Around 1750 the Dutchmen were devided in pro- and contra the "stadhouder" Willem IV; he was the leader of the Dutch Republic, descending from the famous "Willem van Oranje", who was the stimulator of the liberation of the Netherlands in the 80-years war of 1568-1848, which was the start of the free Republic of the 7 States of the Netherlands. One of the issues was what "this stadhouder" had to say about the provinces and the cities. That had for many years heavy discussions and even fights, everywhere, between the pro's and the contra's. In this case the City Council of Appingedam instituted on July 17, 1751 a "policemaster" Jan Jans — he was also the council secretary, policeman, grave-digger and more — for a better "order" in the city Appingedam. His duties were:
— to send on Wednesday and Saturday all the beggars, strange people and vagabonds away from the city.
— to be sure that children didn't play on the cemeteries and pick up all the [*little] stones there.
— that during the sermom in the church it will be quite outside and send the young noisy people away.
— to dig the graves and keeping the cemeteries clean.
— and more.
In the years before this decision the church-wardens [*of the Appingedam church or elsewhere??] asked the Mayors (in those days there were 4 of them, of who the eldest one had to retire every year) to do something about the disturbed church sermons. The Mayors ordered then that "during the sermons Berent Stoffers had to go around the church with a whip[*!] to guarantee the quiet". It wasn't told if this was necessary by young vandals and/or the fight between the pro's and the contra's. It seems me that Berent Stoffers was then something like a police assistent.
Graphics by Lynn Waterman, ©2004