Born in Saanenland, he died in poverty in Devant-de-l’Etivaz, at the entrance to the Pissot gorge. Very little is known about his life.
Where he lived between his youth, spent in the Simmental, and his adult life in Pays-d’Enhaut is not known. None of his documents have ever been found. The only traces of him are to be found in the archives of the commune of Château-d’Œx, which refused him a settlement permit in 1847.
From reported testimonies, we know that Hauswirth worked as a wood cutter and charcoal burner around Rougemont.
He hired out his services to various farms in the area.
When he had time of an evening, he would take out his scissors and start cutting paper. He would leave cuttings as a thank you for meals he was given.
These would be kept as bookmarks for the family Bible or psalter, the lace paper earned him one of his nicknames: The “Grand des Marques”. He was particularly tall for the time and often stood out as he had to stoop to enter the low-ceilinged chalets of the time, hence another of his nicknames: “Trébocons” (3 parts), as he was perpetually stooping forwards.
Take a virtual tour of the room dedicated to one of the earliest practitioners of the art of paper cutting!