fs Petrus and Joanna De Bast
° Boekhoute 4/3/1735
x Boekhoute 6/4/1759 Maria Anna De Dobbelaere
† Boekhoute 19/12/1805
His godfather was Franciscus Noë, his father's cousin and his godmother was Joanna Noë, his aunt. Before he was 3 years old he had already lost his father.
When he was 24 years old he married Maria Anna De Dobbelaere in his native town. She was the daughter of Petrus De Dobbelaere and Petronella Pieters and the widow of Guido Pauwels with whom she had a son and a daughter. She was 12 years older than the bridegroom. They farmed in Boekhoute in the De Wilde (The Wilds) quarter at the end of the Vlietstraat (Fleetstreet).
During more than 50 years Joannes Franciscus lived in the Austrian Empire which was for our country a relatively prosperous time: commerce, industry and agriculture flourished. But a few radical reforms about 1783 by Emperor Joseph II resulted in protests and discontent.
In November 1784 the Dutch closed the sea lock near the Philippine fortress and consequently large parts of Boekhoute were inundated. A good many inhabitants of The Wilds filed a claim for compensation but not Jan Frans Noë. Perhaps he didn't have a lot of damage or he didn't believe compensation would be forthcoming.
At the end of the Eighteenth Century there were lots of army check points and one might be asked for an explanation even to go from one village to the next. This could be very time consuming especially for those who had to travel a long way. Farmers and traders had a hard time just to travel to the markets to sell their agricultural produce or to buy seed or implements. Then people were offered the opportunity to request a pass which gave them free passage, a "passe-avant", a word that was added to our Flemish language.
On 27 april 1789 Jan Frans put in a request for such a passport: "... to sell his grain, seeds, animals, yarns, flax, butter, wood, hay, straw and all sort of products, the fruit of his labour, same to be carried on wagons, horses and by himself..." Here is that same request in the language of his day (and in English).
Not only did he receive permission to go to the markets of Ghent, Lokeren, Eeklo and Assenede but also to travel to every village in the realm of His Imperial Majesty and what's more, he or an assistant of his who had this pass on his person was allowed to freely come and go and take and bring back with him anything and everything he wanted without trouble or delay ("... vrij ende liberlijk passeren ende repasseren zonder hem te doen eenig hinder of beletsel, stoornisse of retardement...").
In fact it usually was not a great problem to obtain such a passport. And for Jan Frans Noë it might have been even easier in vue of the fact that in 1788 and 1789 he was town councellor of the Boekhoute Corporation, a job which particularly in those days was only for people of a certain standing who at the same time were not totally without funds.
The city and Corporation of Boekhoute was administered by a mayor and 5 city councillors. The mayor was usually appointed for one year but there was no fixed term of office. How long someone remained a councillor was even less predictable and many of them staid on for years and years or else they now and again interrupted their tour of duty for a year or two.
Perhaps Jan Frans Noë became city councillor more because of his trade relations than the contents of his moneybag. Or did he become a town councillor to further his business interests? Whatever the case may have been he was a town councillor for only two years.
And it is in his capacity of town councillor that on 8/7/1789 he became the guardian of the orphans of Pieter Goethals and Joanna Meiresonne because none of the childrens relations could take on this responsibility.
In 1792 Jan Frans had four horses. Of the 57 farmers who had horses only 5 worked with 5 or 6 horses. There were in the whole of Boekhoute in that year 147 horses.
For a few months in the last 10 years of the 18th Century the Southern Netherlands were independant. After that they were now under French then under Austrian occupation depending on diplomacy and/or success on the battlefield. But in 1794 our country was assigned to France and the exactions got worse: our people had to hand over horses, grain and meat to the occupying French forces. They also had to accept quartering of soldiers in their own houses. Needless to say all this cost a lot of money.
Napoleon won many battles thanks to the speed with which he moved his armies about. This came at a terrible price. Here is what Paul Johnson, an emminent historian, has to say on this:
His consumption of horsepower was unprecedented and horrifying. In the pursuit of speed by his armies, hundreds of thousands of these creatures died in their traces, driven beyond endurance. Millions of them died during his wars, and the struggle to replace them became one of his most formidable supply problems. The quality of French remounts deteriorated steadily during the decade 1805-15 and this helps to explain the declining performance of the French cavalry.
p 50, "Napoleon", by Paul Johnson, Penguin Group, 2002.
Let's not forget that for our ancestors horses were not the luxury items or status symbols they are today.
Napoleon also imposed deep going reforms some of which are still of some importance to us today. Our regions were divided into departments: Assenede, Boekhoute, Bassevelde and Zelzate were part of the "département de l'Escaut", the Scheldt Department.
The French language was imposed and many names, especially first names were Frenchified. The civil register was set up in 1796. The Gregorian Calendar was replaced with the republican calendar which the French had to put up with since 22 September 1792 or rather 1 vendemiaire of year I. The months were divided in 3 "decades" each of 10 days and from now on only every tenth day was a day of rest. Every year also had a different number of catching up days. The great French chronology era came to an end on 11 nivôse XIV (1/1/1806).
Jan Frans had in Assenede 3 strips of land in the St. Janspolder, section F, numbers 119, 120 and 121 all told 1.76 hectare in size. The heirs of his son sold these 3 pieces to farmer Bernard De Vleeshouwer from Boekhoute. Jan Frans also owned 33.80 are in the Fonteyne, section D number 498 and in 1852 this was sold to Pieter Joannes Noë (C VI).
Jan Frans died in Boekhoute on 28 frimaire of the XIVth Year of the French Republic which calculates to 19/12/1805. Mother was the owner of an inn called "de Engel" (the Angel) in Boekhoute. This inn consisting of a house, a barn, outhouses and a piece of land "un cabaret, portant pour enseigne l'Ange..." was let for 3 years on 29/12/1809 to Josse Jean Van Hecke for the sum of 223 francs and 20 cents per year.
Mother Maria Anna De Dobbelaere died in Boekhoute on 10/1/1812 aged 89. Francies was the only one of their 4 children who was married.
They had 4 children:
When Maria Anna died in 1836, Joannes Franciscus (A IV), her father, didn't have a single grandchild and with them had died out this, the Boekhoute branch of our family.
They had reached a certain degree of prosperity, having started out as small farmers. They had settled in one of the most fertile regions of this sandy land like a take off run as it were to the polders. They had bought land with their economies which gave them prestige and as a result there was the offer of the (largely honorary) office of town councillor.
This branch died out. Yet it wasn't a feeble link in the Noë tribe: of the 13 children born over 3 generations there were only 3 infant deaths. It was the small number of children (so many of them girls), caused i.a. by late marriages which prevented this branch from flourishing.
Most recent update : 28-02-2020