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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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Bunny hunting

One subject mentioned casually and often in the Pierz Journal and Little Falls papers around the turn of the last century was Rabbit Hunting.  At first, I thought it was just for sport, since they seemed to count them for bragging rights.  It seems the best hunting was in the winter when their fur was white, altho these clippings sound like they were sold to meat markets (I suppose you'd trap them rather than shoot em if you were selling the fur). HERE'S the difference between jack rabbits and cottontails, for your next water cooler chat.  You're welcome.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Basket socials

I've heard the term "basket social" all my life, but never paid much attention to what it meant.  I knew it was a "Music Man" era kind of thing--a popular early 1900's fund raisers.  According to write ups in the Pierz Journal and Little Falls Herald, basket or box socials were a great way to meet, flirt, and socialize with the opposite sex, and only incidentally to make some cash for a worthy cause. So how did it work? 

Evidently, the girls made up 'anonymous' picnic baskets with dinner for two, trying to make them as irresistible as possible.  The baskets would be auctioned off to the highest bidder, and he would not only win the basket, but the right to eat with the girl who donated it.  No doubt much giggling ensued.  Hey, it actually sounds like fun! 

So, here's just one report of a successful event at St Michaels church in Buckman, in 1911.  (Looks like everyone knew that Pauline Beka and John Schmolke were already 'an item' ☺).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What farmers knew

From the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper in 1916:  I don't recognize Alfred Vivian's name or his pic, but I clipped the article because of the doggerel there called The Wise Farmer.  Was that info common knowledge back then, or was this a really helpful article? 

Buffalo Frank PR in the Little Falls Herald

Frank, but maybe not
'Buffalo' Frank (?)

We've mentioned the Otremba buffalo herd here before. Ok, yes, often. But you know us by now--we practically never drop something ☺. What's confused us mostly is that every Otremba family had multiple kids, and  in the best German tradition, they all used the same names over and over, so each Frank had a son named Frank, seems like.   (Don't believe me?  Of the (incomplete) Otrembas on my tree there are 3 kids named Agnes, 7 named Anna, 3 Anton or Anthony, 5 named August, 6 Karl or Charles, 7 named Frank, 10 Johann or John, 7 Josephs and 10 Marys, among other names ☺).

However, THIS Frank Otremba was born in Groditz, Tillowitz, Schleisen, Prussia on the 11th of October, 1844. He was the son of Johann Georg Otremba who died when Frank was 3. How does he connect to our Mary Otremba, the wife of Paul Hesch? Well, Frank's brother Anton was Mary's father, so 
Buffalo Frank was Mary's uncle.

Thank you,!

(Was there really a guy name EZMark?? ☺)
Frank's return on the dollar wasn't great, but the fun of 
owning buffalo evidently was.

Now.  We know (or are pretty sure) exactly who Buffalo Frank was, right?  When we started seeing references to Buffalo Joe, tho, I figured this Joe was probably Frank's son and bison heir.  If a reader knows different, let me know, ok?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Epic Genealogy in Indianapolis

Found this cute filler story in the Little Falls Herald in 1902.  I (of course) doubted the veracity of the author regarding the people mentioned, so I looked 'em up.   
Ah-ha. They were real: Daniel P.Erwin and his daughter Hanna appeared in the 1900 Indianapolis census.  Demia B. Townley and her older brother Morris lived with their parents George and Alice.  She was 20 when she married Daniel Erwin in April 1901.  He was 57.

The census says D.P. was a hotel proprietor , George Townley was a grain merchant,  and Morris was a lawyer.  

D.P. and Demia did indeed have the son mentioned in the last paragraph there, born in 1903.  Daniel Peart Erwin evidently liked to travel because the next entries on Family Search are from trips to Europe he made in 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930 and 1933.

Hmm.  I might be one of the "women who take delight in figuring out the various relationships", huh? 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A 1912 Who's Who in Buckman

On October 15, 1912, Peter Beka and Elizabeth Dengel were married in Buckman, Minnesota, with a full compliment of friends and relatives attending. About 100 years later, their niece Liz Mueller identified some of the people who were there.
(If you recall, we originally IDd this photo as Nick Mueller and Lena Dengel, but according to this, the happy couple is Peter and Liz.  Ahh, yes!  There are Nick and Lena as guests, on the left.  They were married 5 years earlier, in 1907).
You'll be able to sleep tonight after all.
Surnames mentioned on the pic include Braun, Beka, Stepan, Denzen, Suess, Kappes, Schmolke, Kelzenberg, Theis, Hurrle, Sitzman, Brausen, Breigenzer, Kuesel, Hortsch, Gashott, Pansky and Vierk as well as Muellers and Dengels. 
(I know you can read em when you click the pic, but this way, they're google-able, natch ☺).
I love that we can find the original news clipping about it, too!

