° Assenede 13/9/1755
x Assenede 27/2/1781 Petronella Wauters
† Assenede 14/8/1817
He was born at 11 o'clock in the evening and baptized the next day. Judocus Cleemput and Aunt Catharina Noë were his godparents. The parish priest Jan Remes wrote in his baptismal record: "Die 14 7bris 1755 baptizavi franciscum filium Jacobi Noée et Livinae De Bilst coniugum, natum heri hora 11ma verspertina, susceptores fuerunt Judocus Cleemput et Catharina Noée."
He married in Assenede on 27 February 1781. His bride, Petronella Theresia Wauters was born in Assenede exactly 25 years earlier. She came from a family of 7 children, the daughter of Joannes Wauters and Anna Versijp, the granddaughter of Carolus Wauters and Petronella De Meester and Jan Versijp and Isabella Grootaert, who had all lived and died in Assenede.
Here follows an extract from the marriage register:
"Die 27 februarii 1781 praeviis duobus bannis et super una dispensatione a celsissimo Domino Episcopo obtenta, coram me infrascripto matrimonium contraxerunt franciscus noé et petronalla theresia wauters, ambo ex hac parochia. Testibus petro joanne de cleene ex Destelbergen et maria catharina wauters ex hac parochia."
And in English:
On 27 February 1781, after two calls (= church commandments) and after having obtained a dispensation for the third call from His Excellency the bishop, have before me the undersigned (that's the priest) pronounced the vows of marriage: franciscus noé and petronella theresia wauters, both from this parish. The witnesses were petrus joannes de cleene from Destelbergen and maria catharina wauters from this parish."
Until the Second Vatican Council it was the custom to name the fiances on the pulpit on three consecutive Sundays before the wedding. Dispensation from these calls could be obtained if the wedding had to take place in a hurry or before Lent or the Advent. Getting married during those austere periods was indeed discouraged or only allowed grudgingly.
Maria Theresa, archducess of Austria from 1740 until her death, was a wise, hardworking and grand lady, the mother of sixteen children. When she died on 29 November 1780 she was succeeded by her son, Emperor Joseph II. He pushed through a series of radical reforms: old administrative bodies were abolished, justice was reformed, even monasteries and seminaries were not spared his reforming zeal. And all village fairs had to take place on the same day. Our ancestors didn't think much of these innovations from Vienna. They were very dissatisfied and they protested in great numbers. To make things even worse the winter of 1788-89 was extremely harsh.
After the Revolution of Brabant in 1789 the Southern part of the Low Countries became independent on 11 January 1790. Joseph II died on 26/2/1790. He had no children and so he was succeeded by his brother Leopold II who succeeded in bringing our regions back under Austrian rule.
In 1792 the French invaded our country. Ghent fell on 12/11/1792. Units of these undisciplined French occupying forces went everywhere, settled down in a place for a few days and revelled at the expense of the local inhabitants.
They were defeated by the Austrians in the Battle of Neerwinden on 18/3/1793. But on 26/6/1794 the Austrians were defeated by the French at Fleurus. They were then chased out of the country and once again our country was under the yoke of the French.
But France was herself in the middle of a terrible revolution and our country shared those terrible times: churches, schools and monasteries were closed. Priests were banned or deported if they refused to swear the oath of allegiance to the anti-Christian French Republic. Unsworn priests went underground and secretly said Mass, baptized, heard confessions etc. in barns and garrets.
In Assenede the people were incited to rebellion against the French Republic and Commissioner De Neve, who recklessly took strong action in the name of the French law met with a violent death.
Napoleon promulgated numerous decrees resulting in drastic changes: French became the official language, the civil registration service was introduced as well as the decimal system of weights and measures.
The man in the street didn't concern himself with the Frenchification of our regions: he hardly had any contact with the functionaries and magistrates. The only ones who learned some military terms and the like were our Flemish boys who had to serve in Napoleon's armies. The Frenchification failed because of the lack of education of our people. Many couldn't read or write. And the lower clergy continued to use Flemish as the only language.
But the better off "bourgeogie" was more eager to adopt the French language, even if only to distance themselves from the vulgum plebs, the lower classes.
