Joseph Noyon (1732-1806) and Geertruijdt Munniks
(from the book “De geschiedenis van de familie Noyon, Utrecht – Sneek, 1668 – 1856″, written by Tjerk Frederik Noyon, chapter 12)
Joseph Noyon, b. Sneek January 9 1737, textile manufacturer, member of the municipal government, architect, alderman and mayor of Sneek, dies 18 November 1796, marries on 19 August 1759 in Joure, Geertruidt Munniks, baptized in Leeuwarden on 26 October 1732, died in Sneek on 18 April 1806, daughter of Bernardeus and Magdalena Leffring.
From this marriage:
- Daughter, born Sneek April 30, 1760, died there May 3, 1760
- Petrus Simeon, born Sneek August 17, 1761, follows VI generation
- Magdalena Noyon, born Sneek July 2, 1765, died Amsterdam March 24, 1850, married Sneek May 14, 1795 to Mr. Jacobus Hendrik van der Schaaff, born Amsterdam October 21 1767, councilor Amsterdam Court died there July 11, 1852 son of Jacobus and Maria Louisa Petronella Renard.
Pytter’s only son and heir Joseph, named after his grandfather, was 23 years old when his father died. He was already married half a year to Geertruijdt Munniks, five years older than he, from neighboring Joure.
In the (Argentinean) family archive Van der Veen, two delightful documents have been preserved to remind us of the marriage of Joseph and Gertrude: two handwritten wedding poems with extra neat hand writing.
The first bears the inscription: “For the happy marriage of Joseph Nojon and Geertruida Munnik solemnly wedded in matrimony” is thirteen, and four-line stanzas long. Full of good exhortations and tedious benedictions, dares the poet still in the penultimate verse the comment:
“Come over to the dormitory, and create pure content
“Provoke a numerous offspring, through which Noion for long
“In the name and essence remain, freed from disappearing.
“Want always joins both your hearts in love.
The writer, Hillebrandus Mentes, was probably a son of the Reverend Theodorus Mentes, the pastor in Rauwerd, who by his marriage with Tytia Noyon was related with the family. The poet must have been a perfectionist, as he mentions in a footnote, referring to one of the lines of poetry:
“Note: by mistake two verses were started side by side
“With a standing foot, which through
“Lack of time has not been changed.
The second poem has nine six-line couplets and excels less from its style (“You have done much good to your hart, that you have taken Geertruida from the start”) than the calligraphy and the beautiful drawing of the two mutually clinching hands of bride and groom.
It is entitled:
“FOR THE MARRIAGE of the gentleman Josep Noion
“AND THE VIRTUOUS MISS GEERTRUIDA
“Munniks united in matrimony in Sneek den August 18, 1759
This date is incorrect and should actually read:
in Joure the 19th of August. The writer, Geertruy Robbers, who we have not been able to identify any further, will not have been present personally.
12.3 The family Munniks
Besides the eleven cities, the Frisian countryside was divided into 30 administrative districts or Grietenijen who stood under the authority of a usually noble Grietman. He was assisted by a small Executive Council and “the Secretary”, a principal officer appointed by the States of Friesland. Joure now the home city of the Secretary of Haskerland, named Bernard Munniks.
Hartogh Heijs of Zouteveen mentions in his notes, which I got from his granddaughter, about the family Munniks following:
The Frisian family descended from Bernardus Munniks, born in Ankum (Hanover) in 1696, deceased in Joure on the 15th of August 1776. This Bernardus lived in Leeuwarden until the year 1739. On the 17th of March 1739 he was sworn in there by your honorable powers of the Executive Provincial States of Friesland as Secretary of the municipality Haskerland in Joure. His successor was appointed in 1776. He signed “Munnick, Secretary.” In 1729 he married Magdalena Lefferingh.
From this marriage seven children were born:
- Rinske Munniks, born Leeuwarden August 3, 1730, died Oudega January 28, 1795
- Geertruida Munniks born Leeuwarden 26 oct 1732, died Sneek April 18, 1806, married Joure August 19, 1759 to Joseph Noyon, Mayor in Sneek
- Johanna Munniks, born Leeuwarden December 16, 1734, died Meppel January 31, 1810, married to William van der Sande, officer serving in the States.
- Anna Marya Munniks, born Leeuwarden 2l April 1738, died Sneek August 28, 1764, married in Joure February 19, 1764 to Thomas Gonggrijp of Sneek
- Johannes, born in Joure March 31, 1741, died in Jengum (East Friesland) February 15, 1815. Married but separated from his wife. This marriage was childless. He was a Lawyer at the Court of Friesland and later by the Court of Justice in Holland, appointed Consul of the State to Messina. He was well known and after the divorce, his wife lived in Groningen. He was author of many books about law. In the latter half of the 18th century, he established himself as a lawyer in Jengum in East Friesland where he died due to an accident descending a coach nominating his heir his lady in housekeeping.
