The Settlement of Gyönk After the Turkish Occupation
In the year 1699, some officials of a County
Commission indicated that Serbs had occupied the estates of Kety, Gyönk and Tabod,
plus some others for some time. The landowner was Gergely Szili, and even during
the Turkish occupation he raised taxes from his peasants. These lands came into
the possession of Istvan Sandor whose first wife was Szili’s daughter Eva. The
Sandor family lived in Komarom, and placed Istvan Szekeli in charge of the estates
on their behalf and gave him full power and control over them. The Szekelis had a
small estate along with their manor house in Simontornya and owned the prairie
known as Varsad around 1700. Istvan Sandor already died in 1700. His heir Istvan
Sandor junior and his sister Judith, both married into the Peter Magyari-Kossa
family, who was the Reformed Superintendent (Bishop) for the Upper Danube Region.
In 1702 the value of the undeveloped estate was put at 12,000 Gulden.
In 1703, Gyönk was
inhabited by sixteen Hungarian families, which however, fled from the area during
the war years of the Kurucz Rebellion under Rákóczi. Only one of their names
would later appear in the taxation lists: Andras Bölocsfödi. In 1715 there were
several other families identified: Bosnyak, Irsai and Safar. The Royal Chamber
official in Simontornya, Johann Kaufmann was ordered to carry out a conscription
survey of the village of Gyönk and its environs for the government in Ofen
(Buda). This document provides a description of the tilled land, meadows, and
pastures and forests, and the very small number of inhabitants. In this survey
there were six registered Hungarian families living in Gyönk. All of them had
cows, calves and five families had either oxen or horses in their possession.
Later in 1715, one of the families left.
With regard to
these early years of settlement our chief sources are the history of the Tolna
Lutheran Seniorat, written by György Barany Szencize, its first Senior, who wrote
it in 1742, as well as some entries in the Protocols (Minutes) of Tolna County.
According to Barany, Lutherans lived scattered in the area among Roman Catholics
and Reformed when they first settled there as a group from Papa in Veszprem
County, on what would later become the estate of Gyönk. In an effort to avoid
conversion with the other confessions, they sought sanctuary in the forest, and
lived as hunters, rather than farmers. They approached the Inspector of the
region in Buda for permission to install a Lutheran pastor to serve them. As a
result they issued a call to Andras Molitoris, the former pastor of the Lutheran
congregation in Varpolata, who in coming to Gyönk was also accompanied by several
other Lutheran families. The scattered Lutherans in the area now streamed into
Gyönk to worship there, which greatly disturbed the Roman Catholic priesthood in
September 17, 1715 during the general assembly of the County, the priest in
Pincehely complained that a group of Lutherans had settled in Gyönk recently and
had installed their own preacher. He protested against this in the name of the
cathedral chapter in Pecs, and the vicar-general and challenged the assembly to
order the expulsion of the preacher. The assembly ordered, Johann Kaufmann, the
authority who was in charge of the village to see to Molitoris’ exile, upon his
return home to Gyönk. Because the calling of a pastor had been done with the full
knowledge of Kaufmann, it was probably the reason why he did nothing about it, so
that on April 2, 1716 there was another complaint lodged at the County Assembly
because the expulsion had not been carried out. This time the vice-governor was
charged with the task, which was also proved rather tardy in his response.
According to Barany’s report, in 1717 Molitoris was forbidden to carry out any
religious functions, and in order to save him from imprisonment, various
authorities of the County were bribed with fresh game from the hunt. But later
that year, the congregation because of his alcoholism, which prevented him from
adequately serving his parishioners, sent the preacher away.
His successor in
office was Barany, who reported on his coming to Gyönk in great detail in his
history, but gives no indication or reason for his quick departure a year later to
serve the congregation in Györköny. We can assume that the landlord in Gyönk had
something to do with it. He was the Reformed Superintendent and fiercely
Calvinistic, Peter Magyary-Kossa, and Georg Barany the Lutheran pastor was a
Pietist, and the two men differed greatly in their theological outlook and
teaching, so that a “friendly” atmosphere was hardly possible between the two
confessions in Gyönk. For that reason Barany accepted the call from the Lutheran
landlord in Györköny, Janos Meszlenyi and took up his ministry there. Pietists
were also unwelcome in certain Orthodox Lutheran circles in Hungary as well.
In 1719, Peter
Magyari-Kossa and his wife returned to Aranyo in Komarom County, from where he
complained that the County did not respect the borders of his holdings in Gyönk.
He appointed Istvan Szekeli to look after his affairs in terms of disputes with
the County, who like Magyari-Kossa was also a Calvinist. Magyari died in 1720 and
left a widow with five children, the youngest of which was four years old. His
wife now took over the affairs of the family and the family holdings and did so
quite effectively. She mortgaged Gyönk and some of the nearby holdings to the
widow Maria Sokorai and György Halai on March 10, 1722 for 200 Gulden for one
In the fall of
1725, Peter Magyari-Kossa the younger took over the family estates again, and
forced his subject peasants to pay off the mortgage, which led to imprisonment for
those who refused and fines and punishments for the others.
Conscription list for the County in 1725 (which information was collected in the
late fall of 1724) identified 23 Hungarian taxpayers in Gyönk. The census of
1725, however reports, that in addition to the 33 Hungarians living there, there
were also Germans who came from Ciko and Varsad, both in Tolna County.
There were sixteen
Jakob Jeckel (Jackl)
Thomas Polch (Polt)
Johann Pentom (Pentrin)
Peter Klener (Klenner)
came from Varsad, the others apparently all came from Ciko and re-settled here
because of pressure to convert to Roman Catholicism.
Lists of 1728 provides one clue to their place of origin, which validates that
they had been newcomers in Ciko and had simply moved on after a very short stay
In 1735, and
probably already in 1734, the quarrelsome Peter Magyary-Kossa (the younger) moved
to Gyönk and took over the administration of his landholdings and began to
institute measures that were very difficult for his colonist subjects. The
majority of the Germans, about thirty families left, and found a new home at
Mekényes which was part of the Esterhazy estate, and from there they pressed
charges against their former landlord because of the many injustices they had to
suffer at Magyary-Kossa’s hands.
Through the ongoing
arrival of more and more German families in the next years, strong German
communities evolved in both places, but with Gyönk being the larger.