On the other hand the proletariat also benefitted from the French occupation. They would lift themselves out of poverty and misery thanks to the industrialisation. But not for long.
At the turn of the century the prices of grain were very high. More and more buckwheat was sown. This plant was not very resistant to frost but it needed no manuring, the yield was high and it was very good animal feed and green manure. At the end of the Napoleonic era our ancestors began another new crop: sugar beet.
After Napoleon had met his waterloo in 1815 the Peace of Vienna was signed and that meant the Southern Low Countries were reunited with the north and now we were to get a 15 year long backlash against French. When the independent Kingdom of Belgium was created this was followed by a 150 year long backlash against Dutch and Flemish.
Franciscus took over the farm of his father-in-law who had died two months before. This farm was in the Fonteyne district of Assenede.
Shortly before his wedding Francies had been guarantor for a loan his father had obtained for the purchase of an inn in the center of Assenede. But 2 years later, on 25/7/1783 Francies himself borrows 133 pounds 6 shillings and 8 pence from Master Schoorman of Ghent at an annual cost of 6 pounds 13 shillings and 4 pence (5%). And for this loan the guarantor is his father.
This loan was completely paid off by his son Pieter on 25 June 1819 to Mr. Jan Baptist Joseph Ghislain van de Woestijne d'Hansbeke, one of the heirs of Master Schoorman.
On 3 February 1797 Francies lent his brother Judocus exactly the same amount at 5% interest. But that meant trouble especially after the death of Judocus in 1811. Not later than 3 months after the due date his sister-in-law should have paid the interest. She still hadn't paid in 1814. No doubt not even after he had insisted a little. So Francies went to court with his problem. On 11 July 1814 the court of first instance of the 4th district of the Scheld Department at Eeklo heard the case. Francies' defence was taken care of by Master Carion of Eeklo but the opposing party was not present. Francies demanded payment of the interest for the year 1813, i.e. 5 p. 6 sh. 8 gr or 58 francs and 4 cents as well as the reimbursement of the principal with interest as from the 1st of February up to the day of payment. Finally he also asked that the other party pay his court costs nl. 28 francs and 79 cents. Francies won his case and on 26 July a bailiff came to officially inform the widow, Angelina Cathelijn and her married children.
On 5 January 1795 Francies had also borrowed 1000 guilders from Mr. Frans Cornelis Jacobs who was "mre apoteker ende droghist in Gend", master chemist and druggist in Ghent. This sum would finally be repaid by his son Petrus Franciscus on 28/3/1834.
After the death of his parents the inn called the Queen of Hungary which his father had bought in 1781, was sold in a public auction to Francies' brother-in-law Casimir Huyghe. In 1814 the beguine who had lent 325 pounds to Jacobus also died. She had been quite rich and so now there was trouble with her heirs.
Rumour had it that the inn, which had served as guarantee in case the loan could not be repaid, had been sold for less than the amount of the mortgage. And furthermore the interest on that same loan was overdue. It should have been paid before 4 February 1815. Perhaps the interest was not paid merely because it was not clear who it should be paid to after the death of the beguine.
However that may be the heirs started legal proceedings in order to obtain speedy reimbursement of the loan or to obtain adequate guarantees. Francies, just married in 1781, together with his nephew Judocus Hamerlinck had signed as guarantors of the loan and promised adequate guarantees. Except that in the meantime nephew Judocus had died.
On 13/2/1815 bailiff Pierre Bernard De Wispelaere, acting on behalf of the
Tribunal of First Instance of the First District of the Scheld Department in
Ghent, served a subpoena on the following persons to appear in court on 20
- Franciscus Noë, as heir of Jacobus Noë, the borrower and as guarantor
- Angelina Petronella Cathelijn, widow of Franciscus' brother Judocus as the mother of their under age children and as heir
- Jacobus Noë, son of Judocus and Angelina who has come of age, as heir
- Francies and Monica Hamerlinck, farmers at Zelzate, children of Judocus Hamerlinck, deceased, as guarantors.
It was very important for the defendants to pay as soon as possible the interest of 13 pounds or to increase the guarantee for the loan or else within 6 weeks to pay back the principal, 325 pounds or in new money 4126 francs and 96 cents.
