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The Runen and the Runenpleats

Income generated by the foundation “Gebroeders de Jong’s Leen” is set apart for the financial support of the descendants of Mr Herre Rinia and Mrs Reinskje van der Sluis who are willing to achieve an educational goal.

If you are interested in the history of the foundation we can heartily recommend you the following history.

Mr Herre Rinia and Mrs Reinskje van der Sluis

Herre Rinia was born 19 March 1754 in Cornwerd. Reinskje van der Sluis was born 1763 in Hellevoetsluis. They married 3 May 1789 and received four children: Tjeerd (born 13 February 1790), Jeltje (born 12 October 1794), Joukje (born 5 April 1797) and Sijbrichje (born 28 May 1802).

If you want to know something about the founder of “Stichting Gebroeders de Jong’s Leen” you have to follow the trail of Mrs Joukje Herres Rinia. She married Mr Sijtze de Jong on 17 March 1822 who was born on 27 May 1795 in Woudsend. He was the son of Mr Sijtze Sijtzes de Jong baptized in Woudsend on 27 January 1771 and Mrs Janke Jelles Zoethout baptized in Woudsend on 19 November 1769. The couple married on 2 November 1794 in their hometown. On 4 August 1800 they departed with attestation of the Dutch Reformed Church in Woudsend to Joure where they lived on the Midstraat in a house at that time no. 320. Mr Sijtze Sijtzes Sr. was butter merchant, judge in the district of Akkrum and member of the “grietenijraad”, some sort of council of Haskerland. He died on February 2 1839. His wife died on May 12 1843. Both died in Joure.

After their marriage Mr Sijtze Sijtzes Jr. and Mrs Joukje Herres Rinia also lived at the Midstraat in Joure in a house with no. 80. In the public records of the municipality of Haskerland Mr Sijtze Sijtzes Jr. initially was registered as butter merchant. Only after 1860 his profession was indicated “Farmer at Westermeer”.

In all respects Mr Sijtze the Young Jr. and Mrs Joukje Herres Rinia have not lived a sunny life. They had 9 children though 5 of them deceased at a young or very young age. These were successively Reinskje (born July 19 1827, deceased April 22 1828), Herre (born February 19 1829, deceased December 15 1843) and Jan (born March 16 1831, deceased March 17 1852). The last one was registered as a carpenter’s servant but has been killed at sea. Afterwards the family lost two young Reinskjes named girls. The first Reinskje was born on February 1 1833 but died a half year later on 4 September 1834. The second Reinskje was born 19 November 1834 died on 4 June 1859 almost 25 years old.

It is remarkable only one of the other four children ever married. That was the eldest son Mr Sijtze Sijtzes who was born on 20 July 1823. He married in May 1855 Ms Kalman Hiltje Hommes at Jellum. In the registers of the municipality of Haskerland can be found that these Mr Sijtze Sijtzes worked on a farm and that on May 6 1855 they left Jellum heading for Joure Mantgum.

More than two months later on July 29 1855 Joukje Herres De Jong Rinia died. Three of the four children at that time were still alive. As mentioned earlier Reinskje died on 4 June 1859. Soon after that Sijtze de Jong and his three unmarried children moved from Joure to a farm located at a continuation of the Oosterstraat and the Oversitting at Westermeer which was at that time still an seperate village. From 1860 on he was registered as a farmer at Westermeer in the public register of Haskerland. He died on September 30 1871. Afterwards his three children remained dwelling the farm and managing it. They were – in order of age – IJke born 11 September 1825, Reinder born 30 January 1837 and Tjeerd born 10 November 1839.

Tjeerd de Jong.

Germanic way of live

And thus we arrive at “runes” and the “runenpleats” because of the fact that IJke, Reinder and Tjeerd and the farm are known under that name and remain so until today. It is difficult to say with certainty where that name came from. There are two opinions existing. The first opinion says the name is consitent with the name Rinia and should be considered as a name corruption. But more likely the name “de runes” has something to do with respect to the rather Germanic way of life of the two brothers Reinder and Tjeerd although the link with the old Germanic runes as characters is not clear. The habit of Reinder and Tjeerd to take a dip every morning in the Overspitting – a small canal which flowed in front of the farm – was not kept a secret. Their habit was continued during the winter months. If necessary they chopped a hole in the ice in which the two brothers bagged themselves. To make it a little easier for them, at the front of the farmhouse where the brothers slept they built a type of building construction so they could reach the Overspitting from their bedroom windows with only a few steps.

During winter another “Germanic” habit shown was a slaughtered sheep hanging in a tree next to the farm. When needed they cut a piece of meat from the sheep with a huge knife. If they fancied a chicken, they simply shot one of the chickens in the yard with a gun at gunpoint range. In the beginning of autumn the chicken stock was brought back on level by hairdresser Mr Dooitzen Wiebe de Boer who kept chickens for the small price of 35 cents each.

With the revolver and sometimes with a gun they also regularly hunted starlings and other birds they considered harmful. The passion for fire arms is also evident from the first testament (later revoked) that Tjeerd had made on 15 September 1900 in front of notary Mr K. Velding at Joure witnessed by the barbers from Joure Mr Dooitzen Wiebe de Boer and Mr Gerrit de Vries. That occasion he pointed his brother and his sister Reinder and IJke as heirs but devised to his nephew Mr Sijtzes Homme de Jong at Mantgum “the sum of five guilders to buy a gun …. . “.

