Nagyszekeley (Gross Säckel) was a village situated on the Domains of Simontornya owned by the Counts Limburg Stirum since 1700.  The first settlers who established it were Reformed/Calvinist Hungarians.  In the Tax Conscription Lists of 1728 they were still identified as hereditary serfs.  The first German settlers to arrive were Lutherans.  In 1728 they were identified as free peasants with the right and freedom to migrate.  The Hungarian settlers who preceded them did not have a contract or settlement agreement with the Limburg Stirum family and served their feudal lord as serfs.  As a result, the rights and obligations of the arriving German settlers were to be clearly spelled out.  But in Point Three of their contract:  the right and freedom to migrate was denied the German settlers in Nagyszekeley unlike any other contract or settlement agreement involving other German settlers in Tolna County.  They were in a sense placed at the same level as the Hungarian serfs.


     The number of Hungarian families increased naturally by births, while the number of German families rose with the arrival of more and more immigrants from Germany.  In 1728 there were fifteen Hungarian families and fifty German families registered.  There are no reports of any difficulties between the two groups.  When the three years of freedom from paying taxes was over, the Germans noticed that more was being asked and demanded of them than the contract requirements they had agreed to.  In their new homeland, the right to change regulations and obligations in a contract was the sole prerogative of the noble, not his subjects.  Changes in that regard needed the approval of the County officials, all of whom were nobles and landlords themselves.  In effect, the German settlers were powerless.


     In October of 1730 the German inhabitants of Gross Säckel presented their official complaint that the Limburg Stirums did not fulfill their obligations in the contact and agreement that they had jointly signed and brought it to the attention of the State Chancellery.  Contrary to the regulations of the contract, they had been forced to deliver, transport and thresh the one ninth of their crops that was their due to provide to their landlord.  They had objected to doing this for the past three years and their resident Richter was fined and a cow was taken away from him.  Nor did they receive free wood for building purposes or for heating their homes and the noble grazed his cattle and sheep on the pastures allotted to the settlers.


     The State Chancellery sent correspondence to the County Administration to ascertain why the obligations of the subjects of the Limburg Stirum Domains had been increased.  The County saw the matter in a much different light.  They reported that the German peasants were being dealt with according to their contract with Count Limburg Stirum.  Transporting, delivering, unloading and threshing the ninth of their crops were part of their obligations.  The German inhabitants of Gross Säckel were ordered to do so by the County Notary.


     Gross Säckel was not satisfied with the reply and sent another communiqué to the State Chancellery.  It stated that in their contract there was no mention of transporting and threshing, and the County should inform the nobleman to live up to the conditions of the contract and not add to their obligations unlawfully.  Three days later on March 10th, they sent their next complaint to the State Chancellery.  The Präfekt (administrator) of the Domain, along with two County officials came to the village and confiscated two oxen from the stable of Christoph Bremer, who was the community’s representative at Pressburg at the time, along with two cows and a wagon of Adam Reisz who had accompanied him, and ordered their wives and families to leave the village within twelve hours.  In addition the Prafekt ordered the village to provide a ninth of the best part of the crop to replace, what he called, the straw they had provided.


     The State Chancellery ordered the County to settle the dispute.


     But by now, emotions were running high.  Representatives from the village returned to Simontornya to confront the County, and were promised that if they brought their ninth of the crop to Simontornya and threshed it there, the oxen and cows would be returned.  Returning home to report to their fellow villagers, the people were not prepared to do as they were told, nor would they allow the Limburg Stirums to break their contract.  A contract was as binding for a noble as it was for his subjects, and for that reason they would not tolerate the nobleman’s flock of sheep to pasture on the village common.  The villagers chased the sheep from the commons and “Lipps Neiterer” (Philip Neitert) beat the nobleman’s shepherd.  The Richter of the village, Leonhard Hajatt sided with the nobleman and hurried to his mansion in Simontornya and reported the news to him.  As soon as he left an assembly of the villagers declared him deposed from office.  The leader of the “revolutionaries”, Jakob Lipps (Jakob Phillips) was acclaimed the new Richter.   Valentin Hambuch was chosen Klein Richter and Paul Heinrich acted as notary.


    Now the Limburg Striums went on the offensive.  The Prafekt, Christian Queck, took Lipps Neitert, who had assaulted the shepherd and had him arrested, put him into chains in preparation to taking him to prison in Simontornya.  As several of the villagers sought to free him the arresting official drew his sword, and Stephan Neitert held a knife against his chest.  As the official cried out to the Prafekt for help, Queck fled for his life.  The villagers attempted to prevent him from escaping and tried to block his way out of the village, but he managed to elude them with rocks flying after him.  Then they turned on the shepherd.  Stormed his house, beat him up, and took his fur coat.  They also threatened him, saying that if the Count had been there, it would have been even worse for him, because back home in Germany they would have beaten and thrashed their landlord too.


     Now the County went on the attack.  A commission held a hearing involving those who had played a leading role, but these men raised new issues and complaints against the Count.  The Count’s underlings had sold acorns to others when they should have been given to the villagers to feed their pigs according to their contract, but he would only offer to sell the acorns to them.  In the winter time they were forced to drive their wagons loaded with hay and produce to Simontornya on impassible roads placing their teams of horses and oxen at great peril, and any who complained were locked up for three or four hours in the dungeon and on release had to pay a fine.  They had not wanted to beat up the Prafekt, but simply free Naiterer Stefl (Stephan Neitert).  They had only rung the bell because someone had cried out, “Fire”.  As to who that was they answered only God knows.  The Count’s shepherd, Johann Pulver had earned his beating because he had charged that all of them had been driven out of their homeland for being rabble rousers before coming to Hungary.


     According to the record of the hearing, there were thirteen Hungarians and eight Germans involved.  The majority of the Germans were retainers of the Count: the shepherd, huntsman, grocer and caretaker of the forest, and their wives.  All of them supported the charges made by the Count.


     The Count sent two sets of Minutes of the proceedings to the State Chancellery with the notation that if the insolent behavior of the German peasants was not punished, more of the same could be expected elsewhere.  For that reason they must be condemned.


     The State Chancelley replied to the County on June 30, 1731 and advised that the Swabians in Gross Säckel must be brought to the seat of justice and be punished for their actions.  In addition, the Count must be held to account in fulfilling his obligations in his contract, so that colonists from Germany would not be scared off from settling in Tolna County in the future.  The rabble rousers who led the revolt were to be condemned both by the courts and the County to put fear into others who might attempt the same thing.  In addition the County was instructed to define what it meant to provide one ninth of their crops and what was involved in all future contracts.


     Documentation ends at this point.  The punishment was carried out by the courts and the County and consisted of beatings, lashing and caning.  Men received twenty-five, fifty or one hundred strokes.  For the higher numbers, there was a measure of grace given and was carried out in two separate floggings separated by a day.



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