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Cheese Days Ambassador: Swiss and proud of it
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Gruetzi. Green County Cheese Days Ambassador Jana Duval Crandall here with a bit about my family roots in Green County, dating back to the mid 1800s. For this month's article I'll share some background about the genealogy and proud Swiss heritage of my ancestors.

The first generation in the United States from the Blum side of my family was Fridolin and Dorothea Stuessy Blum, who immigrated here in 1853 and were running a successful farm several years later. Of their eight children, my story continues with their son, Edward Jacob, who married Anna Schindler in 1893. Edward and Anna had five children, one being Fred Gabriel. Fridolin and Fred started Monticello Motors circa 1918.

Switching to the Hefty side, Fridolin Hefti and Rosina Schiesser Hefti married in 1827 in Switzerland. They arrived here in 1847 and had nine children, with three leaving this world too soon. One of their children, Margreth, married Adam Blumer. With Margreth's brother, she and Adam became owners and brewers at a business to be known later as "The Blumer Brewing Company," which was run by their son, Fred J. Blumer.

Listed by trade as a brewer in Switzerland, Fridolin became a farmer when he settled here. One of Fridolin and Rosina's other children - Johann Thomas Hefty married Barbara Kundert in 1871. The couple had four children. Thomas was president at the Bank of New Glarus, director of Central Wisconsin Trust Company of Madison, and a farmer who became the sole owner of the Hefty property after buying out his three brothers' shares. He was very influential in welcoming families to America, by inviting them to stay and work on the family farm until they became established. Barbara passed away and Johann Thomas was remarried to Elsbeth Luchsinger.

One of Thomas and Barbara's children, Fred K., married Regula Anna Freitag on Oct. 25, 1894 during a triple wedding, where Fred's sisters, Elsbeth and Rosina, also were married to their husbands. These marriages brought together the Hefty, Freitag and Voegeli families. Fred served on the Green County Board and the Wisconsin State Legislature. During this period there was a thriving cheese factory and dairy operation on the farm. Regula's brother helped run the farm after Fred passed away. She also ran a successful painting business known for painting barns white - a symbol of prosperity - rather than the traditional red color. Fred and Regula were parents to Olga Barbara Hefty.

Fred G. Blum and Olga Hefty, my great grandparents, married and had two children, Marion Ruth and Fred G. Blum Jr. Fred was a World War I army veteran and Olga was a home economics expert who was a cherished citizen in the community. Their son Fred G. Blum Jr., M.D., married Miriam Eye Blum in 1951; this year they will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. Fred (or "Doc"), was respected as a renowned eye surgeon and Miriam (known as "Mickey") was his partner in business when she opened an optical shop within his practice in Madison. Doc and Mickey (my grandparents) have six children, one of whom is Gale Blum Duval, my mother and world-famous yodeler in her younger years. Doc and Mickey updated and preserved all of the buildings on the farm in order for the younger generations to enjoy. This legacy has taken hard work, dedication and patience, but those are traits that have been passed down through our family. I am proud to be part of the Hefty-Blum family and look forward to passing the stories down to my children.

You'll see me this month at Super Cows on the Square on June 4, Old Time Cheesemaking at the National Historic Cheesemaking Center June 11, Monroe Balloon and Blues Fest June 17, and the Green County Dairy Day Parade June 25. Mark your calendars for Green County's Cheese Days Festival, Sept. 16-18.