A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Agriculture by Christian Welker, Jr.

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
Translated by Brad Schwebler

     The history of agriculture for the Germans of Feketitsch begins with the year 1817-18, as our farmers gradually migrated to Feketitsch.  They did not come to Feketitsch directly from the Empire, but from surrounding German settlement communities where as German settlers they were immediately made residents, or their descendants had already tried their luck here as independent farmers.

     There were also here, just like the farmers, "Urbarial-Untertanen?" (cultivating subjects?).

     What is an "Urbarium"?  Or what do we understand by the name "Urbarial-Untertan"?

     Urbarium, which is the lawful relationship between the village inhabitant and the lords of manors which existed in the Hungary of that time up to 1836. - According to this Urbarium the "Untertanen", and the Germans of Feketitsch at the time, had to give up one tenth of the control of their whole "Fechsung?", and this part with their own wagons and coverings were guided onto the ruler's stepping ground and the rulers allowed them to leave the field with their particulars.

     Besides the fruit offerings the Urbarial farmer also had to give up a tenth of his cattle and poultry, which he had bred himself, as well as eggs, bed feathers, butter, lard, and grapes supplied to the rulers.

     After this Urbarial law the "Robot", that is the work for the Lords without reason, also had to be achieved and admittedly one session of field from 80 to 100 square fathoms had to be worked by the small homeowner up to 18 days a year and by the proprietor up to 12 days a year.      

     In contrast the rights existing according to Urbarial law since 1796 were conceived exclusively for the rulers. - This law contained the rights in 15 points together and according to the following order:

   1) Restriction of the permissiveness; which meant so much that no "Untertan" was allowed to leave his seat and wander away without consent from his Lord, and with this his whole family was bound to the ground.

   2) The Lord of the manor also acted as the primary authority in the jurisdiction over civil matters.

   3) At village judge elections the Lord of the manor had the right to select three candidates, from which the community could then elect the judge.

   4) The exclusive right to alcohol from the bar was also determined by the Lord, and even the production of spirits and beer belonged in the realm of the rulers.

   5) Only the Lord of the manor has the right to sell fresh meat.

   6) The hunting rights also belonged to the Lord of the manor alone, that is, only the Lord of the manor had the right right to hunt on his whole property.

   7) Only the Lord of the manor alone had exclusive rights to fishing.

   8) Only the Lord of the manor had the right to burn bricks and roof tiles on his properties.

   9) Only the Lord of the manor had the right to erect mills, including horse, water, wind, and oil mills, as well as hemp graters.


  10) Only the Lord of the manor had the right to levy market and stall fees on his properties.

  11) The right to transfer with the "Pletten?" over the river in areas which touched on properties of the Lord of the manor was also only the right of the Lord of the manor alone.

  12) Forest rights, as well as the "Rohrung" (reed) rights, (except for individual little areas which belonged to the Urbarial fields or the "Hutweide" (border meadow), also belonged only to the Lord of the manor.  Even the "Knoppern" harvest, as well as the "Eichelmaßt?", only the Lord of the manor had the right to give it away.

   13) Small general stores, as well as vaults, only the Lord of the manor had the right to open on his properties.

   14) Pasture rights: The Lord of the manor had the right to let his cattle graze everywhere.  

   15) Property rights: The Lord of the manor was always the staid owner of everything and allowed his "Untertanen" to leave without any compensation whatsoever.

     It would certainly not be without interest, especially for the next generation, to know that the tithing was not actually carried out.

     The word "Zehent" (tenth) should merely say: handing in output, today known as tax, it may not be taken in the sense of the word because the rulers did not receive a tenth, but rather a seventh part of the "Fechsung?" and to be precise this happened in the following grain:

      When the farmer was finished with the removal, he was not allowed to take the grain away from the field until it was taxed by the authorities of the ruler.  The official of the ruler, or one of his "Ispane?", came to the "Hotter", but usually August passed first (one can determine himself how much grain is to be taxed from the agreement based on the relationship of the weather to the quantity, but especially if it suffered in quality).  The "Panduren?" guided the way, stood still at each piece of land, asked the farmer how many "Kreuze" he had, calculated from it how much belonged to the ruler, the 7th part, then the farmer was given a note showing the amount of Kreuze paid, and then the Panduren drove away to the second piece of field where he waited for the next farmer at the end of his field.  To check the amount of Kreuze given by the farmers the "Ispan" brought some mounted "Roboter?" with him from another village who did spot checks here and there to count the Kreuze again.  He made certain with these riders which farmers did not make their Kreuze payment.  If the farmer had more Kreuze than he had given to the "Ispan", he was punished with 12 lashes with the cane, which was then annotated at the place and position by the "Panduren" who was present.

     After tithing to the ruler's "Ispan" the farmer had to start at the end of his field and load each seventh "Kreuz" of yield and drive to the ruler's place.  On the "Tretplatz?" (threshold) the farmer handed over his goods to the "Ispan" who received a note from the "Roboter" who double checked the sheaves and if the number on the note matched, the sheaves were properly placed on the sheaf slide, which was an open sided barn, by the "Roboter".  The small homeowner and proprietor were received as well.  The double checker of the sheaves established a small number the farmer should take, so 12 beatings would be given again, and the missing sheafs had to be made up for later.  Before the tithing the farmer was not allowed to drive away until all the rulers had been introduced.

     When the fruit was presented to the ruler on the ruler's threshold the "Austreten?" (stamping out) had begun.  The "Austreten" was awarded to the "Robot"  or the "Teilaustreten?"  In the second half of the last century the fruit left by the farmers from Kula or Old Sivac still had to be transferred to the ruler's storehouse.

     In a similar fashion the tithing was carried out with the grain (Halmfrüchtenernte) harvest and the farmer's other plants, so that at the time, as well as in the first half of the 19th century, the farmer had to pay taxes in money instead. This is usually the case today, and the offerings to the ruler or to the state were accomplished with natural produce, and this with his coverings still had to be supplied to one other community.  


Source: Die Deutschen der Gemeinde Feketic-Feketitsch by Dr. Viktor Pratscher, 1936. Herausgegeben vom Festausschusz der Gedenkfeier.

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]