Sunday, December 14, 2014

Meeting Bruce and Effie Saxe

Bruce Saxe made a contact about a blog I had written that included information about the Hungarian village of Mönchhof.  My Grandfather, Frank Schotl, immigrated from there.  You can read that blog (here).  Today Mönchhof  is a municipality in the district of Neusiedl in Burgenland, Austria.   It is the oldest wine-growing town in Austria.

Bruce  wrote: "I googled Monchhoff, Austria because I was looking up my family's history  and ran into your blog. In reading your blog your family came from Monchhoff and lived in Columbus Township. My family lived next to the Kunshiers and came from Monchhoff.  I have a ton of information and knew the Kunshiers. If you get this, please email me back and we can talk about a lot of things. I was born and raised in Forest Lake on the same farm next to your family. Thank you, hope I hear from you." Bruce

Shan and I were able to schedule a meeting with Bruce and his wife Effie at the Crossings by GrandStay Motel in Cambridge, Minnesota. We were still slamming down some breakfast when they arrived with maps, books and other reference works.  Cousin Jim Kunshier was able to join us and we heard Bruce and Effie's stories and pored over their materials.  One of the interesting items they brought was a large 1888 Anoka County Map.  It had the listings for two Kunshier farms. 

One of the books was  Reflections of Forest Lake written in 1993 by Elsie Vogel and published by the Forest Lake Centennial Association.  Starting in 1978 Elsie penned a feature column in the Forest Lake Times called "Reflections". The name of the column was incorporated as the title of her historical book written for the Centennial in 1993. Bruce was able to track down a copy and graciously sent it to us shortly after our meeting. Thanks Bruce.

Bruce's grandfather Johann "John" Carl Saxe was born on April 1, 1893 in Mönchhof, Austria. He emigrated to America in 1902 and married Katherine Elizabeth Heller. 

The Saxes, Hellers, and Sanftners are all on the list of "Burgenlanders living in Columbus Township" that Shan prepared.  I included it in an earlier blog which you can see (here).

According to the 1930 Federal Census, John and Katherine lived with their daughter Margaret, son Stanley, and John's brother, Joseph, on their farm in Columbus Township, Anoka County.  Their property was adjacent  to Katherine's parent's former home which, in 1932, was occupied and farmed by Katherine's brother Joseph.  At the time, some of my Kunshier grand aunts and grand uncles still owned farms nearby. 

Detail of Columbus Township, Anoka County in 1932

Shan pointed out that the two 40 acre parcels on the left side, of what was called Schotl Road in the 1910 Federal Census, were owned by Math Schotl (blue highlight).  The two 80 acre parcels on the right side of the road had been the original Heller farms owned by Anton and Joseph Heller.  The yellow highlight indicates extant Kunshier farms in 1914. 

Detail of Columbus Township, Anoka County in 1914

Bruce Saxe was born in 1949.  His parents were Stanley John Saxe  (1927-1995) and Yvonne Lorraine Pedley (1929-2012). His siblings; Stephen "Pete", Robyn, John, and Julie.

Effie Saxe

He graduated from Forest Lake High School and married Effie Kathryn Anderson in 1974. Bruce had been a life-long resident of Forest Lake until recently moving to Coon Rapids so Effie could be closer to her employment. She is the Office Manager for the Anoka County Attorney and the office is at the Anoka Court House.

Bruce was a manager and then an owner of Wink's Liquors in Forest Lake.  The business was started by Wink Moen and Norman Burger when they teamed up in 1954 to open B and M Liquors.  Moen eventually bought out his partner and changed the name to Wink's Liquor Inc.  He operated the store at 767 Lake St. South until 1962 when he sold out to Bruce's father Stanley J. Saxe.  

Bruce remembers trading liquor for paint at the Kunshier's Forest Lake Paint Store owned by Richard "Dick" Kunshier. 

Bruce sold the building in 2004, and from about 2004 until about 2011, a business called Dazy Maze was the occupant.  


In 2011 the building became the new home of the C. Stewart Shop.   The old sign with it's flashing lights was saved and the current owner plans to put it back in working order. 

Since our meeting Bruce and Effie have joined the Burgenland Bunch Genealogy Group.  Their website provides contacts and information about other Genealogists researching the multi-ethnic heritage of the Burgenland of Austria and adjoining areas of former West Hungary (see more here)  

They also talked about visiting Mönchhof in the near future.  Since we will probably never make the trip, it would be nice to have them tracking down some relatives who stayed in the area.  Of course Shan will be envious of any trips they may take to the wineries in the Burgenland, Lake Neusiedl area.  

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