From Peter Vanbrabant to Amber
18 Aug 2004

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Attached is a picture of the house. I modified the picture to show you the original parts at the time of the Haumonts.
I'll send you also separately the original picture (not modified)

The house was situated at the centre of the village, at less than 100 meter from the Church.
The house was bought by the Family Haumont in 1863 from the children of Arnold Houbrix.
From 1868 until 1872 it was owned by both Joseph Haumont and Isidore Haumont.
In 1872 Isidore sold his part to Joseph and it was then owned by Joseph Haumont and his wife Marie Anna Honlet.
In 1873 Joseph Haumont died and the farm was then owned by Marie Anna Honlet together with her children.
In 1874 Marie Anna Honlet married to Edouard Lavigne. People still talked about this marriage more than 100 years later. It was a tradition that when a widow (Like Maria Anna Honlet) or a widower remarried, that the audience would make a lot of rough music (literally translated the word is kettle music) by beating with (sledge-)hammers on the 'repen' (the word 'repen' means the iron bands that blacksmiths would forge around wooden cartwheels, I don't know the English word for that). At the 'first call' of such a marriage announcement the whole village was there and the 'kettle music' only ended late in the night after a treat or at the actual marriage. It was the 'music' at this marriage that people remembered so much later.

In 1901, the usufruct by the children of the marriage Haumont-Honlet ended.
In 1903, the house was sold to the children of  Isidore Lavigne-Aldegondis Smets. The big barn was sold to the family Janvier who had a farm just beside the Haumont farm.

In 1911, the farm was enlarged with additional buildings (see picture)
Around 1990 the house was pulled down.

The house must have been very old. On some old maps from 1778, 1808 and 1840 (I have some copies of them) you can still see the 3 original sides of the house. In the 18th century this house was owned by Lambert van Fal. He was one of the last member of the noble family Hinnisdael. This noble family owned Vechmaal in the middle ages.

With vast farmland in a part of Vechmaal called 'De Bruul' (between Vechmaal and Widooie) and with seven mares and one stallion, this farm was at the time of the Haumonts one of the largest farms in Vechmaal.

This farm was the first one in the region to stop with using manual 'teilen'-system for skimming the milk. A 'teil' is a shallow, eartheware bowl with a dowdler. The milk was put in this 'teil' an then put in a cellar to cool it. After a while the cream floated on the surface and by keeping one's thumb on the dowdler, the decreamed milk could be poured out and separated from the cream. In the farm of the Haumont, they installed a hand laboured skimming machine in on of the rooms near the entrance. For a small amount of money, the less fortunate people of the village with one or two cows could bring their milk to skim it. This is also why people called this farm the 'factory' or the 'dairy'.

The second husband of Maria Honlet, Edouard Lavigne, was also the first farmer to introduce a new crop, the sugar-beet in Vechmaal. This happened around 1890. They had to bring the sugar-beets to a sugar plant in Oreye at approximately 20 km from Vechmaal. One of the habits in the hunting season was sticking the 'vreeweister'. The 'vreeweister' was kind of a stake with straw tied to the upper part of it. It was a warning to the hunters that hunting was prohibited on these sugar-beet fields

A brother (Gilles Vanbrabant) of my great-grand father used to be a servant at this farm. That must have been around 1895. Servant were hired by the big farmers on a yearly contract. The servants who left their boss, went away on March 15th, those who came arrived on the evening of March 19th.

Children started to work on this farm at the age of 12. They went into service to look after the pigs. This servant was called 'verkesjoât' in the local dialect. Also on Sundays, he went to church in the morning and immediately after the mass, he went out to herd the pigs. If he was good at his job, then he was promoted after a couple of years to 'vatchie'. He then had to do more laborious work, like watering the calves, muck out the cow house or help the stableman or the maid. At the age of 16 or 17 he then became a groom to look after the horses.

Of course also the farmer's wife needed help. The 'Moag' (farmer's maid) helped milking the cows, feed the pigs and doing work in the kitchen.

A day on the farm started in the summer time at 4 AM in the morning and in winter time around 5 or 6 AM in the morning, because then there was less work in the fields. In summer time the farm servants had to be ready to go to the fields by 6 AM. Before that hour they had to give the horses water, oats and hay. Also they had to put the collar on the horse to make it ready for work. Around 11 AM they came back home. In the afternoon, around 1 PM, they went back to the fields. Around 6 PM, they came back home to feed the horses and at 7PM they went to table for the last time.

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"Klein Munckhof" (little Munckhof)
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From Peter to Amber
Sept 24, 2004
The house where Isidore Haumont lived before he emigrated to the US, is build between 1807 and 1840 (this is as far as I could narrow it down).

In 1844 the house was owned by the 3 daughters of Barthelemy Cuvelier (in your family tree): Sophie, Marie Josephina and Maria Cathérina Cuvelier.

In 1865 Joseph Haumont and Maria Catherina Cuvelier inherited the house (this information is not completely correct, It is most likely the children of J. Haumont-Cuvelier since both parents are deceased in 1865). In 1870 the house became the property of Isidore Haumont and Maria Elisabeth François. This is also the year of their marriage.

