The Great Louisendorfian Land Dispute of 1701

Town Map of Louisendorf

Town Map of Louisendorf

The second translated document from the Hessian State Archives (document 5/9838) mentions a land dispute between Pierre Chastain and Pierre Armant’s widow, Françoise. This document, a letter dated February 28, 1701, was sent from the Privy Council of the province to the Vice Chancellor in Marburg. In it, the council mentions a complaint filed by Françoise Armant. She claimed that land meant for her was stolen by Pierre Chastain. The letter only mentions her accusations. I haven’t yet found anything that details Pierre’s claim to the land or how this matter was settled. We do know that this event occurred in 1701 and that Pierre was in Louisendorf from 1692 until 1717.

Here is Ann Sherwin’s translation, which, like the last document, is a summary and not a literal word-for-word translation:

Please see from the attached that Pierre Armant’s widow of Hammenhausen has petitioned us, complaining that the land parcel left by a French refugee by the name of François Arnoux and reassigned to her husband, has now, contrary to expectations, been taken from her by another refugee, Pierre Chastain, who wormed his way in to you, unable to furnish any prior claim and without providing her with any compensation, and that this Pierre Chastain was allegedly granted permission to build there. Is it true that François Arnoux was originally entitled to the parcel and does she now have a rightful claim to it? We submit this disputed case to you and ask that you investigate and hear the testimonies of all parties concerned and send us a report of your findings and a recommendation, so that we may act accordingly.
Cassel, the 28th of February 1701

to Vice Chancellor
Vultejum in Marburg

I would love to know how this dispute was resolved. Was Pierre at fault or was it a misunderstanding? I am also intrigued by some of the language used in the letter, how Pierre Chastain “wormed his way into you”. It seems like a direct quote from Françoise, like she is accusing the council itself or some other arm of the local government of unlawfully giving Pierre permission to build on her land.

I’m going to keep searching, but we’ll most likely never know exactly what happened.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *