We had already published this in a previous bulletin but it seems interesting to publish it again for our new cousins.

In the 3rd bulletin of November 1981 we had published the translation of the lease contracted by Claude Arnold with the Abbey of Munster concerning the rent of Schweinsbach in 1651. We thought it was the first lease that Claude contracted with the Abbey which employed him, but we were wrong. Owing to tenacity of our friend André GANTER and to M. SCHNUBEL, were found many other documents concerning the life of our ancestors on the lands of Munster and specially this lease of 1648.

We learn through it that our ancestor took in charge smallholding of Fesseneck and would stay there for the 1st time in 1651 in meantime when he would be « transfered » to Schweinsbach… We will visit these two places in our next Assembly of 2005.

This is the introduction sentence which presents this document :

On 1648 the 28th of March the VESSENECK has been farmed out to Clade ARNOLDT of CHARBEBILLE within these conditions :

This presentation suggests some reflections : first of all the funny germanization of GERBEVILLER in CHARBEVILLE, but which doesn’t make doubt on the identity of the sharecropper. Also even if the Abbey of Munster is only named GOTLESHAUS that is to say « THE HOUSE OF GOD », we know that FESSENECK was one of his very old ownership. At the 9th century Louis Le PIEUX gave to the Monastry in the St Grégoire Valley landed properties whose the FESSENECK farm which was closed to the Monastry. The Abbot who was in charge of the Monastry at the end of the « Guerre de Trente Ans » (a war during 30 years) we know that his name was BLASER, was known for his affability, his competence during a period of destruction.(Ludvig OHL : Geschichte der Stadt Munster).

The contract between the Abbey and our ancestor has been written on March the 28th of 1648. Months later were signed the treaties of peace which will put an end to the war of Trente Ans without erasing its baneful consequences.

During this difficult period, in a ravaged valley, Claude ARNOLD was in charge of the farm of FESSENECK with very precise conditions…

We give here the analyse not in the order of appearence but given to their nature.

First of all we have to notice that the lease begins at St Georges and ends at St Georges with the obligation for both parties to give notice 3 months in advance.

The farm itself will be given back by the Abbey in a good condition and the sharecropper will have to leave it in the same condition.

Each part will share the cattle, the butter, cheese and calves. It will be the same for the hogs of which the Monastry will have to give to the sharecropper 2 rézeaux (food intakes) of bran every week. The pig-keeper will be paid by both parts. The Abbey will also pay a young shepherd that the farmer will support in a non expensive way. He will receive 4 rézeaux ( food intakes) of wheat. Fruits in the orchards and around the smallholding will be gathered and half of it given to the Monks. We have been also told about a tithe that the sharecropper will be given by paying the dues. He will have to scythe the grass in the meadows of the Monastry with the help of his servants and will take care of poultry.


A part of the barn of Fesseneck

Photo A. Ganter 1981

At the end of the lease is written that on the 4th of May, Claude Arnold and the previous sharecropper Diebolt HERZOG shared the cattle. Our ancestor was given 5 cows, 2 calves of 2 years old, one 3 months old calf, one of 5 weeks, 2 big sows, 3 young hogs and 3 piglets. But as he already owned 7 dairy cows he lent one dairy cow to the Monastry in exchange of 3 Florins and half a calf !

This contract seems to be honest and correct as Claude Arnold was 25 years old, married to Maria Sifferlin and had 3 children.

All the descendants of the couple know today the issue caused by this union. In 1658 in the inventory of Barthélémy Sifferlin the father of Marie, it is said that « she was supposed to have gone away to Switzerland without giving news for 16 years ». This inventory was published in a previous bulletin that we will publish as soon as possible. However other documents reveal that since 1644 she had been farming on lease some dues in the valley of Munster(A. Ganter Bergha Spécial Arnold 1981).

It seems that she left Kruth after the death of her mother in 1643 and the second wedding of her father. We can imagine that her union with a « Lorrain » considered as a traitor by the population was the main cause of the family disagreement…



Munster and its Church Towers

The second document discovered by Mr SCHNUBEL and dating back to 1651 the 4th of May, complets the first lease. This act establishes the transfer of the cattle of FESSENECK between a new sharecropper and our ancestor who will settle in the rent of SCHWEINSBACH…

It contains 20 adult animals and 12 young ones. Two black and white oxen one of 4 years old and one of 13 years old were living with 18 dairy cows. All the cows had a name : HURGIG which means « SPIGHTLY », another one FREUND which means « FRIEND » and a third one WEISSKOPF which means « WHITE HEAD ». As well as for the young animals, their coat and their age were written if they had calved. The young cattle was shared in 2 groups : the first one was composed of steers and heifers owned by the farm before Christmas and the second one, more important, composed by the after Christmas cattle.

Before this period, FESSENECK just owned one bull and 4 heifers. After this date the cattle increased with 7 steers named by their coat and their color. One has a black coat and another one fawn and one squirrel grey : MAUSFARB. Another one is black with white head. We are told also about a young bull totally golden, one with a white and black backbone but a little bit weak, and to finish one of 3 weeks old still fed by its mother. And we add to this 2 black heifers with white head and a third one fawn with a white tail

It is written in this paper and in French «  this contract is the instruction which explains the good care of the cattle of Fesseneck ».

After all, usual implents of the farm are indicated. For example a churn, a milk sieve, a big cauldron of 150 litres, 16 cheese molds, seals, one table and one carriage ! The sharing of the cheeses had to be made with Franen MALDEN who was probably the wife of the new sharecropper. They were real Munster cheeses.

At the end of the document is precised that Claude Arnold woul bring a container and a butter barrel.

This second document doesn’t mention anything about the farm nor the duties of the new sharecropper.

We have to keep in memory our late cousin Lucienne LAPOINTE who brillantly translated the leases and we thank her for our pleasure to know the life of our ancestors.