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Louis-Joseph Valenne

As told in the first part of this story, Louis-Joseph Valenne from Arquennes, born on September 24, 1787, joined the Napoleonic Army and went back and forth within the European battlefields for eight long years.  Upon demobilization, he comes back to his village of birth, now almost 28 years old.  There, he finds out that his father has died (on January 20, 1814) and that his mother has lost the ability to speak.  Remember that he was the oldest of three sons and two daughters.  His sisters, Rosalie and Anne-Bertine, are 22 and 11 years old.  His brothers, Jean-Baptiste and Joseph, are 25 and 17 years old.  Both are clog makers.  Louis-Joseph had initially learnt the trade of stone cutting, but with quarry operations going into decline, he, too, decides to become a clog maker.

On July 9, 1817, he marries Marie-Rose Dumortier in Nivelles.  On July 20, their union is blessed in Saint Nicolas Church by Priest Malcorps.

On July 9, 1818, Louis-Joseph Valenne is named forest guard by Countess Marie-Henriette de Lalaing (née Countess of Maldeghem) for her properties in Arquennes.

On September 8, 1820 in Nivelles, he signs a lease drafted by the collector of the Count of Lalaing, Adrian Parmentier, concerning a house and its adjacent terrain in the forest of Arpes.  The amount of the annual rent is 137 florins, 14 and a half cents.

In 1835, Louis-Joseph occupies the “guard house” that Count Maximilian Jean de Lalaing had constructed for him.  Later, Louis-Joseph would add stables and his grandson Alfred would construct a barn at the start of this century.  This small farmhouse was known at the start of the 20th century under the name of “Chez Tcheur.”

The descendants of Louis-Joseph occupied this house until 1932.  His son and his grand-son Louis followed him in his duties as forest guard.

 Louis-Joseph had undoubtedly learned how to read in the barracks, thanks to voluntary tutors.  The notebook relating to his functions as a guard has been conserved.  This document sheds considerable light on the vocabulary of the regional forest guard of the time, on prices and currencies, on the sales of trees, on fines, on the names of people and their professions, and on the disappeared hamlets.

A forest guard is neither a hunting guard nor a rural guard.  To conduct a search, the forest guard must be accompanied by the rural guard or by the mayor.  Between 1818 and 1839, 18 reports were drafted.  Two of them were left without a follow-up.  The convictions concern damages made to live trees, never the collecting of dead wood or kindling.

These reports were drafted by the guard and given to the collector of the Count of Lalaing, Adrien Parmentier.  The count fixed the amount of the fine and collected it.  In certain cases, the report would be given to the king’s prosecutor at Charleroi and would be registered at Binche.  Sometimes, the guard would get a commission ranging from 1 to 3 francs.  In only one case, the correctional court of Charleroi inflicted a sentence of 8 days in prison, three florins in fines, in addition to the trial costs.

The handwritten notebook kept between 1818 and 1839 also shows us the text of Valenne’s
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