- Wynoldus (Wynnout) Munniks, born Joure December 4, 1744, died in the house Oldgaarde, in the municipality of Dwingelo in Drenthe, on September 8, 1806. Married in 1780, in Amsterdam, Antonia Haasbaart, born in Amterdam 5 November 1751, died Groningen, 21 March 1806. Since 1771 Professor at the University of Groningen in surgery and general medicine, and delivery and herbalist, charged with the supreme government of the country’s herb garden. His biography was published in 1812 by J. Oomkens in Groningen. He received from Governor William V a ring with diamonds due to medical services provided to him.
- Hendrik Munniks, born in Joure December 13, 1750, died in Heerenveen January 21, 1817, timber merchant and member of the municipal government of Schoterland. On April 25, 1773 he married Neeltje Coopmans Heerenveen (or Koopmans) born Heerenveen August 19, 1750, died there February 24, 1817.
Note on No. 5, Mr. Johannes Munniks
“Citation by edict, issued by the Court of Friesland against Mr.. J. Munniks, former lawyer to that relative jurisdiction and formerly appointed consul of the State in Messina, fugitive is the respondent and defendant, having lived in Heerenveen in Friesland, chancellery in Leeuwarden, June 22, 1774 “.
(One writes this citation to political motives. After having lived some years in Holland the concerned later returned to Friesland.)
“Although a married man and his wife is still being alive, he approaches notwithstanding, all female persons, married and widowed, in a lewd manner at night and sometimes by day, conversing and in a tempting way debauching, to get his own way. Due to this abominable conduct his wife has finally been forced to live separately in Groningen and since he cares not for her, etc … Since years he has inappropriate conversations with female persons, so in Holland and elsewhere in the province and through such talks to decent women he inserts himself in their affairs and administration of their goods etc “.
We end this long citation of Hartogh Heijs of Zouteveen about the brothers and sisters of Geertruijdt.
The immigrant Bernard Munniks would have received an excellent education to enable him to have beeen appointed to his Frisian governance position and also his children appear to have the necessary intellectual gifts. Two of his daughters married to sons of related families Noyon and Gonggrijp. We shall encounter the colorful Uncle Johannes Munniks much later on as his distant cousin Tarquinius Johannes Noyon visits him in the East Frisian Jengum during a medical study trip to Berlin.
Notwithstanding the recommendations of the son of the Reverend Mentes, Joseph and Gertrude got only three children, the first, an un-baptized, and therefore nameless daughter, who lived just three days (died Apr. 3, 1760).
In 1761, follows the son and heir Petrus Simeon named after his grandfather and founder of the family business, the in 1795 deceased Simeon. His name remained, and in this way is retained in the family, as he himself had no male offspring. Four years later, Magdalena was born (July 2, 1765). She married in 1795 at the age of 29 with Mr. Jacobus Hendrik van der Schaaff. These two years younger lawyer was born in Amsterdam and lived at the time of his marriage in Heerenveen, where, according to a note from a grandson, he had established himself in the vicinity of the patriotic black sheep of the family Munniks, Uncle Johannes, the uncle of his bride.
The couple eventually moved to Amsterdam, where Jacobus was appointed as justice of the court. He died in 1852. Magdalene preceded him. She died in Amsterdam in 1850 at age 84. For a long time, there were a lot of written contacts between the sons of this family and their Frisian cousins.
12.5 Joseph’s career
The time had finally come, that a member of the lineage Noyon had access to the Sneker Magistrate. The marriages of Pytter and Joseph have contributed to this. Joseph managed of course the family business, since it was his source of income. In 1760 he is taxed 5 guineas cash for one and a half chimney “because of dyeing outside” (the company founded by Simeon on the city canal). In the same year he, with 60 other people of Grootzand and Kleinzand received notice to cover within the month the open gutters, which ran from their houses to the canal under penalty of three guilders for negligence. Only in 1760 was thus put to an end the medieval state that apparently prevailed on the main canals of the city.
By resolution of 31 December 1764 in which the City revise their charges for the use of the ramparts by individuals the “Merchant Noyon” is charged for four guilders a year for using his frames. On this same date the contract made with Simeon in 1728 for the use of land “outside the small poles as long as he (Joseph) needs this canal for his Factory” was extended.
The rent is increased from 15 to 30 guilders per year and some servitude is further specified: the fishermen are allowed to dry their nets in the usual place; the Magistrate is authorized to try out the fire engines as often as they want and free passage should be provided, both on land and on water, to some birthing docks. The Magistrate reserves the right of cancellation. As mentioned earlier, this never happened and 70 years later is Joseph’s son, Petrus Simeon at the establishment of the official register, registered as the rightful owner of the land and buildings.