Mr Dooitzen Wiebe de Boer

The facts that he was included in the will of Tjeerd and was called as a witness shows that barber Mr Dooitzen Wiebe de Boer meant more to De Jong family than only being a great man who could handle scissors and razor. This good relationship is partly to explain by the fact that Mr Sijtze de Jong and Mr Dooitzen de Boer were well known figures at auctions. As proof of this good relationship you can mention the fact that Tjeerd de Jong was preferably shaved by Wiebe Dooitzen de Boer, a son of Dooitzen Wiebe de Boer whom had been educated by his father in the barber business. A shave costed 5 cents in those days but Tjeerd always paid double. Whether it was because he was very satisfied about the treatment or that he regarded the extra 5 cents as a compensation because his brother wore a beard and therefore did not visit the salon very often never became entirely clear. Probably all this seems to express his satisfaction with the treatment because after the young hairdresser once had the misfortune to deliver his client an incision in the chin, he did not receive the royal tip!

Anyhow frugality was a feature of IJke, Reinder and Tjeerd de Jong. They had the living room of the farmhouse divided into three seperate rooms so each of them would have to pay less tax.

At least once a year their married brother Sijtze Sijtzes from Mantgum paid a visit to Joure. These visits always took place at fair-Thursday. Even after the death of Sijtze Sijtzes on 4 November 1907 on “Jouster Merke-tongersdei”, the annual market day in Joure in 1908 at the farm at the Overspitting the table was laid for four persons. It has always been done that way and so it had to stay that way….

The management of the farm

Opinions about the qualities of the two brothers in their role as farmers differ from fairly positive to quite negative. Probably both opinions have a bit of truth. Tjeerd and Reinder had their own opinions about things and did not easy deviate from their opinions. They were certainly not used to be dictated about what they should do or not do. At Joure e.g. there was an unwritten law in force that on Sundays people did not walk or drive against the flow of public heading towards the church. But Tjeerd and Reinder did not care at all. If they wanted to do so on Sundays they drove with their two horse-drawn carriage through the Midstraat no being bothered by church people heading for the church.

Returning to the management of the farm. During mowing seasons the two brothers were really on the move. This was evidenced by the fact that on these occasions they especially liked to speak French said the lessons taken at the “French School” which was located at Joure. Their employee Mr Meinte Bonthuis had learned a bit of French at that school too. When both brothers were highly satisfied with the results of their work this enabled him to make a modest contribution  to the conversation conducted in French with the words “oui, c’est bon”. It earned him a penny extra!

However also another stories are still known. A good farmer will always try to get the hay dry inside. If there is rain in the air normally a farmer worked with might and main to be ready on time before the storm erupts. If not Reinder and Tjeerd. They sang at such moments the highest song without worries about having to cut grass or hay…..

But even so the “rune pleats” was more than a farm with some land around it. Elsewhere in and around Joure land was acquired. Street names at Joure as Ipesteinlaan en Wetterkamp still remember of these lands.

How it ended

At the end of 1909 IJk, Reinder and Tjeerd were seen for the last time at Westermeer. IJk was 84, Reinder 72 and Tjeerd 70 years old. On November 26 1909 IJk, Reinder and Tjeerd rented the farm and a hay field on the Zijweg south of Joure for the period from 1910 to 1915 to Mr Pieter Andringa Gerbens Huizum. The rent was set at f 2,200 per year. Two days later on 24 November 1909 the brothers with their sister left to Leeuwarden. Afterwards the farm was rented only rented for a second time. That took place on 28 February 1915. Mr  Mr Sjouke Sjoerd Veenbaas from Oldeboarn became the new tenant for period of two years at a rent of f 2,325 per year. Shortly after the closure of this rent agreement Mr IJke Sijtzes de Jong died on 21 March 1915 in the age of almost 90 years.

Finally on February 1916 Reinder and Tjeerd sold their farm. The sale was announced as follows: “The notary Mr L. Oppedijk at Heerenveen will at the request of his colleague Mr L.K. van Griffen of St. Anna Parochie on Monday 14 February 1916 at Feitsma of Joure provisional and the February 28th day with Mr D. van der Feer there finally, every afternoon 2 hours, publicly sell the well maintained farm house with the opportunity for keeping live stock of 24 cows, 6 young cattle and 3 horses, a carriage house, yard and great ‘hieminge’, besides three pieces of very fertile land situated at the Overspitting at Westermeer Joure with the total size of appr. 8.75.80 Ha (appr. 24 ‘pondemaat’) from 5 March respectively 12 May 1917 rented to Mr S. Veenbaas “except merging brought to auction in 4 lots”. In the provisional sale the highest bid at the farm was f 3,500 and the three plots of land received the highest bids of f 7,800, f 5,700 and f 4,300. Fourteen days later at the final sale Mr Oene Tiedes de Jong from Joure became the new owner of the farm lands for the sum of f 21,500.

There is little or nothing left from the original farm. On Monday 19 December 1927 the “runenpleats” then inhabited by the Hilarides family was lost completely by fire. Fortunately the cattle stock in total of 33 animals was placed in safety but from the farm remained little more than the blackened walls.


Reinder and Tjeerd de Jong did not have to experience the decline of “their” farm. Reinder died on 8 April 1919 over 82 years old and Tjeerd died December 12 1921 in the Saint Bonifacius Hospital in Leeuwarden. He was 82 years old too. The two brothers are like their sister lJke buried at the General Cemetery “Westermeer.” nearby Joure just a stone’s throw away from the farm where they almost half a century lived and worked.

Joure, spring 1981, P.R. van der Zee.