In 1902 the house was sold to Walter Francois who had returned from the US to Vechmael. Referring to the life story of Phyllis Govaerts, this was in fact part of a deal, an exchange of property, that Walter Francois made with Isidore Haumont to exchange his house in Nebraska for Isidore's house in Vechmaal. Because of this trade the family Govaerts-Francois who lived in the house of Walter Francois had to move to French Table in a Severijns' house.

People who visited or returned to Belgium like Walter Francois were often telling stories on the mechanisation of agriculture. These stories were very fascinating for the local people living in Vechmael but they considered it a mere fantasy. Walter Francois who bought this farm in 1902, died in the age of 63 in 1919 due to the Spanish flue. At the end of World War I, a lot of people (it was told 75% of the population) were infected by the virus and several people, like Walter Francois, died of the disease.

After the death of Walter Francois, the house was sold in 1920 to Alfons Piette - Fina Lavigne for the price of 57000 Belgian Francs. People called the farm at that time "Bij Foos Piette", however in the earlier days, the farm was called "Klein Munckhof" (little Munckhof). You can see the name Munckhof appearing several times in your family tree. The farm had that name because it was once owned by the 3 daughters of Barthelemy Cuvelier. The family Cuvelier bought this farm in the first half of the 19th century from the Dumont Family (I know the Dumont family is related to the Delvigne family, the wife of Barthelemy Cuvelier was a Delvigne..).

The farm was located at less than 1 km from the 'real' Munckhof and the road between the 2 farms was called 'Munckhofkriezel'.

When you walked from the farm Munckhof to Vechmaal in the 19th century, then the house of Isidore was the first house you saw when entering the village.

At this moment, Isidore's house is still a farm, but also renovated as accommodation for tourists. Please have a look at the website for more pictures (the information is of course in Dutch). The farm and the tourist accommodations are run by Bart Daemen, the grandson of René Miguet.(see your family tree)

The Munckhof also still exists and is a very large, a very old and beautiful farm. I will send you separately the pictures related to this farm.

Also this farm has a small website:
The Munckhof or Monnikenhof (you can translate it in Monk's farm) is founded in the year 1175. The countess of Loon gave the land to the abbey of Villers. Munks of that abbey stayed and worked on that farm until at least the beginning of the 14th century. This also explains why the farm is called Monk's farm (Munckhof). The abbey of Villers owned the farm from 1175 until 1582. In 1582 the abbey gave the farm to the chapter of the cathedral of Liège. It is the chapter of Liège that constructed the existing buildings in the beginning of the 17th century.

At least over the last 500 years the farm was leased to tenant farmers. The list of known tenant farmers starts with Hendrik van Hinnisdael in 1505.

In 1770 Gillis Delvigne, the great-great grandfather of Isidore Haumont, became the new tenant farmer. At that time the farm was still owned by the chapter of the cathedral of Liège. Gilles Delvigne was married to Mechtildis Louwet.

Some years later, during the French Revolution, the domain of Munckhof was confiscated like so many other properties of the Catholic Church. On February 1st 1798, the farm with farmlands and meadows was sold to the notary Emmanuel Lefebvre for the benefit of Charles Clément Roemers, head of the department of Nedermaas (this was the name of our region or province in the years after the French revolution: Département de la Meuse Inférieur) in Maastricht for the sum of 2.800.000 Francs. The farm of Munckhof consisted of 169 'bunders' (/ appr 417 acres) of farmland en meadows, rented out to Gilles Delvigne for the price of 169 mudden (mudde = old measure of volume) spelt and other charges, whereof  621 guilder to the municipality of Heks and 2 cartloads of cabbage. 2.800.000 francs paid in assignats, was in fact a giveaway price, because already in 1796 an assignat only had only 1/100 of their original value. (Assignats are the banknotes used during the French Authority. According to local tradition, they had paid 25.000 francs in silver money. However Mr Roemers was not for a long time the owner of the Munckhof. On June 18th 1808, an exchange of property takes place between him and his sister in law Anne Antoinette Nivaer, who then becomes the owner of the farm and the surrounding farmlands. After Gilles Delvigne deceased on October 23rd 1801, the lease goes to his son Jozef Delvigne, who was also the mayor of Heks from 1801 until 1813. The family Delvigne will remain at the Munckhof for several years together with the family Cuvelier. Barthelemy Cuvelier was married to Agnes Delvigne (see also the funeral card of Renerius Delvigne who died at the Munckhof.) In 1828, a new lease contract is made by miss Nivaer, now for the children of Barthelemy en Agnes Delvigne, both deceased.

After the death of Anne Antoinette Nivaer, the legacy has to be divided amongst her heirs. To resolve the joint ownership, the goods are sold on November 14th, 1839. The domain of Munckhof (the house with buildings and approximately 153 hectares (375 acres) farmland and meadows are bought by Léonard Naveau, owner at Lantremange and married to Anne Rosalie Delahaud. On September 2, 1844, Pascal Jozef Goetseels is the tenant farmer at Munckhof. So this means that at that time the family Cuvelier is no longer living on the farm.