We should also mention of the death announcement that Joseph circulates, and in 1779 his “cousin” Tytia dies, after whose father he had named his son (Petrus) Simeon. The carried and pious style of the message, I think, cannot only be traced back to the conventions of the time but would also have answered to the inner sentiments of the writer of the announcement.
12.6 Entering the city governance
On December 15, 1769 joins Joseph entered the Municipal government, 34 years old. The same source states also that in 1772 he becomes “co-regent of the Martiny-church.” In the chapter of the family crest we have already guessed that his family crest had been casted in a possible new clock for the tower of this church. In 1773 follows his appointment as Architect (Councilor for Public Works), in 1786 to Judge (of the lower court) and in 1794 he is appointed to Mayor (one of four).
12.7 The conflict between conservationists and new-lighters
This normal ascent as an elected member of the council to the highest functions, however, had occurred at a time of growing unrest. The bourgeoisie was less and less satisfied with the abuses and nepotism of the ruling oligarchy. Groups of citizens excluded by the council, such as Baptists and Catholics, began to advocate reforms based on Enlightenment ideas, which began to find supporters even under liberal regents. They wanted to curtail the power of the governor, who through his right of appointment and through his election of a “premier” in the municipal affairs could largely influence matters.
When in 1781 a dispute arose between the States of Friesland and the Home Government about the excessive tax contribution of Friesland, with the threat of military intervention, managed Coert van Beyma of the “New State Minded” to convince the city of Dokkum to allow its citizens the opportunity to practice in the handling of weapons. Everywhere free corpses were established, also in Sneek by resolution of 24 October 1783. Only later the “conservationists” realized that they had herewith allowed the entrance of the Trojan horse. They had allowed, after all, the creation of half armed forces, predominantly adhering to the new ideas, besides the militia controlled by themselves.
Also in the Sneek City Council a parting had been solemnized between conservationists and reformists. On September 14, 1784 the latter presented the Magistrate a prepared piece in which they had come to a final agreement in order “to rectify of crept abuses and to honor their solemn oaths.”
In a separate convened meeting they had, under penalty of a fine of 150 guilders, promised to respect a dozen articles, which meant that in the election to public office they would solely judge the ability of the candidates and no more adhere to recommendation. They would give preference to the signatories of the convention and exclude the non-signatories.
In fact, this agreement was focused against the governor premier and several of his followers and thus a reformist political party was founded. In section three, even the words “true patriots” are used, the term which later would be used in all the country and would ignite a political discord that would go down in history as that between patriots and royalists.
It goes without saying that the Magistrate could not tolerate such rebellion. An interesting detail was that Magistrate (10 people) plus City Council (26 people) together were 36 and that the reformist signatories, nineteen in number, would have had, at a combined meeting, the majority. In the Magistrate the reformists had the minority with four against six in the City Council however they had the majority fifteen against eleven.
Among the signatories sure enough we find also Joseph who as usual that year had returned to the City Council, in anticipation of higher appointment in the Magistrate a next time. So Joseph confesses to belong to the progressive part of the citizenry, an act which must have needed certain courage. The non-signatories in the Magistrate take a sharp stance against it and denounce the act as having been drafted “by some members of the government in an inn”: The article for exclusion is not unjustly held for illegal and is contrary to the existing regulations, and is contrary to God’s commandment to treat others as we ourselves wish to be treated.
At this sharp condemnation however, even punishment is alluded to, a “Proposal” is addressed to the City Council, whose signatories are after all in the majority: if it is willing to remove this questionable deed out of the way, the Magistrate is prepared to obliterate all traces of this controversy from the official documents. Because of “confused cries” the matter can not be voted in the City Council.
Apparently they had not wanted to put up the pressure any further.
Both parties acted with prudence. Joseph was appointed in November of the same year to another committee to draft a new regulation for the Sneek Government.
Joseph’s son Petrus Simeon, was sued a year later in the Court of Friesland – and acquitted – because he had placed his signature under a request for proposals to this committee. Times were hard, but fortunately there seems to have been no generational conflict in the family.
In 1786 Joseph takes again a seat in the Magistrate, this time as Alderman, also commissioner of the Militia. This city militia had already fraternized with the free corpse, the officially authorized Freikorps of genuine patriotic signature. There were turbulent times ahead, culminating in the events of August and September 1787.
These were the years in which Stadthouder (Governor) William V increasingly began to lose power and the supporters of the New Ideas and the Conservationists confronted each other more and more. In September 1785 the governor had already swapped his residence in The Hague for safer Nijmegen, which was situated close to him supporting Prussia. That was the homeland of his wife, Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia. In an attempt to turn the tide, this energetic lady traveled to The Hague in 1787, where her carriage was stopped by the Patriotic militia in Goejanverwellesluis (near Gouda). This impertinent act was for her brother, King Frederick William II of Prussia, reason to raise an army of 20,000 men and send them to the United Provinces (13 September 1787) to recover the power in favor of his brother-in-law. They quickly dismantled the free corpses. The anti- prince minded States of Holland and Amsterdam capitulated and the Prince was restored in all his rights. Patriotic rioters were relieved from their posts, were forced into hiding or fled to France. Japinga estimates that among the approximately 43,000 patriots that had fled to France there were approximately 300 inhabitants from Sneek among them. That seems an incredibly high number; if one considers that the city was about will have counted 4600 inhabitants.
