Why was Michael Remus given this land?

At the bottom of this page, you can click and see the 1772 copy of the 5 April 1737 document in which Michael Remus is granted land in the village of Pollnitz, Kreis Schlochau, West Prussia. It was quite a gift indeed and so noted in several genealogical books. Thus I will review the details and talk about why he might have been given this gift and who gave it to him.

The Konitz registrar (the relevant land registry office in 1737) notes the arrival of "Noble" Michael Remus with a letter. The letter reaffirms a gift of an inheritable lease on a farm in Pollnitz. It adds to this inherited lease, three more farms now vacant and previously occupied by Martin and Franz Krushkin and Daniel Yand that are owned by Polish Noble Powalki. Also added were some gardens and cottages owned by Polish Noble Tukolka. The inheritable lease allows Michael to have sheep and use and sell wood from the forest - things often reserved for the nobility. Yearly he must pay 12 florins for these privileges and 3 florins per head of sheep for the maintenance of the local church; this is subject to adjustment at a later time. Michael also has the right to sell these privileges to others.

So why did he get this and who gave it to him?

I have had three German readers render an opinion and they split equally (1.5 to 1.5) among the following options (the text was clear to read but very bureaucratic and ambiguous). Was it a gift or a reward? Was it from Augustus King of Poland and Saxony, or from his Polish Nobles.

I think that this must have been a reward for service since Nobles generally are not noted for giving gifts for no reason to non-relatives. And my guess is that the gift occurred because he served in the Great Northern War or more likely the Polish War of Succession that had recently ended. In that war, Michael might have been an officer or it was common for people to establish mercenary groups that fought alongside the regular military. You see this in the Wenski family of nearby Wusters and likely the Rotzol family of Rotzellen. Augustus II won the Great Northern war driving the Swedes out of the area and Michael might have fought for the King - hence the reward and high standing. Or for his son Augustus III as we gained the throne through war in 1733-34.

As for who gave it, there is an entire paragraph that glorifies Augustus. And the text indicates that this gift was either from or on behalf of Augustus. So our Nobles Powalki and Tukolka might have acted at Augustus direction or may have on their own rewarded Michael to show their support for Augustus throwing out the Swedes or maybe just to win his favor.

In any case, it was a wonderful grant that gave Michael the status of a noble for many years in this village. And when he sold the lease, it provided assets to acquire new land and property for him and his sons in nearby Kreis Tuchel.

Click below to view each page in turn in the privileg granted in 1737 and translated to German in this 1772 real estate document (Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Page 5, Page 6, Page 7 and Page 8). The images may appear too big on your screen so download them to set your desired mix of size and clarity.These records were found on LDS microfilm 415223 (pages 465 to 468). This microfilm contained real estate records for Kreis Schlochau.