz Journals weren't online yet then, so even if we'd known the kids' names (shoulder shrug) it wouldn't have made much difference. However, when we get going on a story....well, you know how it is...
Anyway, the pics are only tangentially what this post's on:

The war games held in Morrison Co that summer simply couldn't happen now.  The Red and Blue armies made up of the fourth army from Minnesota, Kansas and Nebraska, started near Mille Lacs Lake.  The object was to "capture" Camp Ripley (about 40 miles away).  Farmers gave permission (some reluctantly) for the army's use of their land, and towns were warned. Maneuvers were six days long, and then both armies went home.  
Two months later, in October, 1940, some kids east of Pierz found a bullet in the ditch across from their farm.  Boys being boys, they wanted to see what it could do.  They took it in the house to see if it'd fit in their dads' gun, but the shell was too big, so they went to the garage and put it in a vise.  Three brothers, ages 11, 9 and 7, plus a 30 year old neighbor and relative watched as the 11 year old hit the thing with a hammer and punch.  It exploded (even blanks have gun powder inside) and casing pieces hit the 9 year old in the right eye.  
When their parents came home an hour and a half later, Gerald was rushed to the hospital in Little Falls, where the doctor removed his eye.

We know all this cuz there are documents and newspaper articles online that our master researcher found.  In addition, Larry saved these articles that shed a lot more light on the political situation in Pierz then.  They're definitely worth a read!

No comments:

Post a Comment