12.8 The turbulence in Sneek, August / September 1787
Also Sneek, where the government had profiled themselves more and more progressive, did not escape the turmoil. The free corpse and the militia, which had had united into “the Defense Corps”, demanded the city council at the end of August 1787 that the gun would be repaired in order to bring the city in a state of defense, and that gunpowder would be made available.
View of the muster of the patriotic free corps in Sneek in 1786, stationed on the Marktstraat.
By Hermanus van der Velde 1786.
Collection Frisian Maritime Museum and Sneker Antiquity room, Sneek
canvas 69 x 111 cm.
Repeatedly they took up post, with loaded gun, at the town hall in order to enforce acceptable decisions and they closed the gates to prevent all contact with the authorities in Leeuwarden.
A detachment of volunteers from Franeker, where a provincial contra-government was now formed, was even helpful to steal about 17,000 guilders from the town tax collectors to the benefit of this body.
For four weeks the divided city council had to make one concession after another, but they remained seated.
The role of Joseph, as Alderman charged with the supervision of the militia, was in the midst of all of this very delicate. Apparently he could, despite his earlier progressive approach, not reconcile himself the hotheaded actions, which he must have considered an unacceptable degradation of law and order. He continues to try to avoid the worst clashes, and still agrees with the abiding fraction. When thanks to the intervention of the Prussian intervention the “uprising” fizzled out late September and the rebels are purged from the governing bodies, he stays and his tasks are retained.
12.9 The end of the Old Regime
As of 1790 for Joseph follows then again a period of four years in the City Council, until he is elected in 1794 to the Mayor office. However, this will only last for two years. In 1789 occurred the revolution in France. The Patriots emerge everywhere and in winter 1794/95 the French troops invade the Northern Provinces under leadership of Pichegru. William V flees to England in January. Everywhere in the country, even in Sneek, revolutionary committees grab the power. On the Council decisions we find under the names of Joseph and his three fellow mayors, four aldermen, the two architects and the secretary noted:
“And on the 11th February the Magistrate, Secretary and Whole City Council is renovated by the Revolutionary Committee, being Ane Buwalda, Tjalling Gonggrijp, Dr. van der Ley, Dr. A. B. Felting. “
In their place is appointed a “municipality” of eight persons. The “old regime” has come to a definite end and the “Batavian Republic” was born. This Republic will make way in 1806 to the Kingdom of Holland under Louis Napoleon until he is removed by his brother and our country will be from 1810 to 1813 a part of the French Empire.
12.10 Later life
Joseph and Geertruidt are the first Noyons whose painted portraits have survived.
These paintings are now in the Frisian Maritime Museum in Sneek. The coloring of the painted portraits, who are not without merit, is black, white and gray – the artist is unknown –. They are skillfully framed in a beautifully wood-carved, black with gold “counting money” frame. While not facing each other, they are undoubtedly simultaneously made by the same painter.
The figures are clearly middle-aged and could therefore only have been portrayed years after their marriage, possibly in the 1770s, when Joseph was appointed to master builder. Both are dressed in their best clothes, Joseph with wig and jabot, Geertruidt with a fine lace “German hat” and fichu. We can not call them handsome, but the painter was able to place in both facial expression a mild irony, which recalls for Joseph a vague reminiscent of his older contemporary Voltaire.
Eighteen months after Joseph’s resignation appeared in the Oprechte Haarlemmer Courant the following ad:
“Today afternoon, at 2:30 o’clock, died in Christian way, to me and my children hurtful sorrow, my tenderly beloved Husband JOSEPH NOYON, when alive Old Mayor of this city, to a Throat disease with Fevers of five days, at the age of 59 years and 10 months, after one blessed marriage of 37 years. Inform along this now usual way Friends and Acquaintances, with the request to withhold Letters of Condolence.
Sneek, the 18 November 1796
Gertruida MUNNIKS, Widow Joseph Noyon “.
Geertruida, whose daughter was married a few months earlier, was left alone in the house at the Grootzand. Here she remains living until she moved in 1800 to the Scharsterkwartier. Her son Peter and his wife and five children will then settle themselves on the Grootzand.
On April 18, 1806 P. Noyon informs in an advertisement, also on behalf of his sister M. van der Schaaff, that his mother is deceased that afternoon from the effects of a stroke at the age of 71 years.