Zutzendorf Marriage Contract

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Marriage Contract
George Reeb and Miss Catherine Jung
Dated January 24, 1854

Maitre* Rinch, lawyer, residing at Ingwiller, and in the real presence of witnesses named and who have signed at the end of this document. {*Refers to member of legal profession]

Have Appeared:
Mr. George Reeb, apprentice cart right, son of legal age of Mr. George Reeb, cart right, and of Mrs. Marie Martin, husband and wife, with whom he lives at Zutzendorf on the land. And Miss Catherine Jung, daughter of legal age of Mr. George Jung, farmer, and of Mrs. Catherina Schneider, his wife, living all together in the said Zutzendorf on the other land. The said Mr. Reeb Jr. and the said Miss Jung, proceeding with the authorization of their respective father and another to present themselves as future spouses, have set their marriage contract in the following manner:

Article 1

There will be only one community property which will be limited to the acquisitions by the future spouses who exclude what each brings into the marriage respectively, be it furnishings or real estate as well as all which will come to each of them during the marriage by succession, by gifts, by legacy or in any other way given him or her. When the marriage is dissolved (meaning by death or otherwise) this community property thus limited will be divided equally between the spouses or their heirs without taking into account personal debts which or will be resolved separately by each one responsible for them.
     At the time of such dissolution, each party or its successors will exercise the right to remove his clothing, old garments, worn vestments and personal linen in replacement of objects of this nature brought to the marriage without concern as to whether the value is greater or lesser.

Article II

In order to facilitate the establishment of the future spouses, the Father and Mother Reeb declare, the wife doing so with marital permission that they make the following donations to the future husband, which he accepts along with numerous enumerated legal restrictions –

They give:
     The house in which they are living which consists of a simple first floor with courtyard, barn, stables, hanger and cart right workshop, kitchen garden, rights and appurtenances and dependence, all this situated at Zutzendorf: on one side lies the property of Pierre Brumm, on the other the one of Jacques Haefsig (?): in the front is the village path and the land in the back is owned by Jean Pfenning;
     And approximately 3 “ares” (land unit of approximately 100 sq. meters – close to 100 sq. yards) of meadow at the end of Zutzendorf canton called Wintersmatt auf den Kirchweg, between Michael Jung’s and Jacques Staub’s places, leading at the top to? and delineated at the bottom by a path.
    These properties are not rented and for the purpose of recording of title are estimated to ear a gross annual income of 48 frs.
    Also included in this donation are all tools and utensils needed in the profession of cart right, such as they are at present in the workshop, the agricultural implements such as a wagon with its floor and racks, a plough, a harrow, the barn tools, the pots including the boiler for washing cloths which is in the kitchen and in general everything which is part of the buildings or held by nail, lime, peg, or cement.
    From the day of his marriage, the donee will be able to do what he wishes with the property and such assets as listed, to enjoy the benefit of ownership or to dispose of it in the same manner as the donors have done, should have done or could have done.
    This donation has been made and accepted with the following charges, reservations and conditions which the respective parties engage themselves to execute:

  1. The donors reserve for themselves and for the surviving one of them the right of free habitation in said house as well as mastership over the transmitted assets for as long as they please; this right consists of directing the household and practicing the profession of cart right as in the past with no interference; they take on the charge of granting to the young spouses housing in the donated house and the necessary space to shelter their furniture, their foodstuffs and their cattle; to furnish them with food for their sustenance, food of the same nature and quality as their own and to let them use the cultivating tools when they need them for tilling their land.

In the other hand, the young spouses will be held during all the time of mastership to work for the benefit of and under the direction of the donors, as the latter will direct them.

  1. At the resignation of the mastership the donors, or the surviving donor, will continue to occupy said house in common with the future spouses with co-usage of all the other parts without exception to the amount of half of the total estate to be agreed upon; they shall also be able to use as often as they wish the furniture and cart right tools transmitted above, with right to the fire and light of the future spouses.
  2. Philippe and Michel Reeb, other sons of the donors, will have right to free housing in the said house for the duration of their celibacy; they will occupy in particular the rooms in the back with the right to stow away their furniture and to cook their meals in the kitchen.
  3. The future husband and wife jointly engage themselves to deduct for the estimated value of the given assets the sum of 1600 frs, of which 400 frs. Are reserved for the donors to be paid them (or to the survivor of them) in full at their first demand; the rest is to be divided amongst the three sons of the donors so that each have 400 frs. For his part; the future husband will retain his portion in kind and pledge to pay the parts of Philippe and Michel Reeb, his brothers, as they establish themselves or as they renounce the right of habitation which has just been reserved them in which case interest will be paid them from the time of their 21st year at the rate of five percent per year.