According to the stories in your family tree also Joseph II Haumont and Marie Catherine Cuvelier retired here for a while before moving to Lanklaar.

This took some verification from Amber.  I am adding her story of this home
for added insight.
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Ambers picture of mother in front of home taken in 1980's Peter and son infront of the De Horne restaurant
From: Amber to Peter
12 Aug 2004

     Also, the old Govaerts place where my Opa “Pierre van Jooskes” used to live is now a restaurant the de Horne (I love to know that about his nickname). I will send you a picture of my mother and the owner in another email.  She actually had the picture of them enlarged and hangs on her wall at home. His name is Jean Vanormelingen.
     He was very good to my mom.  She said they felt as though they were cousins. He showed her the place and she has a picture of the two of them in front of the old home place.  His Uncle “Marcel” was married to Jeanne Govaerts, who was the daughter of Willem Martinus GOVAERTS. Martinus was Pierre’s brother.  Jeanne took care of her Uncles and father until they died. When Jeanne died, the place went to Marcel.
     It was kind of sad when my great Oma went back to visit in the ‘60’s.  At that time, she just wanted to see the old Govaerts home place.  But, they were afraid she was coming to take it away from them and wouldn’t let her see it.  She just wanted to visit you know.
From: Peter to Amber
 12 Aug 2004
So I was right! 'De Horne' was the Govaerts house.
The restaurant is now a very nice an pittoresque place.
Jean Vanormelingen renovated the house and turned it into a very successfull restaurant/bar.
Attached is a picture of me and my son in front of the house.(made by my father last week when we went to Vechmaal)
From: Peter to Amber
16 Sept 2004

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<<Schilderij Plantyn.ZIP>>
The screwsteamer "Plantyn" was built in 1879 by A.Stephen & Sons, Glasgow for the Belgian company, Engels Line. She was a 2,328 gross ton ship, length 320.3ft x beam 36ft, straight stem, one funnel, three masts (rigged for sail), iron construction, single screw and a speed of 10 knots. Launched on 17/9/1879, she left Glasgow on her maiden voyage to New York and Antwerp on 1/10/1879. On 27/11/1879 she commenced her first Antwerp - New York voyage for the Engels/White Cross Line joint service. Her last voyage from Antwerp to New York commenced 19/10/1883 and she was abandoned at sea while on passage from New York to Antwerp. Most of her passengers and crew were saved by the Jersey brigantine "G.D.T." (appr 10 people lost their live) and she sank the same day.


The translation from Dutch is as follows (I'm not translating the prayers on the funeral card)

        Pray for the soul of the very reverend
                Renerius Delvigne
        Priest and Canon of the former chapter of Loon
        who, devoutly as he has lived, is deceased at the farm of Munkhof in Hex
        on June 18th 1830 at the age of 70 years.

Soon I will tell you much more on the Munkhof (translateable as 'munks farm').
This farm (also called Munckhof or Monnikenhof or Munickhof) shows up several times in your family tree.


Dated: 27 Feb 1898
Letter owned by Amber, Translation by Peter

Email sent by Peter with letters:

Julien was married to Marie Haumont (a daughter of Joseph Haumont and Marie-Anne Honlet, and sister of the Haumont brothers that emigrated to the US). But you probably knew this.
As you could read in the letter, he was very knowledgeable on agriculture.
He also wrote a book in 1893:
De meststoffen in den tuinbouw / Gustave de Marneffe ; Julien Haumont. - Brussel : Castaigne, 1893. - 60 p.
("Fertilizers in horticulture" A copy is in the library of the university of Antwerp.)
He mentioned in his letter also that his wife Marie and his sons Louis and Camille would send a separate letter.
That letter was also one of the copies you sent me.
Attached is the translation in Dutch and English and also the original letter that I scanned.
In the footnotes I identified the people that are discussed in the letter
Because this letter is related to the first letter from Julien Haumont (and because I've added Johan and Roger)  I've also added the Dutch and English version and a scanned version of the original.Only the English version contains in the footnotes the identification of the names used in the letter.


A collection of letters (going from 1883 to 1898) that was copied in 2001 by Henri Grutman. Henri Grutman (born 1925 married Elza Haumont (born 1930, granddaughter of Louis Haumont). He emigrated from Belgium and became a farmer in St. Mathias (Rouville) in Québec, Canada.

He got copies (?) of the original letters from Hetty Bell (1997-1993), wife of Frank J. Haumont (1894-1973)  in April 1973. (see also the attached letter from Hetty Bell Haumont to Henri Grutman). Frank J. Haumont died in Feb 1973. The letter from Hetty Bell Haumont to Henri Grutman is only 2 months after the death of Frank Haumont.

So most likely the original letters are still in the collection of the descendants of Hetty Bell Haumont (Mary Bell Haumont Cooksley) or perhaps in Canada in the collection of Henri Grutman.

On the internet I also found a drawing of the harbor of New York and Manhattan in 1883. This picture was published in 'The New York Album' one month after the arrival of the group from Vechmaal in New York.

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