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, August 21, 2014

Integument means the top of the head...

If Larry and I don't obsess about this, who will?
Remember this from May 2011?  (With a follow-up post from the next January, too).  It's the painting that was purchased for St Michael's Church in Buckman when it was new, in 1903.  We believe parishioners who came from Silesia (Poland) ordered it from artists at St Annaburg, and that Fr Bernard Richter (from Melrose, Mn) brought it home from his trip to Europe in 1905.     I printed it off that spring and showed it to a few of my old German Catholic clients.  Given that the painting most likely hasn't been cleaned since its arrival, and that this is a terribly discolored photo taken at an angle and straightened with Photoshop, my clients still gave it a shot.  As to what Mike's holding up there, one looked at it and said, "Looks like a scalp to me"....and whew, you know, we think she was right.    (Why have YOU never seen it?  At first, I think it hung in the vestibule, and then spent years frightening kids in the crying room at St Michael's, now it hangs overhead in the stairwell of the new hall.  Look up and to the left as you enter).
We were/are wondering mostly about the object St Michael is holding in his raised right hand. Suggestions (fire, a rag, a fish) don't make sense even if the artist was trying to spoof those Auswanderers in Amerika.  Was he being clever, or was he trying to show the Otrembas that he kept up on the news? 
"Tu dźgnąć em, ale w Ameryce, to shoot em i odcięte włosy"  ("Here, we stab em, but in America, they shoot em and cut off their hair"..)?

  The illustrations below very likely made it to newspapers and books in Europe--people there had to be aware of what their departed family members were allegedly facing in the new world.    

Look at the classic stance of all four main figures, including Wild Bill Cody, practically yelling, "This'll teach em!"

And if St Michael's right hand was important in the painting, how come all three victors here are holding the fresh scalps in their left hands?  I doubt it's an accidental placement, but maybe it's just that you mostly wield a knife with your right hand.

Where do you hang a painting in a church? Especially if it's an embarrassing painting or poorly done, and the donor is a proud church member?  A place was found for it, and then it was forgotten till well after the donors death.  It's still St Michael, but gawd, it's still ugly...sigh.   

BTW, great pics found online by...yup, Larry ☺

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