It is Tuesday, September 4th, 1792. Josina van Coll, the widow of Martinus Versandvoort, lays nearly 29 el of linen on the ‘bleek’. The ‘bleek’ is a grassy lawn where the woven linen is laid out to be bleached by the sunlight. She regularly wets the linen and proceeds to turn it regularly so it can become a clear white. Many home weavers had such a lawn close to home. Later, when the textile factories were established, you could see vast amounts of ‘bleekvelden’. A street name still reminds us of this.
Night begins to fall. Josina goes to get her linen. To her surprise, the bleek is empty. Her linen has disappeared. She walks back inside and asks her son, with whom she earns her living as a home weaver with, if he had already brought in the linen, but he knows nothing about it. Josina thinks to herself: “That’s something Hendrik van hoof could have done,” because she had seen him walk behind her house a couple of days ago.
The day after the theft, Josina goes to the gunman, Hendrik Julie. A gunman has all kinds of tasks in regard o the public order. Together they go out to Hendrik van Hoof, who is at home with his wife. Josina asks van Hoof: “Where is my linen?” Hendrik answers: “I do not know of any linen, I did not take it!” But Josina is not satisfied with his answer and walks towards the box bed and pulls the wet linen from under the straw. She says: “This is my linen, but there is a piece cut off; there has to be more!” Hendrik’s wife walks to the weaving room and gets the other piece, which is also wet. Gunman Hendrik knows enough. He confiscates the linen and brings it to the council room. The trial against the defendant can be put into motion.
Hendrik flees after the incident. He was never taken into custody because no one knew where he was. Hendrik never returned to Mierlo.
Written by: Theo de Groof, Heemkundekring Myerle