However, if one of the sons should continue to inhabit such house after his 25th year, he will no longer have right to the interest on his part and at that time he will be compensated with the sum above mentioned.
     Until all these transactions are terminated, the said house and its outbuildings, even mortgaged and affected, will stay to whom they rightly belong.

Article III

This article deals with the fact that if the future wife survives her husband she will have the option to take on the above described contract, including the little meadow, and the same rights will be accorded her with the stipulation she grant the rights described above, particularly the rights of habitation and c-usage to Father and Mother Reeb and their two younger sons; she also assumes the obligation of setting aside the sum of 1600 frs.

Article IV

The future wife declares she brings to the marriage as dowry the following list

    The sum of 100 frs. In coins, earned from her wages as a domestic . A credit of 500 frs. From Marguerite Jung and Andre’ Reeb, spouses at Zutzendorf, for her part in the paternal house given them in accordance with their marriage contract received by Maitre Nuick (?) who has the record, on December 18, 1852, and owed her on the day of her marrige.
On their side the father and Mother Jung, the wife doing so with marital permission, give to said daughter as dowry, this being an advance on her inheritance, a trousseau containing the following effects, deliverable on the day of the marriage:

A bed mad of fir 12 frs.
A straw mattress with mat                 5 frs
A feather mattress covered withlinen cloths from Braband (Belgium)      20 frs.
A quilt mad of cotton and linen     24 frs
5 linen pillowcases, 3 bed bolsters, two of which are linen and the third in linen from Brabant                              60 frs.
A bed curtain   12 frs
6 sheets  20 fsr.
6 hemp tablecloths 18 frs.
6 others made of tow cloth   12 frs.
6 hand kitchen towels         6 frs.
6 napkins                 4 frs.
A cherry wardrobe with 2 doors 50 frs.
A table                                                                            8 frs.
2 chairs             4 frs
7 ˝ kgrms. Of hemp    15 frs.
A chest made of fir           6 frs.

Total estimate of the trousseau of the future wife, 300 frs. Total of all assets brought by the future wife for which Mr. Reeb consents to be charged by the fact along of the celebration of the marriage: 900 frs.
    The future husband brings and considers as is own 6 sacks of grain estimated at 12 frs

Article V

    The Father and Mother Reeb – the wife still with the permission of her husband – give. . . As a wedding gift to the future wife who accepts with gratitude, half of approximately 20  “ares” of land at the end of Zutzendorf, canton auf dem Rad, between the properties of Jacques Mugler and Michel Shini, not rented, and for recording to title estimated to earn a gross income of 8 frs.
    (omitted legal text)
    If the future wife were to die without children from the projected union, this gift would go to the future husband or to his heirs.
    The surviving future husband, as long as he will stay in the vicinity, will keep the free usage of the future wife’s bed with three pillow cases (or perhaps could mean changes of bedding) of his choice.

Article VI

If the marriage is dissolved (by death) without children, the surviving spouse will have five equal terms to pay the heirs of the dead spouse all he might owe them on the price of the house, the first of these terms to occur within a year of the dissolution of the marriage and the other four in the years immediately succeeding
    Such are the articles agreed upon by the parties in the presence of their respective parents.
    Therefore the Agreement written and passed, read and interpretered in German at Zutzendorf, in the house of the spouses Jung, in the year 1854, on the 24th of January, in the real presence of Mr. Jean Reeb, Sr., former Mayor and farmer hand of Mr. Jean George Richert, also a farmer, witnesses, the two of them living at Zutzendorf.
    Before closing and to conform to the law, Maitre Rinck has read tot eh parties Articles 1391 and 1394 of the Napoleonic Code and has given them the certificate prescribed by the last article to be presented to the magistrate before the celebration of marriage.
    And the parties, along with their witnesses and the lawyer signed the draft of this act, which carries the following mention at the end:
    Recorded at Bouxviller on the 8th of February 1854, etc. . . . with a list of taxes and fees paid including one for gift of property between foreigners.

Reproduced by permission: Reeb-Reb, European Heritage, by Michael C. Reeb, self-published, fall 2001



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