(Note: the following is the late-modern American language-version — BW)
by Emmett R Smith
ABOUT Fourteen months ago I wrote and posted the memoir to be found at the link, below. It is based solely upon oral-memory, and it is the story as it was told to me by my southern Minnesota maternal relations in about 1961, of the unsolved Waseca-county “Schuck” murders of a generation before.
Before you read further, I must caution you that my account of what I heard features transcriptions of vernacular quotation!
It is in the Lakese dialect of farmer-American as spoken by the World War II “greatest generation,” specifically in LeRay Township in the northeast corner of Blue Earth County, in south-central Minnesota. Hence, it is not “smutty” or filthy as such — but, it is extremely profane. This of course is a language that may still be unacceptable at least to a dwindling decent handful of readers, and so with that clearly understood, please (at your own risk!) enjoy the following:
THERE Are a number of difficulties with the piece as it stands, not least on the point of language, as already noted above….
WHAT Is of more concern to the historian however had ought to be the question of accuracy.
First of all — and this was on the basis of long-standing family-authority, namely that of a sister-in-law of the murdered victims! — I grew up spelling the family-name “Schuck,” and, not as Schuch. The latter spelling occurs in the documentary link I have included below, from the Waseca County Historical Society.
My account, as a comparison with the Waseca County-material will show, is also flawed as to date.
AS I transcribed from memory what I heard first forty-six years ago in the Summer of 1961 (and, on the threshold of an adolescence that would be painful for all, even by the virtually-standardless “norms” of my lost and bemused, “baby-boom” morally-disastrous generation!) I “distinctly remembered” that the events were in the early 1930s.
Hence, the fact that the killings occurred in May, 1929, is a complete revelation to me.
And as well, the description as I remembered receiving it from in-laws of the murder-victims, of the type and number of victims, diverges from the following Waseca County-account, online at:
SO, All of this altogether is an excellent example, indeed, of the ongoing nature of the work of the historian, and it shows clearly the endless labors of any man or woman who “makes” history.
Truly no work of historianship ever may be said to be at an end!
Not as long as there is even one more text or source to be consulted.
So, what on Earth is the goal of all this fussy and irritated (!) striving?
HUNGARIAN-American historian-emeritus John Lukacs has noted often that the “real work” of the historian is not to discover “the truth,” something about the past that remains in many ways necessarily unknowable. True historianship lies simply and humbly in the janitorial task of the daily sweeping-away by the scholar and researcher — of eliminated lies and romance, and falsehood!
And, at the same time, there is the continual addition of new accounts of — and, accountings for — the remembered past, so that in time our historical record is become a thing of many pages and subtle nuances — all to the delight (we hope!) of workers still un-born.
[Emmett R Smith all rights reserved 14 May 2007]