The plaintiffs thought the principle of "pacta servanda" (contracts have to be honoured) very important.
As soon as the bailiff had left after serving his notice Francies Noë paid the interest due but together with the other accused he went to consult Mr François Vanhove of Ghent, the lawyer for three of the codefendants. The Hamerlinck family had decided not to avail themselves of the services of a lawyer.
On the 6th of March the defendants received another visit from the bailiff with a new writ, or rather the old one from which only the first article -- payment of the interest -- had been removed. A new date had been set to appear before the judge: nl 15 March. But the trial was delayed again and again.
And in the meantime the defendants with the assistance of Mr Vermeersch, notary public of Ertvelde in an act dated 30/5/1815, increased the guarantee; a fact which the bailiff confirmed in writing to the plaintiffs on 5 June 1815.
The act was signed only in the nick of time because the next day the tribunal was supposed to hear the case. And so that hearing was deferred to 20 June and then again to 5 July.
On 9 June the Noë family was officially cited by Francies and Monica Hamerlinck from Zelzate: they preferred not to participate as far as defraying the expenses of the defence were concerned and indeed they preferred not to be guarantor any longer for the loan.
In the end it was Mr De Pape, lawyer from Ghent who defended the Noë family. He pointed out that his clients had increased the guarantee and that the fears of the plaintiffs not to be reimbursed were baseless.
And finally there was the trial and the verdict and the court accepted the Noë family increase the guarantee to twice as much as the loan itself. The costs of the trial were assigned to the heirs of the beguine.
And a week later the affair brought before the court by the Hamerlinck family was tried and the court found their demands baseless and the costs of the trial were assigned to them.
Although the Noë family came out of this whole ordeal without a scratch that loan of 1781 and the year 1815 no doubt cost them a bomb. Such as for instance the retainer for "avoué Van Hove" and for Mr De Pape, the lawyer from Ghent and for the notary public, in toto 291 francs and 86 cents, or 7% of the principal.
Francies probably didn't forget the year 1815 in a hurry: in September there was the wedding of his son Pieter Joannes and Monica De Craene. They decided to run the farm together. Which is why they took stock of everything in the house and on the farm.
Everything was listed with an estimate of its value. And in Marijn's book (of which this is a free translation, as I said in the Introduction), there follow excerpts from those 5 pages written in a small hand. They give us an idea of life on an early 19th Century farm in Flanders. They are here, I'm afraid for the time being in Dutch only.
And these estate reckonings closed with a total of 870-14-7 pounds.
They also made up a cooperation agreement and this document in beautiful Flemish is here.
A year later on 23/4/1817 a similar act was signed in the presence of Mr. Vermeersch, notary public of Ertvelde. Did they want to be really really sure after their ordeal with the lawsuits? Anyhow, the question became academic a few months later on 14 August when Francies died. He was only 62.
The official at the civil registration service in Assenede wrote down the demise in French even though, since Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815, we were under Dutch rule and Dutch was the only official language. Here is the French text:
"L'an dix huit cent dix sept le quatorze aout à dix heures du matin, pardevant nous Ange Boniface De Vriendt, Maire et officier public de l'Etat Civil de la commune d'Assenede, canton du même nom, province de la Flandre Orientale, sont comparus les sieurs Pierre Jean Noë, laboureur, âgé de trente un ans, et Casimier Huyghe, Boulanger, âgé de trente ans, tous deux domiciliés à Assenede, le premier fils et le second Gendre du défunt, les quels nous ont déclaré que François Noë, cultivateur, âgé de soixante sept ans, né et domicilié à Assenede, fils de défunt Jacques et Livine De Bilk, époux de Petronille Wauters est décédé le jourd'hui à sept heures du matin, et ont les comparants signé avec nous après lecture faite du présent acte, date que dessus."