The Henry Dengel family:
It's obvious these two photos were taken on the same day.  
They're all there in the group pic, see?

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Wanna get married?" They all said "Kay" ☺

                                                       No, there's no relationship with us and the Kay family of Little Falls--but the wedding and write up from the Little Falls Herald reminded me of this pic from the Morrison Co Atlas, and it's cool to put them together here for posterity, and because I can ☺ (I was sure this was already posted, but I can't find it).  So here's the story: siblings Gertrude, Clarabel, George and Lloyd Kay were married on the same day at the same time in June, 1912.  The write-up sounds lovely, and certainly, the pic above is memorable.  Oh, and here's the 1910 census of the George Kay family--there were plenty more kids available for future weddings, not to worry.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What's a Calathumpian?

I love this:  I was perusing the Little Falls Herald newspaper this morning (while this soup cooked). I was using the search words "Otremba" and "buffalo".  I found a few clippings that I'll save for another post, but yes, Frank had a buffalo head stuffed and mounted in 1903, just so ya know.

Anyway, this particular issue was from July 3rd, 1903, and along with a mention of the dances that would take place in Hartmanns new building on the north end of Pierz and at Blakes hall on the south end, I found this description of the plans for the fourth in Little Falls.  Read thru it--our ancestors really knew how to whoop it up... ☺
 But see the word "calathumpians" there? A word used so casually that most readers must have known what it  meant, and WE have never heard it before?  This merits some investigating, especially since there were separate prizes for them (or offered by them?) after the parade.  
Calathumpians--Hmm...there were lots of related meanings, depending on your point of view, but they all seem to be based on a "word derived from the Latin “calathus” meaning a rubbish bin"; a group loosely organized around political, philosophical or religious ideals not generally accepted by the public.  There seemed to be something of the silly-musical involved, too, because the one photo I found (from Dundas, Ontario) shows men dressed as women and holding odd instruments along with a facetious political sign.
Ahhh...this concept seems pretty familiar for our relatives, doesn't it.  I doubt if dad ever said the word, but certainly, he and his friends dressed up like this for parades 30 years later. Let's all see if we can work the word into a conversation this week, ok? ☺
Reference pages:  HERE...........and HERE.  TeeHee.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Those last two rows of corn...

It's (just barely) October in Minnesota.  The corn harvest around St Joe started last week, and I noticed, in passing the same field a few times, that they'd left two rows of corn standing.  
I've wondered about this for about fifteen YEARS, honest.  I've asked former farmers what was going on, and never got an answer.  Was it to feed wild deer or provide cover for pheasants, maybe?  (Never get a chance to ask a current farmer--they're too busy).  But this week, I asked my favorite retired farmer client about it.  He's in hospice, and isn't always lucid, but when I go sit with him, I try to talk about normal, everyday stuff as a respite from "how are you?" Plus, I actually wanted to know.
He said, quite clearly, that the first fields harvested are the fields that didn't turn out--corn that dried out and never formed cobs.  They leave two rows so the crop insurance adjuster can see what it looked like.  Then he went back to sleep with a pleased grin on his face that matched mine.  Cool, huh?

Friday, September 26, 2014

St Cloud, Minnesota, in 1866

 Evidently, a small town newspaper in 1866 didn't have enough real news to fill all four pages.  This teaser is from an inside page of the St Cloud Democrat of August 16, 1866.  Most of the front page, four of seven columns,  was business ads, with the article mentioned taking all of the sixth column.

 It's interesting to read a contemporary view of the mostly unsettled St Cloud area 11 years after statehood. In context, Paul Hesch wouldn't arrive here for another 3 years, but the Otrembas already had their soddy built on the prairie near Pierz.
 I captured the article in chunks knowing you wouldn't bother to read it if you had to fuss...☺

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Doing a History Report for School?

When I have an hour or two to do some aimless exploring online, I often browse old magazines at  It's partly for the illustrations, and partly for stuff that might fit here on Hesch History.  Every time I do, I'm struck by the incredible information in those articles.  Then, it was Current Affairs, but now, it's American and World History.

We've found information about engines, ocean liners, how they built cars and canals, Oh, wow stuff, the cattle market, where fruit was grown, J.J.Hill, Westinghouse, the salt industry, locomotives, skyscrapers, J.P.Morgan, his railroads and steel plants, how mines worked, pictures that talk, as well as ideas that didn't work out so hot. These all came from Technical World, the forerunner of Popular Mechanics magazine, but there are lots of other magazines digitized there, all searchable by title or keyword or year.  
The Library of Congress has digitized newspapers from towns around the country (1836-1922), so there are historical accounts there, too. If you're looking for local history, try Minnesota Reflections, where you'll find the Pierz Journal (among other papers).

These websites are too good a resource to ignore, and the school year is just beginning.  You're welcome!