Saturday, August 8, 2020

Veuve Mouquin

 

VEUVE MOUQUIN

As stated in the will, David and Henriette had three children. Their son, Charles Louis Abram Mouquin had been born in Eclepens (another small farming community near Villars-Lusseri and La Sarraz) on February 23, 1811. The record indicates that he was baptized March 17, 1811, and lists both sets of grandparents, including the maiden names of the grandmothers. Henriette's brother Louis Monnier, (the same brother who later witnessed her will) is also mentioned as a witness/perhaps godfather at the baptism.. Henriette Mouquin's parents were Charles Monnier and his wife Suzette Monnier, nee Ogin. I could not find a listing for his sisters Sophie and Fanchette. They may not have been born in Eclepens. How David Mouquin met death, sometime before 1829, is still a mystery. Searching the Protestant and the Catholic Church records of Echallens, I could not find a date of death for Henriette or David. Perhaps they did not die in Echallens.

At the time of the will, (1829) Vaud had only been a Swiss Canton for 16 years. Prior to 1803, the land was ruled by the Canton of Bern. Bern had seized the French speaking area from the Dukes of Savoy in 1475. After the Reformation, most of the area that became the Canton of Vaud became Protestant in 1526. Curiously, Echallens remained Catholic.

During the time that Henriette managed the auberge in Echallens, the Canton of Vaud continued to suffer religious struggles between the Protestants and the Catholics. These struggles escalated between 1839 and 1846. The widow Mouquin must have been aware of these problems when she stipulated in her will that the poor were to share a sum of money without the distinction of religion.

As she was able to leave even a small sum of money for the poor, Henriette must have been a widow of some means. She could also afford a tutor for her son, Louis. It is possible she offered room and board to the tutor, Monsieur Etie Jaquier, in exchange for educating her son. Since he was called as a witness to the signing of her will, he must have been close to the family.

I find it strange that a widow in 1829 would state that her 18-year-old son was too young to continue to operate the auberge. Certainly she would have relied on him to do a lot of the heavy work around the inn. Likely, he was about to enter the military and would therefore be unable to oversee the inn. His sisters, Fanchette and Sophie were considered too young to marry. This is interesting because Louis later marries a 15-year-old girl! Surely, some of the cleaning and cooking about the inn were delegated to the two girls.

Henriette makes a point that her son must have the money required to complete his military equipment. The Swiss government did not finance uniforms, arms, and equipment to men serving in the military for another thirty years. To this day, every Swiss man must enter the military by age 20, remaining ever in the reserves and serving a brief time annually until age 48. Before 1848, each Canton raised its own militia for the Swiss army.

Veuve Mouquin also has her brother Louis Monnier witness her will. Yet, she does not consider asking him to oversee her business until the children reach an age when they can manage the inn. Instead, she orders the inn closed until such time as her son Louis is old enough to run it. The widow Mouquin also does not appoint her brother to act as guardian for her children.


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