And here is its translation:
"In the year eighteen hundred and seventeen on the fourteenth of August came before us, Ange Boniface De Vriendt, Mayor and officer of the Civil Service of the municipality of Assenede, district of the same name, province of East Flanders, Mister Pierre Jean Noë, labourer, aged thirty one years, and Casimir Huyghe, Baker, aged thirty years, both domiciled at Assenede, the first the son and the second the son-in-law of the deceased, who have declared that François Noë, farmer, aged sixty seven years, born and domiciled at Assenede, son of Jacques, deceased, and Livine De Bilk, spouse of Petronille Wauters has departed this life today at seven hours this morning, and after the present act was read out the parties have signed with us, on the date as below."
To give her heirs their due and to allow them to go their separate ways,
the widow decided to sell in 1820:
a) "een aerbeydershofstedeken met boomgaert, moeshof en agtergelegen partye land, gelegen in den wijk de fonteyne..." sectie D 986, 987 en 988, groot 35 roeden en 6 ellen nederlands of 235 roeden "gendsche maete", a labourer's homestead with orchard, vegetable garden and a piece of land behind it, situated in the Fonteyne District, sections D 986, 987 and 988 of 35 Dutch rods or 235 rods if we use the measures of Ghent. This homestead was let to Joannes De Wever for 41 guilders and 13 cents per year until Christmas Eve 1820.
b) Three pieces of sowing-land
- 513 rods south of the aforementioned homestead, section D 985 used by her son Petrus Noë for 12 Dutch guilders per year.
- 639 rods, on the corner of the "assenéslag" (a dirt road) to Ertvelde, section D 995 west of the Fonteynestreet and to the north of the Assenéslag used by the same son for 17 Dutch guilders and 14 cents per year.
- 230 rods, behind the previously mentioned piece, section D 1015, with a way out across the previous piece also used by Pieter Noë for an annual rent of 6 guilders and 85 cents.
Brother-in-law Pieter Joannes Martens started the sale with a bid of 530 guilders for the homestead and for the second piece of sowing-land he bid 500 guilders. Son Pieter Noë bid 385 and 250 Dutch guilders for the first and third piece of sowing-land.
The sale would be settled on 4 November 1820. No other bids were received for the homestead. But there were higher bids for the pieces of sowing-land. Then brother-in-law Martens requested and obtained permission to make one bid (1800 guilders) for the whole of 4 lots. After several higher bids by daughter Coleta Noë, everything was finally sold to Pieter Joannes Martens for 2042 guilders + 69 guilders and 90 cents for costs. This real estate was still mortgaged for 1000 guilders "courant" or 875 Dutch guilders and 14 cents and this mortgage was taken over by the buyer. And so he only had to pay 1254 guilders and 76 cents. And this is exactly the sum he borrowed from his mother-in-law at 5% per annum for the rest of her life, at which moment he would have to pay back the principal to her other heirs.
And on the same day another son-in-law, baker Casimir Huyghe, obtained identical conditions for two houses in the center of Assenede one of which being the inn "the Queen of Hungary". As explained earlier, Francies had bought those two houses in 1813 in the name of his daughter then already married. At the time Francies had paid for both houses while Casimier and Ferdinand Daeninck paid the rent until the end of October 1820. As from the first of November Casimir became the new owner and had to pay his mother-in-law until the end of her days 5% of the value of the houses which was 2057 guilders and 50 cents.
And while the whole family was together to take care of the financial problems, it was also decided to end the cooperation agreement signed between father Francies and his son Pieter.
Mother was not as fit as she used to be: "en sedert welke epoque de
boereneeringe door hun voor gemeene rekeninge tot hedent is voortgezet, de hooge
jaeren van moeder Noë en haere caduciteyt niet meer toelaetende langer met haeren
gemelden zoon in dezelve gemeenzaemheyd en boereneeringe te continueeren, en
desireerende haer leste jaeren, zegge dagen, in ruste door te bringen, ...".
"and since the time when they continued the farm for a common account until today, since the advanced age of mother Noë and her poor state of health no longer permit her to continue the exploitation of the farm together with her son and wishing to spend the last years, indeed the last days of her life at rest..."
In spite of these rather pessimistic words about her health, mama Noë lived 14 more years. She died aged 78 in Assenede at her daughter Francisca Joanna Theresia's place on 17/11/1834.
Francies and Petronella had 8 children:
Most recent update : 27-06-2018